Ah, investing – a word that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most burly and masculine of men. A subject with such a broad and potentially confusing scope of choices, it can bewilder even the most savvy of businessmen.
Even though I consider myself well-versed in general investment information, there is a world of knowledge, terminology, and strategy that is just beyond my comprehension, and will likely always be.
So where should I, the layman, turn to when I seek competent and comprehensive stock market investment research and analysis?
Top 10 Stock Market Investment Research Websites
Keep in mind that the main focus of these sites, above all else, is equities. So if you are looking to research ETFs, mutual funds, hedge funds, or any other diversified investment type, many of these websites may not have what you are looking for.
If you are just beginning to learn about the world of investments, Investopedia is your one-stop shop for anything and everything. Here, you can look up definitions of terms, register for newsletters with valuable information, use their stock simulator to see how much an investment earns or loses over time, and much more. You can research stocks by company name or ticker symbol and get quite a bit of information about a desired company. They also have a neat “Financial Edge” section, which can help you with some of the important fundamental principles of personal finance and the markets.
2. Yahoo! Finance
As much as I would like to skip this one over for some of the lesser-known research portals, Yahoo! Finance is just too good. Aside from the myriad of company reports, which you are required to pay for, all of the information at Yahoo finance is free for the taking.
3. Motley Fool
Don’t let the name bother you – these guys are all business. Whether you are looking to do your own research, or prefer the advice of a seasoned veteran, The Motley Fool has it all. I tend to prefer to follow my own (sometimes idiotic) investment decisions, but if you need help, or want to see what the experts recommend, there are pay services at Motley Fool that may be a good option for you. I have not used them myself, but the few people that I know who have followed their advice have had nothing but positive things to say, and a good amount of success to boot.
4. The Street
If you pay any attention to the world of investing, you know the name Jim Cramer. Personally, I think he is little more than a caricature, but some people swear by him. Mr. Cramer is one of the “big name” contributors at The Street. That not withstanding, The Street is, in my humble opinion, the best website for investing related articles. The writers have vast knowledge and fantastic insight, without losing focus on what is important – the investors for whom they write.
5. Wall Street Journal
For decades, the Wall Street Journal newspaper has been a staple for information and research for investors. Although most of us have done away with the daily black and white delivery method, the Wall Street Journal online delivers even more valuable information than its nearly obsolete predecessor. Nowadays, the Journal’s online presence includes The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Barron’s, and SmartMoney, among others. All of these sites are valuable resources for investing information, especially when seeking out company-specific news.
6. MSN Money
Microsoft tends to be a pretty self-serving company, at least in my opinion. Even so, once you learn to glance over all of the Microsoft related news at MSN Money, what you get is another fantastic avenue for portfolio boosting. The one complaint I have with MSN Money is the formatting. When looking at stock quotes, there are no lines distinguishing ads from news or charts, which occasionally will take you off-course by clicking an advertisement by mistake.
7. Zacks Investment Research
Zack’s does require a membership in order to get to the juicy stuff, but the membership is free and well worth the three minutes it takes to sign up. Here, you will be able to do in-depth research on both stocks and funds. You will also have access to many public and independent reports that will assist you on your quest for the perfect personal investment portfolio.
8. Investor Guide
Investor Guide has many of the same features you’ll notice on other sites on this list, so why does it make my top ten? The stock helper tool. First, this tool helps you to determine an optimal investing strategy and style. Then, it provides a list of companies for you to research. Once your list is complete, you will see what others think of each company on your research list. Investor Guide does a great job of aggregating this information from many different sites for you. You will then evaluate the company’s competition, decide what to buy, and reap the benefits.
9. Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha is amazing. My one complaint is that there is actually too much information packed into one page, which at times can make it difficult to navigate. If it weren’t for the massive amount of content on Seeking Alpha, it would be much higher on this list. Company news is the main focus of the site, so if you have a list of companies to research, this is a pretty good place to start.
10. Online Brokerages
Personally, my account has been housed at Sharebuilder for years now, and their research tools are very good. In the beginning, they had a clumsy interface that was slow and filled with glitches. Since then, they have done an amazing job of streamlining and improving content to the point of near perfection. No matter who you invest with online, be sure to use their research tools, as most of them have easy to use interfaces with plenty of information to sort through. Some of the more popular online stock brokers include E*TRADE, TradeKing, Scottrade, and OptionsHouse.
When you are looking to conduct your own investment research, closely monitor where you go online. It is very easy to end up on “hot stock pick” sites, penny stock investing sites, or poorly executed attempts at legitimacy. Many of these sites are fronts for someone to sell you their “foolproof system” or something similar. Everything I have provided above is free of charge, though a few of them offer paid services above and beyond what most of us need.
Do you have a preferred investment research site? Tell us about them and what features you like most in the comments below.