Once upon a time, investing was just for the wealthy. Practically, stocks could only be purchased in large quantities because investors had to pay substantial fees and commissions to the brokerage firms facilitating their trades.
The rise of internet-based self-directed trading platforms like E*Trade and Robinhood changed all of that. Individuals at any level of experience can explore the world of investing no matter how much – or how little – cash they have on hand.
On these platforms, fees are negligible, and commissions are virtually non-existent. The piece that is missing is the professional analysis/insights. How do self-directed investors know which assets are most likely to deliver the desired results?
Enter online financial data providers – services that offer detailed information on stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and more. Through these platforms, investors at all levels of experience can conduct in-depth research to make smart financial decisions.
These are the features of five top financial data providers for retail investors.
Lots of online brokerage firms offer access to analyst research and reporting, but there is a problem. Those reports are written by people who often have an inherent conflict of interest.
For example, when analysts rate a company’s stock as “sell”, they risk relationships with the company’s leadership team, making their jobs far more difficult. That means they are more inclined to rate companies “buy” or “hold”, even if that confidence is misguided.
Financhill is different.
Analysis is automated, thanks to a proprietary algorithm that measures the factors most likely to influence share price, both short-term and long-term. Fundamental, technical, sentiment and economic factors are all analyzed and distilled into a single Stock Score. A Stock Score above 50 is a Buy, and below is a Sell. Simple.
The platform includes a long list of other powerful tools that are intuitive enough for investing novices and informative enough for investing experts.
With Financhill’s membership, investors can customize their access to meet individual needs. Examples of membership benefits include:
- Access to independent stock ratings based on a proprietary algorithm
- Screening tool to identify seasonal trends
- Valuation tool that reviews financial statements, so you don’t have to
- Economic research platform
- Smart money tool to view how big money is investing
- Personalized watch lists
- Email alerts
- Daily and weekly newsletters
- Invitation-only member events
Investors with a passion for detailed fundamental and quantitative analysis have endless display and modeling options to choose from on Finbox.
The platform covers more than 100,000 stocks traded on 135+ exchanges worldwide. More importantly, its goal is to provide data in real-time, which means in excess of 900 million data points are regularly updated.
Finbox is designed to meet the needs of investors at every level of experience, so tools range from basic templates to sophisticated customizable models.
Users are particularly impressed with the stock screener, which makes it simple to filter, search, and identify the types of investment opportunities appropriate for individual needs.
Other membership benefits include:
- Customizable watch list
- Ideas tab
- Templates for financial modeling
- Data explorer tool with step-by-step instructions for reading and interpreting data
- API access
Investors.com is part news site, part financial data provider intended for all types of investors. Its stated goal is to help “ordinary people achieve extraordinary results” through a more thorough understanding of effective investing strategies.
The site’s founder, William O’Neil, is a proponent of the “CAN SLIM” investing system, so the site and its tools are biased in that direction. CANSLIM is an acronym for data points that indicate whether a stock may have a promising future, and the strategy is generally considered more effective in a bull market vs. a bear market. CANSLIM refers to:
- C – Current quarterly earnings per share
- A – Annual earnings increases for the past five years
- N – New products, events, information, milestones, or management
- S – Scarcity of supply when demand for the stock is high
- L – Laggard stocks within the same industry
- I – Institutional sponsorship
- M – Market direction as indicated by market averages
Investors.com offers a variety of tools that fall into the following three categories:
- Leaderboard – technical and fundamental data from automated and human information sources
- MarketSmith – visual representation of the critical data required to make timely trading decisions
- Swing Trader – data customized to the unique needs of swing traders
TradingView is unique among online financial data providers because it does more than provide charting tools, technical analysis, and screeners. There is an active community of traders and algorithm developers who regularly produce innovative methods of evaluating potential trades. TradingView calls itself the “social network for your finance life.”
Examples of the technical analysis tools available include:
- More than 100 prebuilt studies of the most popular indicators
- More than 100,000 studies of indicators built by members of the TradingView community
- More than 50 smart drawing tools
- Indicators for volume profile
- Recognition of candlestick patterns
- Customizable timeframe analysis
Other TradingView features include alerts for pricing, indicators, strategies, and other key information, as well as Pine Script – the coding language for building customized indicators. In addition, TradingView offers comprehensive financial analysis, such as:
- Up-to-date data for more than 100 fundamental fields and ratios
- Financial statements
- Analysis of valuation
- Historical data
- Coverage of global markets
Users are enthusiastic about the tools and the community available through the platform, but there is a downside. Most find the pricing for premium tools excessive as compared to other financial data providers for retail investors.
The beauty of YCharts is that it is simple enough for everyone to use, but it is detailed enough to provide advanced information. That makes it the platform of choice for professional investment advisors who wish to visually represent their research for clients.
YCharts offers a stock screening tool that pulls from an assortment of fundamentals found in the platform’s extensive database. That information can then be transformed into a chart or graph with ease.
If your goal is to gain access to YChart’s most in-depth tools, the price tag may be a deterrent. These tools, while highly regarded, come at a hefty cost. Examples of YChart’s most popular professional tools include the following:
- An Excel add-in that permits users to analyze customized data in real-time
- Stock screener
- Fund screener
- Verification of economic data that points you towards the original source of data
- Detailed comparison information on sectors and industries
- Analysis of 4,000 financial metrics
- Tool for building customized scoring models
- Comparison tables to view select metrics for a list of companies
- Time analysis to compare quarterly data when companies use different fiscal calendars
Financial Data Providers for Retail Investors: The Bottom Line
Choosing the right platform for researching investment opportunities can be complicated. The decision comes down to which service offers the tools that best suit your needs while staying within your price range.
As you evaluate your options, pay special attention to the algorithms used for evaluating stocks. Are they automated, or can they be influenced by outside factors? Are they easily interpreted? Are they reliable? That is to say, after relying on the information, do you find it to be generally accurate? These factors will help you determine the best financial data provider for your needs.
The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.