For independent investors who want to find and research their own stock picks, Zacks and Seeking Alpha are among the top research platforms available today. Both platforms rely on experienced analysts to offer investment ideas and in-depth analysis. They also give investors helpful tools to build their own portfolios.
Zacks and Seeking Alpha have a lot in common, but the services take different approaches to gathering and presenting stock research. In this guide, we’ll compare Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha. Keep reading to decide which service is best for you.
What are Zacks and Seeking Alpha?
Zacks Investment Research was founded by Len Zacks in 1978. This investment research company has grown into one of the largest research firms in the US and has its own team of in-house analysts. Zacks is best known for its rank lists, which grade hundreds of stocks on a scale from 1 (strong buy) to 5 (strong sell).
Seeking Alpha is a market news and analysis platform launched in 2004. The company doesn’t have an in-house analyst team, but instead relies on paid contributions from Wall Street analysts, fund managers, financial writers, and other experienced market watchers. Seeking Alpha also has in-house editors who cover market news as it breaks.
Both Zacks and Seeking Alpha operate on freemium models, meaning that they offer a lot of access for free but put their best tools behind subscriptions. We’ll focus on Zacks Premium and Seeking Alpha Premium, the two services’ paid subscriptions.
Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha: Top Stock Lists
One of the main reasons to use either Zacks or Seeking Alpha is to get stock ideas that you can then research on your own. Both platforms offer lists of stocks that are highly recommended by analysts.
At Zacks, all stocks that the platform covers are rated on a scale from 1-5. A #1 ranking represents a strong buy, while a #5 ranking represents a strong sell. So, you can check the #1 rank list to quickly find stocks that are potentially worth investing in. The list typically contains more than 200 stocks on any given day and turns over every few months.
At Seeking Alpha, the top-rated stocks list contains 50-75 stocks that earn strong buy scores from Seeking Alpha contributors, Wall Street analysts, and Seeking Alpha’s quantitative algorithm. Seeking Alpha’s list turns over every few months. The platform also has lists of top dividend stocks, value stocks, growth stocks, and potential short squeeze stocks.
Both platforms focus on a blended investing strategy that emphasizes both value and growth.
Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha: Stock Research
Zacks and Seeking Alpha each offer in-depth stock research to help you analyze stock recommendations and decide what to invest in.
At Zacks, you’ll find an in-depth research report for every stock the company covers. These are traditional equity research reports written by in-house analysts tasked with covering a specific set of stocks.
Seeking Alpha takes a slightly different approach. Instead of having a single analyst write a research report, Seeking Alpha accepts op-ed style analysis articles from a wide variety of professional investors and analysts. This means that for any given stock, you can find 5-10 recent analysis articles. These articles may offer differing opinions or use different approaches to gauge a stock’s value or growth potential. Navigating Seeking Alpha’s analysis articles requires more reading and often a stronger understanding of financial modeling than reading research reports from Zacks.
Both services also offer additional tools for fundamental analysis. At Zacks, each stock’s value, growth, and momentum are rated on an A-F scale. In addition, you can pull up interactive charts of a company’s key fundamental metrics and see how a stock’s valuation has responded to recent earnings reports. Zacks also covers earnings estimate revisions, which can help you gauge whether a company is likely to beat or miss on upcoming earnings.
At Seeking Alpha, stocks are rated from A-F on their valuation, growth, and profitability. The platform doesn’t let you chart fundamentals, but it does offer A-F grades for key financial ratios like price-to-earnings, price-to-sales, and price-to-earnings growth. The stock data available in Seeking Alpha is impressively detailed.
Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha: Stock Screeners
Both Zacks and Seeking Alpha offer stock screeners that help you find stocks based on the custom ratings each platform provides. The Zacks screener lets you filter based on stocks’ rank and value, growth, and momentum scores, as well as on a wide variety of fundamental and performance metrics. The platform offers pre-made screens for categories like high-ranking value stocks, high-ranking dividend stocks, and #1 rank stocks hitting new highs.
The Seeking Alpha stock screener enables you to filter stocks based on valuation, growth, and profitability grades, analyst and contributor ratings, financial ratio grades, and a wide range of fundamental and technical parameters. There are pre-made screens for top stocks in specific market sectors.
Both of these screeners are quite powerful. Seeking Alpha’s screener offers more technical filters, which can be helpful for active investors looking for strong investments with good entry points right now. That said, the stock rankings and scores in Zacks are designed to distill down stock prices to help you find favorable entries.
Seeking Alpha vs. Zacks: ETFs, Cryptocurrencies, and Additional Markets
Zacks and Seeking Alpha primarily focus on the stock market, but both platforms offer some coverage of additional markets. Zacks and Seeking Alpha each offer ETF screeners, and Zacks has a #1 rank list of recommended ETFs. Seeking Alpha has ETF analysis articles written by contributors, which are similar to the articles available for stocks. Seeking Alpha also offers news and contributor-authored analysis of the crypto, forex, commodities, and real estate markets. Neither platform covers mutual funds.
Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha: Portfolios
Both Zacks and Seeking Alpha let you create portfolios, which can double as watch lists. There’s nothing spectacular about the portfolio tools in either platform. Zacks sends daily email alerts about ranking changes, earning surprises, and company news. Seeking Alpha sends email alerts based on price changes.
The portfolio tracker tools in both platforms are available for free without a subscription.
Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha: Pricing Options
Zacks and Seeking Alpha each offer some features for free, but you’ll need to subscribe to a premium service if you want to view top stock lists, get unlimited access to analyst or contributor research, or use all of the filters available in the stock screeners.
Try Seeking Alpha Premium FREE for 14 Days.
Seeking Alpha also offers Seeking Alpha Pro for $2,400 per year. This is more of a stock picking service that gives you access to top ideas from the team behind Seeking Alpha. It’s 10 times the cost of Seeking Alpha Premium and much more expensive than comparable stock picking services.
Which Stock Research Service is Better?
Zacks and Seeking Alpha are both excellent stock research services with a lot to offer for investors who want to do their own research. Both platforms target long-term growth and value investment strategies. Each platform offers top stock lists and advanced stock screeners, giving you a jumping-off point for building a shortlist of ideas. They’re also priced very competitively with one another.
The biggest difference between Zacks and Seeking Alpha lies in their written stock analysis. 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. 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.
One additional reason to choose Seeking Alpha over Zacks is that Seeking Alpha covers additional markets, including crypto and forex. However, it’s still primarily a stock research service, so crypto and forex traders won’t find a ton of helpful tools.
Alternatives to Zacks and Seeking Alpha
Zacks and Seeking Alpha are both designed for self-directed investors who want to do their own research and incorporate expert analysis. But if you’re looking for stock picks without having to do your own in-depth research, you might consider a stock picking service like Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor.
Stock Advisor offers two stock picks per month, and you can follow the portfolio without doing any stock research on your own. As of May 2023, Motley Fool Stock Advisor has returned 432% since its inception in 2002 compared to 122% for the S&P 500. That’s a track record of strong performance that will be hard for most self-directed investors to match.
Other services to consider include Stock Rover and Old School Value, both of which offer in-depth fundamental research for long-term value investors. These platforms stand out for investors who want to create their own stock valuation models.
Conclusion: Zacks vs. Seeking Alpha
Zacks and Seeking Alpha offer stock ratings, analysis, and research tools for self-directed investors. The two platforms are competitively priced and both offer in-depth analysis. Zacks is best if you want a single research report for every stock, while Seeking Alpha is best if you want a variety of viewpoints and analysis approaches to compare when researching stocks.