Of all the areas revolutionized by Internet, the financial industry is definitely one of the most profoundly affected. Thanks to unprecedented access to investment information and markets, millions of investors now prefer to dis-intermediate themselves from professional money managers and analyze markets and make investment decisions on their own.
The amount of financial information online is overwhelming, and it takes time to separate junk from something of practical value. Which information to trust, which tools to use?
I compiled a list of websites and apps that I consider to be useful trading tools and resources – both for seasoned investors and for beginners.
The following list is not a ranking. I did mention my own favorites and resources whose effectiveness is proven by user statistics and reviews, but in the end the deciding factor is brought down to personal preference. The list is also not intended to be exhaustive, especially with new sites and apps coming on the market every day. I just wanted to give you an idea of what is available.
- Basic Tools
- Technical Analysis (Stock Charts)
- Stock Screeners
- Financial News
- Online Brokers
- Social Trading
- Mobile Apps (for iOS)
One of the major and most popular financial portals on the WEB recognized as a solid source of information on the stock market and trading activity by traders all over the world. It provides a wealth of market and individual stock information including detailed streaming quotes and historical data, company profiles, good coverage of major indicators, reliable business news and market updates. Free offering of such a wide array of ivesting data and tools makes Yahoo!Finance a number one go to resource for all things stock related. Except, probably, for charts, which are not a strength of Yahoo!Finance. Also, overwelming information combined with somewhat dated interface may be confusing for beginners.
Another popular financial website allowing investors to find real-time quotes, stock and company-specific information, financial news, research historical data, and utilize various trading and technical analisys instruments. It is pretty similar to Yahoo!Finance in the range of data and tools, however, it is behind it in popularity. Google Finance aficionados appreciate its advanced charting capabilities, screener, and speed. Others claim that Yahoo offers more comprehensive data, while some market participants use both as complementary tools.
In my opinion, it’s the main of the basic financial sites. The beauty of FINVIZ is that it offers virtually all the necessary information for successful trading in one place: tons of fundamental data, scans, trends, indices, news, instant market analysis, alerts, and backtesting. It is a visually-oriented site, where information in the form of clear charts, maps, quotes, and more. Although some features (including real-time data) are available only for Elite members, even the free version is a great platform for investors. But what really sets FINVIZ apart is that it has arguably the best free stock screener around with a vast selection of technical and fundamental criteria that is superior to many paid versions. I only wish it had a mobile version as well.
Technical Analysis (Stock Charts)
If you have not checked it out yet, I definitely recommend to give it a try. In my opinion, TradingView is the most efficient chart provider out there. It offers refreshingly clean interface, awesome set of technical analysis tools, community-driven notes and ideas for charts (although some prefer to disable them as distractive), and advanced ability to share your interactive charts and analysis across the web. But what really makes it a winner for me is extensively scalable, flexible and detailed charting – and without the annoying lagging. The free features cover most of my needs, but if you need some advanced features including real-time quotes (there is a 15 minute delay in the free version), note that TradingView is better priced than StockCharts.com
One of the most popular charting and scanning solutions on the net. Its visually appealing charts are widely used by financial bloggers and websites. StockCharts.com boasts a rich collection of chart types, over 40 technical indicators and line studies, a variety of technical analysis tools, and a lot of related free educational content. Paid subscription provides access to a handful of additional features, such as historical charting (more than three years of data) and chart layouts saving. If you want a simple, but powerful and scalable charting service, you’ll like what StockCharts.com has to offer.
Another advanced online platform for technical analysis with all the classic drawing functions, a variety of popular technical indicators, customizable chart layout and features for social trading (similar to TradingView, but on a bit lower level). It is based on Silverlight plugin by MS, and there are complains about issues in some browsers.
Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance
Among their multiple financial services, both platforms provide similar robust charting solutions with Yahoo being just a few points behind Google in terms of nice features, such as Google’s highlighting of key events on important days for the stock, or charts/indices comparison by overlapping.
I like FINVIZ.com primarily for its superb stock screener, but its charting platform is also worth noting. The charts are easy to read and include technical analysis overlays on them by default, which is a nice feature. Although FINVIZ charting cannot compete with TradingView, but its a great addition to the screener.
