Stock picking services are valuable tools for investors seeking appropriate investments and timing their market entry and exit.
These services are particularly attractive to beginners in stock trading and investors with limited time.
This guide outlines the ten best stock picking services for 2023. Our evaluation criteria include past performance, reputation, pricing, and target markets.
10 Best Stock Picking Services
Here are the best stock picking services to help you beat the market today:
- The Motley Fool Stock Advisor
- The Motley Fool Rule Breakers
- Seeking Alpha Premium
- Trade Ideas
- Mindful Trader
- Pilot Trading
- Carnivore Trading
- Wallstreet Zen
1. The Motley Fool Stock Advisor
- Designed For: Buy-and-hold investors
- Cost: $199/year
- Past performance: Returns 468% versus S&P 124%
The Motley Fool has been around for roughly three decades and has earned its place at the head of the table among long-term stock pickers.
The Motley Fool showcases that their Stock Advisor picks have delivered nearly four times the returns of the S&P 500 since their inception. That’s a cumulative return of 468%, far higher than the S&P (124%). That makes for a pretty impressive visual:
Further reinforcing the integrity of their approach, they urge you to commit to three investing principles when you enroll:
- Own at least 25 stocks.
- Hold your stocks for at least five years.
- Expect market downturns every five years.
The Motley Fool was founded in 1993 by two brothers, David and Tom Gardner. In the decades since, the two brothers have written four bestselling books, partnered with NPR for investing radio segments, and launched a series of wildly popular podcasts.
With over 1,000,000 subscribers, their Stock Advisor service has performed spectacularly by any standard.
The service includes four monthly newsletters, starting on the first Thursday of the month and then arriving weekly.
The first and third newsletters contain a new stock recommendation, and the second and fourth Thursday newsletters contain five New Best Buy Now stock picks. The latter comprise previous picks that they still recommend as strong buys.
When market conditions change, subscribers receive “sell” recommendation emails in real-time. Subscribers also get access to Fool’s “Top 10 Best Stock to Buy RIGHT Now” report and their “Top 5 Starter Stocks” that they recommend for all new investors.
The Stock Advisor subscription costs $199 per year. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try an entire monthly cycle before deciding whether to continue.
For more information, see our full review of The Motley Fool Stock Advisor and its services.
2. The Motley Fool Rule Breakers
- Designed For: Buy-and-hold investors
- Cost: $299/year
- Past Performance: Returns 224% versus S&P 500 105%
The Motley Fool offers more than its flagship Stock Advisor subscription. The Rule Breakers newsletter features “hidden gem” growth stock picks, particularly companies poised to disrupt their industries.
Since its inception in 2004, the Rule Breakers stock picks have returned 224%, according to The Motley Fool. That’s in contrast to the S&P 500’s 105% over the same period.
If that sounds weaker than the Stock Advisor’s pick returns, remember that the Stock Advisor launched several years earlier.
The Rule Breakers stock picks tend to be up-and-comers rather than established mega-corporations. This adds an element of risk, so consider Rule Breakers only if you’re looking for scrappy growth stocks that the wider market hasn’t discovered yet.
Like Stock Advisor, subscribers receive stock recommendations on the first and third Thursdays of the month and five New Best Buy Now stocks on the second and fourth Thursdays. You also get sell notifications in real-time and access to The Motley Fool’s Starter Stocks.
At $299 per year, Rule Breakers costs a bit more than Stock Advisor, but you get the same 30-day guarantee.
3. Seeking Alpha Premium
- Designed For: Buy-and-hold investors, day traders
- Cost: $199 for the first year
- Past Performance: Beats the S&P 500 annually
Limited Time Offer: Save 50% off a Seeking Alpha Premium plan. Click Here to sign up.
Seeking Alpha Premium is a powerful package of market intelligence tools designed to help you become the best investor or trader — or both — you can possibly be.
