The Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha
When it comes to picking stocks and keeping up to date with the latest news and analysis, investors have a lot of options. Two that stand out are The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha.
Both of these platforms offer market commentary with a focus on helping you decide whether or not to invest in a particular company. However, the two services differ quite a bit in the type of investor they are targeting and the offerings included with their premium plans.
Which is right for you? We’ll compare The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha head-to-head to help you decide.
About The Motley Fool And Seeking Alpha
The Motley Fool was launched in 1993 by Tom and David Gardner as a service to help all investors understand the market better and invest more profitably. As such, it offers basic “How to” guides for new investors, personal finance advice, and articles on how to invest for retirement. But the platform also includes more advanced stock-picking tools, including The Motley Fool’s ultra-popular Stock Advisor service. This monthly newsletter has generated a return of more than 480% since it was inaugurated in 2002.
Seeking Alpha was founded in 2004 as a platform to provide news and analysis of individual stocks. The service relies heavily on a network of writers to contribute content, many of whom have experience with market analysis or investment management. Seeking Alpha offers articles that tend to be more technical in nature than articles from The Motley Fool. The platform overall caters more to intermediate and advanced investors.
The Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha: Similarities
The most important thing that The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha have in common is that they both provide insight and analysis into individual stocks. Each platform has its own approach to determining whether a stock is a worthwhile investment in the current market environment.
In addition, the platforms’ coverage is sporadic in that neither service covers the entire S&P 500 or even a defined subset of companies within it – rather, they tend to focus on companies that have been in the news or that may be over or undervalued.
The similarities end there. While both services are geared towards helping investors achieve greater returns, the methodology and features are quite different. Let’s take a closer look.
The Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha: Differences
The biggest difference between The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha is in the two platforms’ approaches to stock analysis. Even when analyzing the same stock at the same time, it’s unlikely that you’ll see much information repeated between the two services.
The Motley Fool tends to take a holistic approach to stock analysis. The platform offers insight into a company’s recent growth and compares it to industry peers, as well as dives into a discussion of whether a company has a strong moat. The goal of The Motley Fool seems to be to find long-term growth stocks and to explain whether individual companies have this profit potential in relatively simple terms.
Motley Fool focuses primarily on the stock analysis style of its founders, Tom and David Gardner. While the company employs a team of analysts, the stock-picking methodology is rather narrow (with the exception of a few specialized services).
Seeking Alpha also looks for long-term growth potential, but the service tends to be much more focused on fundamental and technical indicators rather than broader economic factors. For example, many Seeking Alpha articles will dive deep into discussions of valuation and potential earnings growth over the next quarter or two. These articles tend to be much less accessible to new investors and often require that you do some additional background research into the company to get the full picture.
It should be noted that Seeking Alpha offers commentary from a much broader pool of analysts (which leads to the next point).
Another difference between The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha is where their content comes from. The Motley Fool relies on an in-house team of analysts who also write the majority of the articles that appear on the platform. This means that the style tends to be consistent from one article to another and over time.
In contrast, Seeking Alpha crowdsources content from a variety of writers and analysts who often have slightly different backgrounds and areas of expertise. This approach means that you can get multiple perspectives on companies even within the same industry. But it also requires that you can adapt to changes in style and favored indicators when reading articles written by different authors on the platform.
Both The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha offer paid subscription services. Rather than cover all available offerings, we’ll focus on two of the most popular: The Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Seeking Alpha Premium.
These two services couldn’t be more different. Stock Advisor is essentially a stock-picking service in the form of a monthly newsletter. This stock market newsletter includes two stock recommendations from The Motley Fools’ analyst team, with detailed narratives about why the team thinks they’re worth investing in.
Stock Advisor has been incredibly successful, consistently beating the S&P 500 since 2002. The service is also relatively inexpensive, at just $199 per year (and it is often discounted to $99 for the first year). Note, though, that Stock Advisor doesn’t come with access to any additional investment research tools – it’s just the monthly newsletter.