When it comes to stock screening, FINVIZ is my number one. It is probably the most inclusive and informative screener I have ever used. I have to admit, it is also one of the most sophisticated and may be overwhelming, but once you’ve learned the ropes with it, you can very quickly and efficiently perform a sector analysis and find your investment candidates. Loads of filtering criteria to narrow your search and the variety of data you can view without leaving the search results certainly make up for the learning curve. You can combine technical and fundamental criteria, save your screens as presets, and customize the display of results (charts, list, spreadsheet, etc.).
Zacks Stock Screener
It is another powerful and popular free screener. It provides a wealth of very versatile fundamental criteria, as well as flexibility with entering values. Some traders claim that Zacks screener can ensure even more sophisticated stock screening than FINVIZ as long as your focus is fundamental analysis and US market, because the screener does not include technical indicators and any foreign stocks.
Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance
Google offers a handy, easy to use screener with a considerable number of metrics (although a long way to go compared to FINVIZ). It is quite useful for simple stock screens and has some nice features, like real-time updates and breadth of geography. The stock screener by Yahoo is very basic with a small number of filtering criteria.
This screener specializes in technical analysis and has some unique features that make it useful as an additional screener. It offers a variety of predefined screens based on technical indicators, a custom screener, an interesting seasonality screener, and backtesting features.
Very nice backtesting capabilities for buy and hold portfolios. I love its simplicity and cleanliness, and instant dividend yield count too.
My old favorite Seeking Alpha is a financial news aggregator packaged as a blog. It covers a tremendous amount of news from all walks of life daily. I enjoy the variety of sources they use: investment newsletters, top financial blogs, articles by contributing authors (which, by the way, may vary widely in quality), and even transcripts of companies’ quarterly earning calls offering much insight into the companies’ performance and plans.
FinViz provides business and financial news from a number of well-known resources: SeekingAlpha, Yahoo Finance, MarketWatch, CNBC, WSJ, Briefing, Reuters, Barrons, etc. I like the way you can conveniently view the news related to a specific ticker. The site even has a http://stocktwits.com stream.
One of the top market data providers, Bloomberg really excels in the depth of financial news coverage. It offers international news segregated into different categories and sections (including region, asset class, industry and general financial). The Quick tab boils down the news into more targeted streams, and you can quickly switch between top news stories, recommended, non-stop news and more. You can also view the latest and historical news for a particular stock. The news coverage is supported by live TV, radio, opinion pieces on different subjects, some interesting infographics and animations, charts, calculators and performance analysis.
Another top data provider delivering leading intel on various sectors. Like its competitor Bloomberg, it has vast coverage of market, sector, and stock-specific news, and similar search capabilities. The search by stock name (with auto-complete feature) results in a unified view incorporating current and historical news with price quotes and financials for the stock.
The official site of NASDAQ. Like many other market participants, I enjoy using it for watching Pre-market and After-market activity. Besides this very helpful feature, some traders like to see short interest and current trading halts on the site. It also has news, stock specifications, charts, stock alerts, screener, etc., but I personally just find other sites with similar functionality more resourceful.
It’s been one of my favorite global market news providers for a while now. The site is packed with the most recent news, real-time commentary, articles, tips, and up-to-the minute quotes. I like its well-organized and clear layout and some compelling features, like automatically updated news stream with timestamps. Most importantly, MarketWatch is always one of the first to break news.
A recognized name in the world of business news (although not exactly my favorite) with good breadth of news stories, live TV, tons of articles on trading, economy, and finance. The news section has category wise listing (by industry types) and region wise (for Europe and Asia). CNBC frequently updates their articles for major price movers, but they don’t provide a live feed to prices, like, for example, MarketWatch.
Top news portals are also worth mentioning because each of them has a dedicated section for financial news. Among them CNN Money, USA Today, US News, etc. They can be very resourceful for investors looking for breaking news and trading tips, but care should be taken to verify the timeliness of updates.
The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times are clearly among the top publications for global coverage of business news. However, you don’t get much for free. If you want access to detailed news pieces, expert opinions, editorials, and other content useful for investors, you will need a paid subscription.
Some more news websites you might want to check out:
www.wallstreetpoint.com Apart from viewing regular news feed, you can track the activity of various hedge fonds here.
www.bidnessetc.com A convenient news resource with clear categorization by sectors.
www.streetinsider.com The calendars section is nice. You can also view upgrades/downgrades, stock splits, conference calls, FDA calendar, etc.
