Content covers company profiles, top news stories, personal finance tools, financial reports, securities' valuation, stock, mutual fund, and ETF screeners, trading statistics, charts, insider trading, plus security quotes. Basic services are free on many sites, but some require free registration, i.e. providing email address. Most sites charge for premium services with additional content and features.
1. INVESTMENT SUPERSITES
- The original investment portal, covering quotes, company profile, market overview and statistics, financial news, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, options, investing ideas, mortgage and currency rates, research tools such as a stock screener, streaming stock quotes with price change, and message boards. Site is easy to navigate. Register for advanced features. Also noteworthy are interactive charts and technical analysis, fundamental company information, SEC filings, list of competitors, analyst opinions and estimates, ownership of stock, and insider transactions.
- For mutual funds, provides current fund news, manager information, performance tables and graphs, risk measures and portfolio holdings. One of the few sites that provides daily historical prices. Comparisons to other funds or indexes can be overlaid on the charts. Risk page provides modern portfolio theory statistics for three-, five- and 10-year periods. Also shows number of years up and down, along with best and worst calendar-year performances. Top-performing funds are listed by style and sector. Interactive charting offers full customization. Email price alerts are available.
- The distinctive feature of this site is its editorial commentary and analysis, along with plenty of stock market news. The ‘News Viewer’ text link displays dropdown to links to latest news stories. The ‘Investing’ link is subdivided by type of security. Click the ‘Markets’ link and note sub-links for international news. (A new ‘Market Streams’ feature follows live updates of market moves with commentary.) The ‘Personal Finance’ link covers real estate, taxes, retirement, spending and saving, as well as careers. Access reports written by financial writers by hovering over most links in primary navigation. Each displays a drop-down menu for that topic. Note the list of names of individual writers under the COLUMNS category. The TOOLS category is also worth exploring. To access information on a specific company, scroll down to bottom of any page on this site. Note the horizontal window where a stock ticker symbol or company name can be keyed in. For mutual funds, Fundamental data is provided on the main mutual fund page and includes fees and expenses, distributions and risk measures. Lipper ratings for total return, consistent return, preservation, tax efficiency and expenses are provided, along with the year-to-date Lipper ranking. Users can calculate the growth of $10,000 from a user-specified year. Fund compare enables the comparison of up to five funds. The Holdings tab presents the holdings and a breakdown by sector and asset allocation. Charts are also provided..
- The homepage displays a market summary, topical news stories, and an industry ‘sector summary’ with current stories and the top gainers/losers in that group. Research both stocks and mutual funds. A company search displays company description, trading statistics including historical prices, news stories (from outside sources), financial data, and a competitor list with stock prices, and interactive charts that correlate stock trading data with corresponding dated news stories. Click the name from the list of company officer and directors to display job position title, age, plus bio and compensation..
- This site has been recently redesigned with a more simplified, but more dynamic interface. However, the new version has a fraction of the content it used to have. MSN Money is a comprehensive site for investing and personal finance. Market reports, stock screeners, and charts are available. Key in a stock ticker symbol or name for stock trading information, news stories, abridged financial statements, historical stock prices, and insider trading. Click the ‘Markets’ text link for most active, gainers and losers, plus currencies, commodities and stock picks such as high yield stocks. Includes many videos and non-news stories.
- Well designed content-rich site covering individual company information, plus the latest financial news, market data, and stocks. Hover over the ‘Market’ link for access to information on interest rates, bonds, currencies and commodities. Personal finance and small business are also covered. Strong international business news coverage by region, including foreign markets. .
2. ANALYSTS’ ESTIMATES, VALUATION, RATINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS
- Reports the company's historical earnings and consensus earnings estimates on a quarterly and annual basis for the next fiscal year. Shows growth forecasts for the firm, with comparisons to its sector and industry and to the market. Shows current and historical consensus recommendations along with a trendline. Earnings momentum table gives mean estimate and number of estimate revisions upward and downward for the previous week, month, quarter and six-month periods. The Peer Earnings section presents the company's consensus recommendation and key earnings metrics compared to those of its main competitors. Information is offered as a bar chart and in a tabular format.