For $199 for the first year, Seeking Alpha Premium delivers:
- Unlimited access to premium content created and curated by Seeking Alpha’s deep stable of expert contributors
- Seeking Alpha Author Ratings and Author Performance Metrics
- Proprietary quant ratings are available nowhere else
- Unlimited earnings call audio and transcripts
- Powerful stock screeners
- Article sidebars with key data, charts, and ratings
- Tracking for each investment idea’s performance
- And much more
4. Trade Ideas
- Designed For: Day traders
- Cost: $84/month – $167/month
- Past performance: Average returns of 20% annually
Limited Time Offer: Through November 28, 2023, you can save 25% off your subscription with coupon code BLKFRI25.
The software platform Trade Ideas uses an artificial intelligence named “Holly” to generate real-time trade recommendations for subscribers. Made up of more than 75 proprietary algorithms, Holly runs more than 1 million simulated trades each night before the trading day starts.
She then proposes stock trade picks in real-time, along with recommended entry and exit points. That delivers a complete day trading plan for each pick.
Trade Ideas also features its own internal broker, so you can authorize Holly to execute trades on your behalf rather than buying or selling manually through your own separate brokerage account. You can also link external accounts with Interactive Brokers and E*Trade to have all your trades in one place.
One particularly nice feature that Trade Ideas includes is their simulated trading option. It lets you trade with fake money and build your comfort level before you start slinging your hard-earned cash around the market.
5. Mindful Trader
- Designed For: Swing traders
- Cost: $47 per month
- Past performance: Average returns 141%
The beauty of Mindful Trader is that you don’t need to stay on standby waiting for trade alerts constantly, making it one of the best stock picking services.
The recommended swing trades take up to 10 days between buying and selling, so you can buy anytime during the trading day. That’s a crucial perk given that most of us can’t glue our eyeballs to the screen all day waiting for alerts to pop up.
Eric Ferguson, the founder of Mindful Trader, put decades of stock market data through statistical analysis to create an algorithm that alerts him — and you — to high-probability market movements. He includes stock trades, futures trades, and options trades. More recently, he also added a stock equivalent to his futures trades, so you can mimic them even if you don’t want to hassle with trading futures.
Eric updates his website for logged-in subscribers when he executes a trade, so you can do the same in your own brokerage account. He makes the majority of his trades within the first half hour of the markets opening every day, so you can simply check the site once daily. These swing trades aren’t nearly as time-sensitive as faster day trades.
I also like the backtest review of Mindful Trader’s hypothetical returns. Over the last 20 years, Eric’s trading system would have yielded an average annual return of 141%. You can view the year-by-year return breakdown here.
I’ve personally been following Eric’s trades for around nine months now. During that time, I’ve earned an annualized return of 31.2%.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have losses some months. All traders know the stomach-dropping feeling of a string of losing trades. In Eric’s backtests, the median account drawdown was 24%.
That’s nothing to take lightly. I can personally attest to how jarring it is to go from thousands of dollars up for the month to thousands of dollars down, all within a window of just a few days.
Mindful Trader charges a monthly subscription fee of $47. Although not cheap per se, it’s less expensive than many competitors. The monthly billing interval means you can try it for a month or two and then cancel without losing a fortune if you don’t like the trading style.
6. Pilot Trading
- Designed For: Traders of cryptocurrencies, futures, forex, and ordinary stocks
- Cost: $19.99 per month
- Past Performance: not disclosed
Pilot Trading features psychology-based AI algorithms that anticipate when asset prices will shift directions beyond simply showcasing current trends. They connect directly to many brokerage accounts for in-app trading to make trading even faster and easier.
One feature that sets Pilot Trading apart is the breadth of assets it covers. Beyond stocks, they include futures, forex, cryptocurrency trends, and anticipated swing points. If you’re new to trading any of those assets, Pilot Trading offers a simulated paper trading account to practice.
Best of all, Pilot Trading foregoes the massive membership fees many competitors charge. They charge a flat $19.99 per month, with access to all features. No upselling, no separate pricing for bells and whistles, just one affordable price for all users.
Want real-time trading alerts and a secure connection to your trading platform? Upgrade to PRO for an extra $10 per month.