Seeking Alpha Premium builds on the content that Seeking Alpha already provides. With a Premium subscription – which costs $29.99 per month or $239 per year – you get access to subscription-only articles across the platform. You also get the ability to download audio recordings of companies’ earnings and investor conference calls. Perhaps most important, a Premium subscription includes unlimited access to Seeking Alpha’s stock screener, which allows you to filter stocks according to the ratings given by Seeking Alpha’s contributors.
The Seeking Alpha premium subscription offers a 14-day free trial.
Additional services from The Motley Fool include Rule Breakers, which is a stock picking newsletter with a lot of similarities to Stock Advisor. Seeking Alpha also offers Seeking Alpha Pro, which includes a shortlist of investing ideas and access to exclusive contributor content.
Which Service Is Better?
Ultimately, whether The Motley Fool or Seeking Alpha is a better service for you depends on your approach to trading. As stated earlier, the two services are very different from one another.
To put it simply, The Motley Fool is a better service if you just want to be told which stocks to buy and when.
Seeking Alpha is a better service if you want to do your own in-depth research and read a lot of articles.
The Motley Fool, and particularly the Stock Advisor service, are best suited for the investor who wants to make choosing companies as easy as possible.
You just need to invest in the two new companies that the service analysts choose every month and sit back. Given the platform’s impressive track record and low price, it’s hard for any investor to argue with Stock Advisor. Realistically, you can make back the subscription cost with a single investment.
You can also dig into past recommendations if you are looking to generate more investment ideas. In certain cases, you can get an even better entry price than the initial recommendation if the stock has pulled back a bit (which is fairly common with growth stocks).
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Seeking Alpha, on the other hand, is an appropriate choice for investors who want to do their own research.
The platform doesn’t pick stocks for you, even with a Premium subscription. Rather, Seeking Alpha provides insights and tools to help you discover good investments. This is a more self-directed and time-consuming approach, but it’s nice in that you can generate a more diversified portfolio than can easily be achieved with just two stock picks per month.
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To put it simply, if you want to get monthly stock picks, choose Motley Fool. If you prefer to do your own in-depth research on companies, Seeking Alpha will likely be a better fit.
The Motley Fool And Seeking Alpha Alternatives
We would argue that Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha are some of the top services in their respective industries. Both services have been around for over a decade and have stellar reputations. If you’d like to review similar services, you can check out some of the options below. That said, Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha both rank higher.
- Action Alerts Plus – This service gives you access to investor Jim Cramer’s portfolio, and issues buy and sell alerts on a day-to-day basis. Each alert is rated on a scale from one to four, and since there are so many of them you have plenty of leeway to pick and choose which companies you want to invest in. So, you get the benefit of a stock picking service but the flexibility to do your own research. Action Alerts Plus is slightly more expensive than either The Motley Fool Stock Advisor or Seeking Alpha Premium, at $29.99 per month or $299.99 per year. It should also be noted that The Motley Fool’s stock picks have historically outperformed the stock picks of Action Alerts Plus (and Motley Fool is arguably a better service overall).
- Benzinga Pro – Benzinga Pro is a news service and research platform designed for investors who want to trade news and earnings-related events. The platform comes equipped with a few research tools that can help you better understand how companies perform. Whereas Seeking Alpha has a lot of analyst commentary and opinion pieces, Benzinga Pro is more focused on company news and press releases. It’s hard to find a better stock research platform than Seeking Alpha, however, Benzinga Pro offers some great tools for active intraday traders.
Conclusion: The Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha
The Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha both provide a wealth of free-market commentary and research on individual stocks to help you with your investing decisions. If you’re looking to make investing as simple as possible, The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is an inexpensive stock-picking service with an exceptional track record. If you want to do your own research and build a custom portfolio, you can use the analysis and tools provided with Seeking Alpha Premium to help you invest profitably.