- Includes the latest financial or business news about key companies. Under ‘Markets’ primary link, note sub-links to pre-market trading, after-hours trading, winners/losers, most active stocks, plus currencies and commodities. Key in a stock symbol to open page with company profile, latest news and press releases, list of competitors, trading statistics, and simple historical and forecast stock price chart
- This site provides a limited amount of free information, but does include useful tutorials covering many investment topics. Register for ‘Premium’ or ‘Elite’ membership to access extensive equity research and analysis, ratings, rankings, and recommendations, custom screening, suggested portfolios, research reports, and funds rankings. Key in a stock symbol for a free company report, recent corporate developments, recommendations and earnings estimates, interactive java chart, and comparison to the industry in which that company operates. Provides comprehensive estimates free of charge. Offers earnings growth estimates for the current quarter, next quarter, current year, next year and next five years. Also shows estimate revisions and provides the estimate trend from seven, 30, 60 and 90 days ago. Earnings surprises are presented in a table dating back a year. What sets this site apart are the unique charts: The Price and Consensus chart shows the consensus estimate for each year along with the corresponding movement in the firm's stock price; the Price & EPS Surprise chart details each earnings surprise and the subsequent stock price response; and the Broker Recommendations Chart plots the stock prices in relation to brokerage target prices. Zacks industry rank, target price and equity research reports are offered to premium subcribers.
3. STOCK CHARTING, SCORES AND TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
- Key in a company’s ticker symbol, select a time series up to ten years, and either a basic, advanced or interactive chart to be displayed. Look up historical price data from 1970 on. Click ‘News’ on homepage for links to topical articles about market news, newsletters and research, futures, technology and the Internet, bonds, personal finance, and economics. Click ‘Industries’ primary link for list of 10 best and 10 worst performing industries as measured by change in stock prices over last 3 months.
- Good site for creating various types of stock charts, along with some technical analysis. The most popular stock chart requests (currently) appear as a cloud with ticker symbol links. The ‘Chart School’ link on home page accesses tutorials on using technical analysis and indicators and interpreting the data. You can create a chart for a particular company, by type (candle stick, or ‘point and finger’ with various pattern alerts, and customize the attributes (period and chart size), scale, duration (end date), and overlay. Charts display a wide variety of indicators such as moving averages, volume of trading, MACD (moving average convergence / divergence, and RSI (relative strength index).
- Mouse over the ‘Home’ link on homepage, and click ‘Introduction to StockScores.com’ in drop down menu to access useful background infomation on utilizing this site effectively. This site is a proprietary technical analysis service, available free of charge, that scores a stock (numerically from 1 to 100) at any given time relative to the stock market, and to its peers. Key in a ticker symbol to get both the ‘signal’ and the ‘sentiment’ stock score. The signal stock score measures current strength, while the sentiment stock score is a slower-reacting moving average of last 200 days of trading activity. Option to change time period of chart, switch to large charts. Get industry chart, volume / momentum, and moving average / volatility statistics.
4a. CLOSED END FUNDS
- Provides share prices and ranges for closed-end funds, along with interactive charts and fund basics such as net assets, shares outstanding, category and daily volume. Presents distributions, pricing history, performance and portfolio characteristics of each fund. Offers a screener that works in much the same way as mutual fund screeners. The fund sorter allows you to sort by discount, premium, distribution rate, total assets and year-to-date return. An education center provides articles on closed-end fund basics, types and strategies, along with advanced topics.
- Provides useful information on various categories of closed-end funds (CEFs). Offers daily fund leaders with the highest one-day net asset value appreciation. CEFs are now separated by asset classes, and leverage funds have their own section. The site presents the Lipper market averages and the number of funds within each Lipper category, providing a simple method of comparing individual closed-end funds with the market average for their asset class. Also provides a weekly average premium/discount scorecard for equity and bond CEFs. Provides links to current and archived news relating to closed-end funds and includes an audio section. There is also a section on upcoming offerings.