7. Carnivore Trading
- Designed For: Day traders, swing traders, and technical traders
- Cost: $250 per month
- Past Performance: Returns 321% in 2022
Like some other entrants on this list, Carnivore Trading is a copy or mirror trading service that suggests mostly short-term trading opportunities to users willing to pay $250 per month — if you pay annually, you get two free months.
As a Carnivore user, you’ll receive daily trading alerts throughout the day, ideally in near-real-time. These alerts show actual trades made by Carnivore’s veteran trading team, plus recommended exit points. Carnivore also posts a daily digest called the Daily Wrap after the closing bell with commentary and analysis that puts the day’s market action in perspective.
Carnivore encourages users to copy its team’s trades, creating an obvious conflict of interest. But that’s no different than any other copy trading services on this list. Carnivore takes pains to stress its legitimacy relative to shops run by single individuals or pairs — restricting its recommendations to “large, liquid, well-followed stocks” and imposing some other risk-management parameters:
- $300 million minimum market cap, with most recommendations over $2 billion market cap
- No over-the-counter stocks
- No options
- No complex strategies (though Carnivore assumes users have basic familiarity with active trading strategies)
Bottom line: For informed traders willing to accept the risks of active trading in general and copy trading specifically, Carnivore Trading is a breath of fresh air.
- Designed For: Options traders
- Cost: $19 per month to $166.59 per month
- Past Performance: Not disclosed
LevelFields calls itself an “AI-driven event tracking and forecasting” platform that can help you beat the market by paying close attention to the events that drive it — closer attention than any human trader can on their own.
And when LevelFields says “beat the market,” they mean just that. A company sample of 38 events shows a cumulative 12-month return north of 300%, an average one-day return of 8.35%, and a win rate above 50% — not bad for a service that starts at just $19 per month when you pay annually.
LevelFields’ tools couldn’t be easier to use. Simply:
- Select an event type, such as lawsuits, leadership changes, and product releases or changes
- Use AI-generated event patterns to find optimal entry or exit points (when to buy or sell)
- Set event alerts — LevelFields sends opportunities to your inbox based on your risk tolerance (and desired profits)
LevelFields tracks more than 6,300 names around the clock and offers solutions for options traders, too. It aims to mirror the strategies of event-driven hedge funds that aren’t friendly to the great mass of retail investors.
- Designed For: Part-time investors
- Cost: $19.50 per month billed annually
- Past Performance: not disclosed
WallstreetZen is for the serious investor who isn’t quite a financial expert. Beyond simply shoving data in your face, WallstreetZen breaks it down, making it useful for everyday investors.
Investors have access to Zen scores, which are company scoring models made easy. Based on 38-data points, WallstreetZen helps investors find companies with great balance sheets, bright futures, and high yields.
Investors get access to one-line explanations of a stock’s performance, allowing you to make intuitive and fast investing decisions. You can also filter analysts, only seeing reports from analysts you trust and with a proven history. Get as detailed as seeing an analyst’s past performance history to determine the validity of what they suggest.
Other benefits include:
- Intuitive stock screener
- One-sentence explanations about stock moves
- Access to analysts with proven track records
- Designed For: Technical traders
- Cost: $249/year to $2995/year
- Past Performance: 24.32% per year
Zacks Investment Research is one of the most well-known stock picking services. They provide technical and fundamental analyses and access to stock research reports, earnings estimates, and portfolio management tools.
The founder, Len Zack, created a scoring system that ranks stocks on a scale of 1 to 5 based on four factors:
Zacks covers stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, covering over 10,000 stocks. Zacks has a free plan that provides access to limited articles, email alerts, and Zank Ranks and Styles Scores.
The paid versions provide access to stock screeners, recommendations, and Zack’s ranking list. However, Zack’s doesn’t provide personalized recommendations, and the platform is only for research; it doesn’t work with any platforms, so you must execute the trades yourself on your chosen platform.
What are Stock Picking Services?
Stock-picking services do exactly what they sound like — they pick specific stocks they believe will outperform the broader stock market. They recommend that you act on or ignore those stocks as you see fit.
