Figuring out which stocks to invest in and when to buy and sell is one of the most essential components of trading. So, it should come as little surprise that there are hundreds of services that offer investors different ways to research stocks and find new companies to trade.
Deciding which of these tools are most helpful for stock research and which fit your trading style can be a challenge. To help, we’ll explore what to look for in the best stock research websites and highlight five of our favorite services.
Types of Stock Research Platforms
Stock market research websites take a lot of different forms. Some services focus on recommending stocks that you can buy right now, while others take a more hands-off approach and simply give you a suite of tools that you can use to do your research. Additionally, there are free stock research websites and paid services.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the common differences between the best stock market websites.
Technical vs. Fundamental Research
Stock analysis websites typically use a combination of technical and fundamental information to recommend stocks, but many services lean heavily towards one or the other.
If you focus on short-term trading, technical research in the form of chart pattern identification and tools for technical analysis is likely to be most helpful to you. Technical research tools often offer advanced charts, alert features, and scanners with filters for common technical patterns. Technical tools can also draw in other information, such as insider trading, market sentiment, stock market news, and analyst recommendations to help you find new trade ideas. Technical analysis is usually used by active traders.
On the other hand, long-term investors may prefer fundamental research tools that focus on calculating fair value and identifying long-term industry trends. Many fundamental trading tools offer unique ways of visualizing key financial data and comparing it across companies within an industry. Many fundamental research services also include a stock screener, although the filter parameters may be more geared towards financial data than chart patterns.
Many stock research tools simply give you a suite of tools that you can then use to explore and research stocks. Many investors enjoy these “self-directed” tools, which put you in control and let you build your own investment thesis for a stock on your watchlist or that has been in the news.
However, self-directed tools can also feel overwhelming. To find success with them, you need to have a formal process for finding stocks, analyzing market data, and timing your trades.
If you prefer a more guided approach, you can use a stock recommendation service (also known as a stock picking service). These services name specific companies that are worth looking at based on either their technical or fundamental merit. This type of service does most or all of the research for you, potentially saving you a lot of time.
Stock recommendation services can be used for discovery, or to shortcut the investment research process by allowing you to hone in on potential picks. However, it’s important to understand why recommendations are made – some services focus on fundamentals and others look at technical patterns – and to use recommendation platforms as a starting point only. You will still need to do your own, additional research before purchasing a recommended stock
News and Discovery Tools
Financial news platforms are also important research tools for both short-term and long-term traders. Following the latest stock market news can help you discover potential new stocks to look into using another stock research tool, or they could give recommendations about stocks worth a closer investigation. On top of that, there are numerous stock discovery tools that are simply algorithm-driven feeds of stocks that you might be interested in. These feeds can be based on your trading history, on stocks you keep on a watchlist, or on industries that you’ve indicated an interest in.
What to Look for in a Stock Research Website
When considering a stock research platform, it’s important to think about how it can help your trading. You should know what type of tool you are looking for. Are you looking for fundamental data, screeners, news, or stock picks?
A particular service should at the very least save you time by presenting actionable stock recommendations or cutting down on your search space for new investments. Importantly, the service should fit into your broader trading strategy – if you trade based on technical chart patterns, a stock research website that compares financial data across companies won’t be all that helpful to you.
Most stock research websites offer trial periods so that you can not only test out the service, but also see how it fits into your trading style. Use these trials to your advantage to ensure that a stock research platform integrates nicely into your investing and adds to your profitability.
With all that in mind, let’s dive into the six best stock research websites you can use today.
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor – Best for Stock Recommendations
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is a monthly stock newsletter that offers two growth stock recommendations per month. This service can save you a lot of time on stock research since you can rely on the company’s team of experienced analysts who do all of the work for you.
This service has an incredible track record of picking winning stocks, beating the market by more than 300% since it was launched in 2003. This degree of improved performance (when compared to broad market exchange-traded funds and mutual funds) can have major impacts on your long-term success.
In addition to the monthly recommendations, Stock Advisor keeps a list of top stocks already in the portfolio that you can double-down on. This is great if you have money to invest in between new recommendations. There’s also a list of foundational stocks that the Motley Fool’s team thinks every growth investor should own.
Stock Advisor costs $199 per year, but you can use the link below to get a discounted rate of $99 per year for your first year.
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Yahoo! Finance – Best for Basic Stock Research
Yahoo! Finance is perhaps the most widely used free stock research website, and for good reason. The platform offers a ton of tools, from basic technical charts and financial data to portfolio analysis and stock screeners. On top of that, you can monitor stock news, discover gainers and losers within any major market industry, and track ETFs, currencies, and options. If you had to pick a single website to do all of your stock research, Yahoo! Finance would be a great choice.