Closed-End Funds from Capital LInk
- Offers closed-end fund profiles, return performance and other fundamental data. Presents historical data and charts for one-week to five-year returns. Lets you personalize a screen of closed-end funds that are of interest. Fund Filter allows for the sorting of CEFs based on various criteria. Click on the reports section to open a listing of S&P reports for various closed-end funds. A listing of funds is offered (click on Funds at top to show).
4b. EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become increasingly popular over the past few years due to their diversification effects and low operating costs. They have become an established alternative to open-ended mutual funds and are especially useful for filling out portfolios. The top sites offer performance, risk and expenses.
Very little ‘free’ information is available for these funds (... best to visit Morningstar.com – Library subscription).
- Offers data on 1,484 ETFs through an ETF Resume that gives summary, chart, articles, prospectus, fact sheet, composition and holdings. In addition to general information, ETF Trends also reports some risk figures, such as alpha, beta and standard deviation. Users can download a prospectus and fact sheet in PDF format for any ETF. Unique model portfolio area offers five different model ETF portfolios catering to different investor profiles, giving the holdings and performance for each model. An education area can help those getting started in ETF investing. The community area includes a forum, podcasts, webcasts and videos.
- Provides ratings on over 1,400 U.S.-listed ETFs, covering almost all of the exchange-traded marketplace. Main page for an ETF gives current quote data, investment philosophy, style and underlying index, along with yield, dividend, net asset value, discount or premium, top 10 holdings and news. Free section of research area offers an ETF screener, a compare tool and performance data that includes an XTF rating. An education center is offered to all users.
5. PREFERRED STOCK, INCOME / DEBT, and BONDS
- Most material on this site is available through an online paid subscription. Covers preferred stocks, convertible preferred stocks, exchange traded corporate bonds, REITS Click the ‘Demonstration’ link and then ‘Preferred Stocks Demonstration’ for a site tour. Provides daily and weekly updates of new issues, ratings changes, and called securities. Provides alerts for dividend & call announcements, and a screener to search for multiple issues. Click the CUSIP number link that displays in search results to get individual security details. Click ‘Glossary’ link for content coverage a wide range of investment terms…not just preferreds.
- By far, the most comprehensive web site on preferred stocks, exchange traded income and debt securities, and convertible securities. Has a huge database of every income stock and security traded on any U.S. exchange along with income tables, and dividend payment schedules. Registration at site is required to obtain extensive information.
- This service is related to PreferredsOnline.com - note linkage near the top of home page screen Bond information, news, quotes, and trading for the individual and institutional bond investor, Site covers municipal, corporate, savings, and treasury bonds. Scroll down home page for title text links to news articles related to bond market or bond trading
- Site geared toward a range of investors, from beginners to experienced, sophisticated investors Good source of bond price information and includes a wide variety of market data, news, commentary and information about bonds.
This resource was created by Security Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) to educated investors. Links on home page to treasuries, municipals, corporate bonds, & mortgage-backed securities. Site has basic information on bond investing, zero-coupon bonds, and CDs, and a comprehensive list of bond prices based on recent trades. The ‘Learn More’ link has drop down menu with hotlinks to learning about buying and selling bonds, different types of bonds, and investing strategies with bonds.
A ‘How to Use this Site’ link to information for three groups of investors: beginners, experienced equity investors, and sophisticated bond investors The ‘Bonds at Your Stage of Life’ link was particularly informative, as it covers 4 stages, namely: Starting out (20s and 30s) ; In the middle (30s and 40s) ; Nearing retirement (50s and 60s) ; and Retirement (60+)
6. INVESTMENT RESEARCH, EDUCATION, and ANNUAL REPORTS
- This unbiased site is devoted entirely to investment education. Provides explanations of investment related topics. The primary navigation tabs, with submenus, cover ‘investing topics’, ‘dictionary’, ‘personal finance’, ‘useful tutorials’, ‘exam prep’, plus informative videos and tutorials. Note the ‘Dictionary’ and the ‘Content Library’ at the bottom of page.
