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Seeking Alpha vs Zacks: what do these two titans of stock research and analysis have in common, what makes them different, and most importantly, which one is right for you?
Seeking Alpha and Zacks are research and analysis tools for investors who pick their own stocks.
Both are famous for their stock ratings – millions of people across the world pay to have access to their “Strong Buy” stocks and know to avoid their “Strong Sell” stocks like the plague.
Both use expert analysts’ research and analysis to derive information about investments. Their goal is to provide investors with tools to learn and build their own portfolios.
They are similar in many ways, but the main difference is their approach to researching and presenting stock data. This article should help you decide which service fits your investing style better – Seeking Alpha or Zacks?
How They Each Started
Zacks was started by Len Zacks in 1978, a Ph.D. from MIT.
Len was obsessed with analyzing Wall Street Analysts and wanted to build his own team of in-house analysts.
His vision was to create a team who could rate stocks, then provide productized ranks and lists for investors to analyze and build their portfolios.
Zacks believes that earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful factor to drive stock prices.
Basically, when financial analysts change how much a company will earn in a quarter, that can change stock prices more than anything else.
Seeking Alpha was started in 2004 by financial analyst David Jackson. The original plan was to create a research platform where passionate investors can share their own stock analysis with a community. The word “alpha” in stock market lingo is the percentage that your portfolio beats the market.
A big component of Seeking Alpha is this unique idea of crowdsourcing investing. Sharing knowledge with a community and all supplying, refining research, insights, and opinions.
Instead of having its own analysts, Seeking Alpha uses Wall Street analysts, fund managers, and other reputable market watchers.
They do have in-house editors who cover current market news and review articles submitted to their forum.
Their Stock Ratings
Each of these platforms provides a list of stocks that are rated to get an idea of what to research. All these lists and ratings are done by respected analysts.
The main reason to use either of these services is to find stock ideas to research for yourself.
Zacks has a very straightforward rating system. In the areas of value, growth, and momentum, stocks are given a ranking of A through F. Equities are also given a rank of 1 (strong buy) to 5 (strong sell).
The Zacks #1 list shows you the top 5% of stocks with the most potential. There are stock screens that allow you to pick stocks based on your investing strategy.
Zacks uses quantitative analysis to rate and rank stocks. This algorithm gives Zacks objective information to find the best stocks.
Zacks’ rankings have done very well against the S&P 500 as you can see in this chart:
Over the past 34 years, stocks that Zacks rank as a “#1 Strong Buy” have outperformed the S&P 500 by an average of 13.9% each year. Zacks has proven that its system works and why so many investors use its analysis.
Zacks now provides rankings for ETFs, mutual funds, and other equities.
Seeking Alpha has a top-rated stocks list as well, compiling of 50-75 stocks that earn strong buy scores. Scores are broken up and determined by Seeking Alpha contributors, Wall Street analysts, and Seeking Alpha’s quantitative algorithm. Any stock with a rating above a 4.5 is rated a very bullish buy.
Beside the analyst’s score, each stock is also given a letter grade for valuation, growth, profitability, and momentum. These ratings provide investors with a very easy way to get stock ideas.
Seeking Alpha has also done extremely well compared to the S&P 500 since 2010. Seeking Alpha’s “Very Bullish” rated stocks based on Quant Performance, have returned an average of 28% per year.
That’s 4x the average return of the S&P 500!!
Their quantitative analysis is slightly more successful compared to the market than Zacks.
In this new world of alternative equities, Seeking Alpha offers analysis and updates on crypto, forex, and commodities.
Their Stock Research
Seeking Alpha and Zacks provides stock research that is detailed and reputable.
Zacks is the better option if you want a traditional stock research report – a single report that’s relatively easy to read and presents a professional analyst’s view of a company they’ve been following for many years.
Each report contains a deep dive into the company and a look at its fundamentals and growth potential. They offer an in-depth report for every stock they cover.
Another major feature of Zacks is their stock screener. It allows investors to filter and search for companies based on the return of investment, price changes, earnings per share, or your own investment style.
Zacks also offers interactive charts that show a stock’s reaction to earning reports and other fundamental data.
Seeking Alpha is the better platform if you want a diversity of viewpoints, analysis methods, and opinions.
Reading through several analysis articles takes more time than reading a single research report, but advanced investors can dive deeper into both the bull and bear cases for a stock.
This gives investors more tools to decide their strategy and grow their portfolio.
Seeking Alpha provides a stock screener that enables you to sort and search by financial ratios, analyst ratings, profitability, and many other fundamental and technical configurations.
Both have education centers
- Zacks offers videos and courses on investment strategies. Zacks also has a complete guide on understanding the power of earnings estimates.
- Seeking Alpha offers numerous articles about the world of investing, portfolio management, and their quant ratings. If you are not much of a reader, they have investing podcasts and videos as well.
Seeking Alpha has news, and editors report on live coverage. It is a nice feature to have updated news on the stock market world and research your next stock pick all in one place.
Zacks provides an earnings calendar. It tells you which companies are releasing their earnings that specific day and what time of day they come out – before the market opens or after it closes.
Once the earnings report is released, it compares Zacks’ estimate to the actual results and the price change.
Each platform has a portfolio tracker. At Zacks, you will see their rankings of all the equities currently held and receive daily email notifications on the performance of your portfolio.
Same thing for Seeking Alpha, up-to-date notifications of your portfolio’s health.
Seeking Alpha vs Zacks: How Much do They Cost?
Both have a free version.
But, they each keep their most sought-after features behind the paywall.
You can see Wall Street analyst ratings with Seeking Alpha, but to access their quant ratings and top-rated quant list, you have to subscribe to a Seeking Alpha premium account.
Zacks has free ranked lists, for your email address. You can see what Zacks ranks stocks for free, but to get the Zacks #1 Stock List you have to be a premium member.
Zacks Premium $249, $20.75/month, 30-day free trial.
Seeking Alpha Premium, normally $240 per year ($19.99/month), BUT
Right now Seeking Alpha is offering a limited time 50% discount on Seeking Alpha Premium. That’s less than $10/month!
Plus, they still offer a 14-day free trial!
Each has subscriptions greater than the premium that comes with more features but costs a significant amount more.
My Experience with Seeking Alpha and Zacks
I like the lists they send via email, but don’t think I would ever browse the site.
The earnings calendar is helpful to keep up to date.
I like the site and the platform, the customization of how I can look at the analysis. I’ve also found myself casually logging in to read interesting articles, news stories, and keep tabs in real-time on my portfolio. It really feels like a “one-stop shop” for all my investing analysis needs.
Comparison Bottom Line
Here’s the bottom line:
They use different methodologies.
- More tech, data, and AI-focused
- Crowdsourced analysts’ opinions
- Focuses on more curation (ranked lists)
- In house analysts
Seeking Alpha and Zacks offer a service to help investors find successful stocks. Their research and analysis are conducted by professionals. Their selections are proven and have outperformed the market. Both are great platforms, just depends on your preferences.
So which type of investor are you? How do you prefer to learn about your portfolio and analyze future investments?
It’s worth trying one or both, ESPECIALLY since they both have amazing, all-access free trials.
To learn more about each one, click here for our review of Zacks and click here for our review of Seeking Alpha.
Click Here to save $120 on Seeking Alpha Premium.