That said, while Yahoo! Finance is broad, it isn’t very deep. There’s a ton of data on the platform, but not all of it is easy to access or visualize. Yahoo! Finance has charts, but there are relatively few technical patterns and indicators or customization features. We recommend using Yahoo! Finance as a starting point for quotes and market overviews, but not for diving deep into technical or fundamental analysis.
Yahoo! Finance offers access to most of its tools for free. Yahoo! Finance Premium starts at $249.96 per year. Premium subscribers get access to additional financial data, more advanced technical charts, and portfolio analysis tools.
Stock Rover – Best for In-Depth Research
Stock Rover is an all-in-one stock research app that offers everything from screeners to charting to fundamental research tools. With regards to research, one of the most exciting features is the automatic research report. Stock Rover users can generate an in-depth research report with one click. This report includes fundamental data, technical data, analyst recommendations, quality scores, and much more.
We have reviewed dozens of tools that offer research reports and, unfortunately, many of them contain too much fluff. We were impressed with the Stock Rover research reports because they only include actionable information that can actually improve your trading and investing. On top of that, you can generate these reports for any stock, not just a select few.
Zacks Investment Research – Best for Analyst Ratings
Zacks Investment Research is a stock research platform that focuses on identifying promising stocks through analyst ratings. The service offers a series of stock lists, with hundreds of stocks rated by analysts and categorized according to whether they are “value,” “growth,” “momentum,” or “income” stocks.
The service also uses these ratings to develop stock screeners. Zacks’ screens combine a variety of fundamental and technical filters with stock categories and analyst recommendations to make it easier to identify promising stocks. The platform also focuses in on earnings reports, helping traders identify which stocks are primed for earnings surprises.
Zacks offers news and basic research tools for free. Analyst recommendation lists and premium screens require Zacks Premium, which costs $249 per year. Zacks is best for advanced investors since you’ll need to do quite a bit of additional research to decide which stocks to invest in.
FinViz – Best for Stock Scans
FinViz is a stock research website that offers highly comprehensive stock screening tools. Scanner parameters cover an incredibly wide range of fundamental and technical metrics, so it’s possible to create some very advanced filters using this platform.
In addition, FinViz is relatively unique in how it displays scan results. Scan results can be displayed not only in list form but also in customizable heatmaps and bubble charts, enabling you to examine specific fundamental and technical metrics about the stocks that fit your scan filters. FinViz also offers some insightful visualization tools for sector performance and individual stock performance using heatmaps.
Much of FinViz’s functionality is free to use, although data is delayed by up to three minutes. FinViz Elite gives you real-time data and additional charting features for $39.50 per month or $299.50 per year.
YCharts – Best for Fundamental Analysis
YCharts is a unique platform for visualizing fundamental and financial data. You can design custom stock charts to look at how a company’s financials have changed over time or to compare financial metrics across multiple companies. The fundamental metrics included in YCharts go far beyond what most general company analysis websites provide – there are hundreds of statistics as well as digitized versions of companies’ income statements, balance sheets, and cash flows.
In addition, YCharts makes it easy to find new stocks based on fundamental metrics with a comprehensive scanner. The platform also rates every stock based on its financial data, which makes the platform friendly for investors who are new to fundamental analysis.
YCharts starts at $300 per month, which is definitely on the expensive side. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, Stock Rover is a great pick.
Other Stock Research Websites to Consider
There are a ton of great stock analysis tools we couldn’t cover in this roundup. Some of the best ones to check out include:
- Old School Value – Create your own stock valuation models
- TrendSpider – Automated technical analysis
- Morningstar – In-depth ETF and mutual fund research
- Seeking Alpha – Op-eds about individual stocks from professional analysts
- TipRanks – Track what insiders and Wall Street analysts think about a stock
Do I need a stock research service?
A stock research service can make a huge difference in your ability to find top stocks to invest in and to know when to buy and sell. While free tools can be helpful, paid services can offer insights that help you consistently beat the market.
What is the best free stock research website?
Yahoo! Finance is a great free platform for doing initial stock research. You can get basic fundamental and technical data at no cost. Another good free option is FinViz. You can use FinViz’s free stock screener to find ideas based on a wide range of technical and fundamental filters.
Are stock picking services worth it?
A stock picking service can save you a lot of time searching for investment ideas. For some highly successful services like Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor, you can even follow the recommendations without much additional research and likely perform well.
The best stock research website can help you save time and trade more profitably. However, no matter what research tool you use, it’s important to make sure that it fits fluidly into your existing trading strategy and is helping rather than hindering your investing. The six research platforms we highlighted are some of our favorites and offer a good place for any trader to start researching stocks.