- This site’s mission is to “educate, enrich, and amuse” individual investors. Provides subscriptions to its investment advisory services that combine a traditional newsletter with interactive electronic discussion boards and other tools. Site provides additional services outside its primary stock-picking focus, such as how to invest, retirement planning, dealing with personal finance decisions, plus community discussion boards.
- The high quality content of this site covers the U.S. stock market, foreign markets, bonds, precious metals, commodities, and economics, blended with Russell’s comments, observations, and stock market philosophy. Includes background information on the history of Dow Theory (of stock price movements) and indicators such as the Primary Trend Index. The Library print subscription, published every three weeks, is complemented by ‘Richard’s Remarks’, insights on the financial markets, updated daily (except Sunday). The newsletter is the oldest investment advisory service written continuously (since 1958) by one person. A team of research analysts now contribute content to this investment service. To access web content, key in '1854' as both user name and as password.
- The largest free directory of annual reports on the Web. This resource provides an extensive database of over 5,000 annual reports covering both current and previous fiscal years for any public company. Access is free but need to register with an email address. Search holdings by stock symbol, alphabetical listing, state, industry, or by Canada-only option. Most reports are in Adobe PDF format for easy view and download.
7. LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION-BASED INVESTMENT DATABASES
Text linkage to these resources, which are accessible in-house and by remote access through the Mechanics' Institute website, is displayed on list of databases..
Value Line Research Center
- This resource provides extensive coverage of stocks, mutual funds, options. Over the time period that the Value Line system has been active, stocks ranked 1 and 2 ( i.e. above average price performance expected over next 6 to 12 months) have outperformed every year. The intended audience of Value Line Investment Survey is both the beginning stock investor, and the independent investor who takes a do-it-yourself approach towards investing, and may simply need ideas on what securities to buy.
Service is accessible through MI website, both in Library AND by remote access Key in the URL for the Mechanics’ Institute website: www.milibrary.org Click ‘Books & More’ text link to display the drop down menu. Click the ‘Databases’ text link. Click the ‘Value Line Resource Center’ text link. For remote access, click ‘Value Line Resource Center’. Key in your name and 14-digit barcode.
Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
- Provides coverage of some 5,500 public companies that are actively traded on stock exchanges or over-the-counter between investment brokers Composition - some 4,500 U.S., 500 Canadian and some 500 international companies.
NetAdvantage includes information that was published in S&P print publications, such as S&P Outlook, Stock Reports, Industry Reports, Trends & Projections, Stock and Bond Guide. To access, key in ‘Mechanics1’ (case sensitive) as user-name, and 14-digit barcode on your member card as your password. Key in the barcode (without spaces). Remote access to this resource is available from home or office.
Morningstar Investment Research Center
- Morningstar is an authoritative investment advisory service with independent research, analysis, and recommendations covering 1,700 stocks, 2,200 mutual funds, and 400 exchange traded funds. Provides a clear overview of index and sector and mutual fund category returns. Useful tools include screeners for stocks and funds which generate a list of investments that meet specific criteria as selected by searcher. Portfolio X-ray is a tool that analyzes portfolios of specific user-input securities. Four monthly newsletters cover stocks, funds, and ETFs. Accessible through Institute website, both in Library AND by remote access from home or office.
To research a public company, key in the ticker symbol to access overall 1-5 star rating, plus:
quotes (along with list of competitors, ownership and Wall Street recommendations),
company profile, chart, dividend and stock split history,
performance (total returns (stock vs. industry vs. S&P 500),
key ratios (profitability, growth rates, cash flow, financial health, and efficiency ratios),
financials (balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements for previous 10 years), valuation (for P/E ratios of stock and industry, plus comparative yields),
and insiders (trading activity, list of key executives and board of directors).
Revised: January, 2016
Craig Jackson, Acquisitions/Collections Librarian