They sound straightforward, and they are, but many new investors confuse them with similar-sounding services.
For example, stock screeners are tools that help you filter down the thousands of available stocks to a manageable few based on your precise criteria.
Stock scanners, while related, are another type of online investing tool that streams stock-related data and alerts in real-time.
And, of course, online stockbrokers offer the actual mechanism for buying and selling stocks online.
Keep in mind these services often overlap. Most stockbrokers offer stock screener tools. Some stock screeners offer real-time stock scanning.
What to Look for in Stock Picking Services
As with everything else, some stock-picking services are better than others, and everyone has different reasons for their choice of the best stock-picking service.
But stock pickers don’t simply vary based on quality. They also vary in focus.
Many specialize in serving day traders or swing traders, helping them identify stocks poised to jump or drop sharply that day or during the following week. Others serve long-term buy-and-hold investors, recommending stocks they believe will grow quickly in the years to come.
First and foremost, look for stock pickers with a strong track record of beating the market. No stock picker will get every call right, but the astute ones prove to be right far more often than wrong.
Before taking investment advice from any stock picker, verify their bona fides in the form of a track record. Compare their picks’ returns to the market at large whenever possible. It doesn’t matter if their picks saw 30% growth last year if the market grew by 35%.
The longer that track record, the better. Look for experience in your stock pickers, as a year or two of good picks could come down to luck. Twenty years of strong picks indicate skill.
Take a close look at stock pickers’ integrity as well. Ethical and transparent stock pickers never mislead their audience by recording trade wins but by leaving losing trades open, for example, and only reporting the closed wins.
Likewise, they never record profits before having them executed and in hand. They don’t claim wins for hypothetical historical profits they didn’t actually earn, saying, “Our system would have earned a 1,000% profit over the last ten years!”
Look for credibility and transparency indicators like free trial periods and money-back guarantees. It always helps to try a service before committing your money permanently.
Finally, make sure you understand their stock-picking strategy. Reputable stock pickers explain their approach and the data analysis they use, so do your homework to understand the stock picker’s methodology and ensure it aligns with your personal investing goals.
Advantages of Stock Picking Services
If you aren’t sure if stock-picking services are right for you, consider these advantages.
- Great for beginners: Investors not sure where to start or what data to use can benefit from stock pickers. You follow what the service tells you to invest in and get a hands-on lesson on investing.
- Passive investing: If you want to invest in stocks but don’t have the time to be a day trader, stock-picking services can help you choose your stocks fast, letting your portfolio grow without too much effort.
- Advice from experts: It’s not often you can get expert advice at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost to work with them in person. With stock picks sent directly to you, it’s much easier to pick your stocks confidently, knowing you have the backing of the experts.
Stock Picking Strategies
The best stock-picking services each have their own stock-picking strategies, but here are some of the most common.
Fundamental data is easy for even the beginning investor to understand and focuses on sales, earnings forecasts, gross margins, competitor analysis, and income growth. This focuses on a stock’s true value. When a stock’s price falls below its value, stock-picking services will generally suggest buying it.
Sometimes stock prices are driven by how society thinks, and that’s why some services use sentiment data. While this isn’t anything technical or fundamental and shouldn’t be the only method used for stock-picking, it can play a role, especially when the sentiment is high, and the stock has the potential to outperform its predictions.
Technical data is for the experienced investor who wants to get into the nitty-gritty of the stock’s historical performance. It doesn’t focus on a stock’s true value but instead on its historical patterns and predictions.
Your likelihood of success as a day or swing trader depends on the quality of your information. Timely, accurate information makes profit possible for traders; without it, beating the market is next to impossible.
But beyond up-to-the-second financial alerts, traders and long-term investors alike also need help narrowing the field from thousands of stocks to a handful. That’s where stock picking services come in handy.
And, of course, they help in providing education. Trading or investing in individual stocks isn’t passive and easy like index fund investing. It requires deep knowledge and skill, and good stock picking services provide not just alerts and watchlists but a replicable system that any trader or investor can follow.
The promise is that if you follow the system, you can beat the market.