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Every responsible investment starts with research. In the past, investors relied on a few sources and performed calculations and chart drawing on their own.
Technology has changed this, and the information you need is accurate, fast and often free. As the retail market surges, the cloud access security broker market is projected to grow at the rate of 20% by 2025.
Learn more about the best stock research tools. and how you can inform your investment planning now.
What is a Stock Research Platform?
The stock research platform is a financial information provider. It can take various forms, but the most common is a cloud-based web platform. While some platforms provide you with elaborated opinions, others give you the tools to gather information and make your own conclusions.
Here are few questions to guide your comparison of platforms:
- Do you need real-time data?
- Are you focusing on descriptive or diagnostic analytics?
- Do you need advanced charting features?
- Do you need broker access?
- Are you investing in a small niche or foreign markets?
Best Stock Research Platforms
There are a number of stock research platforms on the market. Get started with our top picks, and find a service that meets your individual needs.
Best for Fundamental Analysis: Stock Rover
Stock Rover is a cloud-based investment research platform that provides research tools, expert analysis, financial education and portfolio management. Since retail investors built the platform, you can expect the user experience to be of the highest level.
Stock Rover offers a free basic service and 3 different paid plans. Even the free plan includes valuable features like newsfeed and broker access integration.
The interface is well-organized and intuitive to use. If you are an investor who likes charts and graphics, you will love Stock Rover’s streamlined data visualization tools.
Advanced features are where this platform reaches the full potential. Even if you rely on advanced metrics like Piotroski F-Score or Altman Z-score, you can still expect to find them all there, along with hundreds of others.
Although Stock Rover might be overwhelming for new users, it’s among the leading services for stock analysis.
Best for Active Day Trading: Benzinga Pro
Price: Free trial, $99 to $177 per month
Benzinga Pro is a real-time financial news platform designed for active traders. The interface is web-based and fully modular. With the options like many workspaces, split screens or pop-out windows, you will easily adjust it for your own style.
Beyond news, you will have access to other actionable data – unusual options activity, block trades, opening gaps and others.
Benzinga Pro is focusing on the speed and accuracy of the information. If you are a day trader who needs to stay on top of the latest news but can’t afford to watch the feed, you will appreciate the audio alerts. Through a “Squawk” service you can set an audio news feed to alert you for opportunities through the day.
Benzinga Pro, Screenshot from Benzinga Pro 3/7/2021
Best for Stock Screening: Finviz
Price: Free, $24.96 to $39.50 per month
Finviz is a web-based stock research platform. Since its launch in 2007, the platform has kept its simple yet functional interface.
Finviz is known for its excellent stock screening capabilities. You can easily filter stocks based on the various parameters:
- Fundamental: Price/earnings, price/free cash flow, debt/equity and many others
- Technical: Beta, average true range, below/above moving averages
- Descriptive: Sector, market cap, dividend yield
Advanced features like customized filters, portfolio alerts or data export are available in a premium plan.
The only downside is the platform offers data only for U.S. markets – NYSE, the Nasdaq and Amex.
Best for Niche Research: Seeking Alpha
Price: Free, $19.99 to $299.99 per month
Seeking Alpha (SA) is a crowd-sourced investment research platform. It provides news, analysis and data to financial market investors through its website and mobile app.
SA operates a Freemium business model, offering the basic service for free and more advanced features like dividend grades, quant ratings or short ideas through a monthly subscription.
The crowdsourcing model draws a lot of interest to the platform, and you can find research on almost every niche. You will have to read through a lot of material to gain a broad perspective and find the quality authors that match your interests.
Best for Technical Analysis: TradingView
Price: Free, $14.95 to $59.95 per month
TradingView is a cloud-based platform that focuses on advanced charting and the social aspect of trading. If you rely on technical analysis, you’ll find useful tools on TradingView regardless of your strategy.
Beyond the advanced charting technology, the platform is also known for:
- Free and accurate market data: Even on the free plan you will have access to numerous data feeds from 40+ exchanges.
- Active community: TradingView has an active community of traders and analysts. You will find fresh ideas every day, conveniently classified by type and asset class. You can easily follow and interact with your favorite authors.
- Mobile app: If you are often on the move, you’ll love the mobile app. Due to the full account sync, all the work you do on the web platform will be automatically accessible from your mobile device (and vice-versa).
Best for Do-It-Yourself: Google Finance
Google’s service for business news and financial information. Since 2006, it has gone through several updates that simplified the scope of the content.
The interface itself is rather simplistic, offering an overview of the current market data and the latest news based on Google Trends. But if you’re at least an intermediate Excel user, you can leverage the ability to connect Google Sheets with Google Finance price feed.
By using a simple syntax list, you can construct a portfolio with a self-updating price feed, color-coded filters or distribution charts. Tracking all your investments in Google Sheets is especially useful if you are investing across many platforms.
Portfolio tracking in Google Sheets, Source: Author’s work
Best Online Stock Brokers for Research
To purchase stocks, you need to open a brokerage account. If you need a broker, check our list of favorite online brokers and the table below.
How Research Platforms Help Investors
Investing without research is investing blindly. Modern research platforms help you by delivering fast and accurate data in a convenient format.
Regardless of your experience, budget or investing style, you will be able to find a platform that suits your needs. However, remember not to spend too much time on it. Like everything in economics – research also has diminishing returns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I invest without a broker?
Yes. You can through a direct stock plan (DSP), but it is limited to companies that offer it. Also, you would deal with every individual company whose stock you want to buy. Using an online brokerage account is a more streamlined process allowing you to buy or sell any security from anywhere.
Can brokers steal your money?
Yes. But now it is rare since it is much easier to follow the digital print that money leaves. However, regulation has played layers of security that protect you from such scenarios. Brokers have to keep your funds separated from their capital so you don’t lose the funds in case of their insolvency. Your funds are protected through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to the sum of $500,000 ($250,000 for cash).
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