There are many stock research resources, both good and bad.
There are plenty of free stock analysis websites. But, when it comes to sources, beware. There are lots of unreliable and unprofessional websites and publications written by amateurs who really don’t know what they’re talking about and, as a result, give misleading information. As the old saying goes, it is better not to know than now half-truths as that is dangerous.
There are also stock promoters’ sites. These will often give you meaningless investment tips to promote certain companies for a fee. Often, these are penny stocks and these promotions are meant to raise stock price of a promoted company, so it can raise capital at a higher price (therefore having to issue fewer shares in a secondary offering), or because insiders want to sell their often worthless shares for more. Typically, after such promotions end, and dumping of shares takes place, stock prices will fall, leaving naïve investors holding bags of losses. This is also known as Pump & Dump. Stock promoters in countries like the United States need to disclose that they’re doing, but they’re not required to make it obvious. Disclosures about promotions are usually found in the “disclaimer” sections of their websites or newsletters.
Investors also need to be skeptical when it comes to the so-called “stock gurus” promoting their publications, whether online or off, for fees. Due diligence is required. Often, the advice given by these “gurus” is worthless and dangerous to your finances. Also, stock chat rooms are filled with traders and investors without much of a clue, as well as by manipulators. But, if you look at information posted very critically, gems can be found.
Not all sources are bad. Quality online brokers provide their clients with stock reports issued by such recognized companies as S&P, Thomson Reuters, etc. They will also provide real-time charts, stock screeners, and other sources. There’s also lots of information available to the public from free stock analysis websites.
Yahoo Finance is one of these reliable sources. Here, investors can find lots of information about a specific company by entering its symbol or name in a search box. Yahoo Finance’s stock information has several sections. In a Summary section, investors can find a detailed quote (although delayed during market hours), stock chart, and summary of financial performance. Note, however, that some information (i.e., recent share issues) may not be updated quickly enough, so investors need to verify such data as market cap, number of shares outstanding, etc.
In the Statistics section, valuations measures (such as Trailing P/E and Forward P/E) are included, plus trading information (Beta, moving averages) and financial highlights including profitability measures, income and balance sheet data, cash flow data, and others. Information about dividends and splits is included, too. Once again, if some measure is of particular importance to you, double check it against another source as Yahoo Finance data can be outdated.
Meanwhile, in the Profile section, information about a company is given including full-time employees, names of top executives, company’s address, lines of business, and so on. Coming to Financials section, more detailed information related to financial statements is included. It is always good to verify this information with company’s financial statements (such as 10-Ks, which are annual reports; or 10-Qs, which are quarterly reports) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Other Yahoo Finance sections include Analysts (what the analysts are estimating and recommending), Discussions (where investors can post), Historical Data (related to price and volume), Holders (major holders of shares), and Options (option chains).
There are also financial websites such as MarketWatch. Its front page contains the latest financial and economic news as well as prices of stock indices, foreign exchange rates (major currencies), interest rates, and prices of major commodities. There are specific sections as well. By selecting Markets, information about different markets (i.e., US, Canada, Europe, Asia) is provided. Another section, Investing, covers various financial products such as stocks, bonds, futures, options, currencies, and commodities. These, of course, are the recent news rather than educational materials as here. Some other sections include Personal Finance, Real Estate, Economy, and Retirement.
When it comes to getting information about some microcap stocks, especially delisted companies, OTC Markets is one of useful sources. For stock screening, Finviz.com can be utilized. It’s a great tool where it’s possible to search for stocks based on fundamental and technical factors.
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There are plenty of sources where stock information can be found. What’s important here is that investors understand this information and use reliable sources. This whole publication is intended to educate investors so they can understand financial information.