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Every new trader in the stock market must wade through a myriad of tools, platforms, and websites that claim to have the best stock market research around. Some are free, some are not, and some cost so much that they eat into plenty of your profits.
This post rounds up all of the best research options out there that you can have for free (or almost free). I’m sure I missed a few, but these are the ones I rely on most often.
It’s difficult to beat the charting features on [Yahoo! Finance]. Load up a particular stock, fund, or index and click on Full screen above the small chart. Take a look at the chart for SPY and click Indicators at the top left. You get tons of options for the basics, such as moving averages and relative strength index (RSI), and you get plenty of more advanced indicators as well. You can share the charts directly from the site.
My runner-ups in charting include:
- StockCharts: The basic charts from StockCharts are great and the new ACP platform is useful, too. (ACP has limitations without a paid account.)
- TradingView: Charts on TradingView are gorgeous, but there are limitations on the number of indicators on a free account.
- Finviz: The automated technical analysis charts are helpful when you’re in a hurry.
My favorite research choice may be surprising, but it’s Fidelity. They have tons of research, guidance, screeners, analyst reports, and more. Finding all of the information can be challenging at times because the interface changes depending on the information you are viewing. It feels like some of the pages are left over from an old system, but the information is still very useful.
Fidelity will require you to have an account before you can use the research tools, but this is probably as simple as setting up a brokerage account and making a small deposit. I already have a couple of accounts there for work-related investments and this gives me full access to their research tools.
There’s no API access and some of the data is a little sluggish to be updated, but the information is useful even for shorter term investors and traders.
As for the research runner-ups:
- Barchart: Stock research, earnings information, charting, technical analysis, and more are available on Barchart. You can access plenty of data for free, but they have paid accounts that give you more access to screeners. If you aren’t able to get a Fidelity account where you live, Barchart will give you almost the same amount of information.
- Finviz: There’s plenty of data per page on Finviz and the screeners are extremely fast and useful.
- Stockrow: It feels like a copy of Finviz in quite a few places, but it presents data in some different ways. They offer paid accounts, but the free account has plenty of data.
- Tradytics: It delivers a modern view of the overall market, the options flow, and plenty of other data. This one has paid accounts, too, but there are lots of free features that can help you make better decisions.
- fintel.io: This site gives you insight into what big hedge funds are doing in the market. Just keep in mind that the data is delayed (based on reports submitted from the funds themselves), and it’s difficult to tell which side of the trade the hedge funds are on when they submit their forms. I like it better than HedgeFollow and HedgeMind, but those can be useful as well.
Most APIs for stock market data are so expensive that they’re not worth considering. However, if you don’t need up-to-the-second data, there are some free options with great data.
Yahoo! Finance has a great API for stock quotes, company information, and options quotes. The API also has historical data that normally costs hundreds or more from other APIs. If you use Python, the yfinance module is great. You can pull it into pandas so you can slice and dice the data all you want.
Although Finviz doesn’t have an official API, the finvizfinance Python module allows you to retrieve plenty of corporate data, quotes, and charts from Finviz.
iexcloud has one of the best APIs around. You can get a free account with a decent amount of credit (if you use it wisely) and their paid plans start at $9 per month.
Almost all of the previously mentioned sites have some sort of news flow available on their site. However, Benzinga has a feature where you can load up your watchlist and get near real-time data in your email inbox. You can select the stocks you care about and the types of news and filings for each. Their paid plan has more access to news that you won’t see elsewhere, but it’s expensive.
The SEC Edgar Filing Tracker is a great way to track SEC filings for the stocks you care about. You can search through filings via a simple interface and you can set up email alerts for certain stocks.
If you are a TD Ameritrade customer, the ThinkOrSwim platform has tons of real-time news that you can filter from within the application itself.
Why is all of this important? #
You should trade stocks for companies you love and the companies that make products you love. However, it’s critical to understand if these companies are generating positive cash flow, making products that build a wider moat, and drawing the interest of institutional investors. These are just a few factors to consider when choosing to invest or trade.
Fortunately for you, almost all of the data you need to make these decisions can be acquired for free or at a very low cost. Good luck!
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that I am not an investment professional and you should make your own decisions around stock research and trades. Investing comes with plenty of risk and I’m the last person who should be giving anyone investment advice. 😜
Photo credit: Jacek Dylag on Unsplash