The decision about your brokerage provider is an important one. That is why you can find so many broker rankings, exhaustive reviews, and detailed comparisons on the net. Check them out to ensure that the broker fits your trading style and needs. I offer you an overview of popular choices.
Low commissions, discounts for frequent and high-volume traders, full range of investment products, international trading – that’s what make IB my choice for online trading. They also offer advanced (to the point of being overwhelming, actually) trading platform and a mobile trading app. However, high account minimum and inactivity fees make it unfriendly for beginners. Bottom line: IB is a broker with very compelling rates targeting seasoned well-funded traders.
No minimum deposit or inactivity fee, full range of investment products, good selection of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds, but the trade commissions are on the pricey side, as well as a broker assistance. Despite the cost, it is a broker of choice for a great number of investors because of its strong customer support, extensive research, two robust trading platforms (Thinkorswim and Trade Architect), and Mobile Trader app available to all customers. What you pay is what you get – is the case with Ameritrade.
No minimum deposit or inactivity fee, very competitive commission rates, but no Forex and futures trading. Discounted rates matched with impressive amount of professional level tools make OptionsHouse an exceptional value. It often appears among the top-picks in all sorts of polls and best-of lists.
No minimum deposit or inactivity fee, no commissions whatsoever – this is why some call this new technology-driven brokerage company a prospective game-changer in the world of investments, while others doubt if their business model will thrive. Robinhood’s offering is stripped down to a sleek no-frills mobile app (no web or desktop versions and physical locations) with real-time quotes, instant access to funds, fast trades, and stunning user experience. Yes, there are plenty of limitations, like stock/ETF trading only or no IRA accounts, and you’d have to do research elsewhere, but commission-free trading can be a deal sealer, especially if you are a young tech-savvy investor looking for a place to start. I love Robinhood’s simplicity and style and will definitely watch the service.
Mid-range commissions, account minimum higher than average, no inactivity fee, wide selection of investment products – this may not sound too impressive, but this broker’s focal points are breadth and depth of research and top-notch trader support, including education and customer service. Their provide solid investment tools and a mobile app, but some offerings are only available to active and high-volume traders.
No account minimum, no inactivity fee, reasonable commissions, and commission-free trades with their reward program, but no Forex and futures trading, no commission-free ETFs, basic mobile app, and lack of tools for active traders (in general, Merrill Edge seems to be better fit for casual traders). Their highlights are good pricing, excellent customer service and education, robust research, and smooth integration with accounts of Bank of America (their parent company).
It is a costly broker with high account minimum and monthly fee, but flexible fee structure make the overall cost attractive to active bulk traders. For the price you get a professional-grade desktop trading platform with fast order execution, advanced tools, and historical data allowing serious analysis and sophisticated strategies. The web and mobile versions, however, have limited tool set. To sum up, this is a broker for committed traders, not low-volume investors.
Reasonable account minimum, high commission rates, tired pricing beneficial to active traders, full range of investment products, wide selection of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds. Prices aside, this broker excels in providing great WEB and mobile experience to investors of any levels. They offer comprehensive easy-to-use app and trading platforms packed with useful tools (although paper trading is missing for some reason) and good educational resources.
Among other online brokers always ranking high in lists and reviews are the following:
https://www.schwab.com/ Charles Schwab
Twitter can be an invaluable source of breaking news and investment ideas. If only you manage to cut through the clutter and find valuable content. Many popular financial bloggers and influential traders admit that here you can sometimes learn an actionable gossip or news piece before it is officially released and catch moves before the masses. And yes, they often have twitter accounts too, where they share ideas, strategies and insights in real time. The twitter accounts you can benefit from are so versatile that I cannot compile a list of suggestions, but here are some examples to start building your twitter feed.
Traders: @kathylienfx (news and how to trade them), @Carl_C_Icahn (infrequent poster, but very influential investor), @The_Real_Fly (market observations, ideas, articles plus some sarcasm), @TradeHawk (quick with news alerts), @RyanDetrick (charts, stats, analysis)
The largest traders community on the net. Basically it’s Twitter for traders helping you to block most of the Twitter noise and focus on tweets pertaining to financial markets and specific stocks. In addition to the well-organized message streams, you get a bunch of additional features, like stock prices, sentiment indicator, or heat map. Of course, they have their own tweeter feed @StockTwits.
It is a mobile-first stock analysis network that crowdsources stock picks, predictions, and rationales, and uses them to compile stock ratings. Their community includes thousands of investors, research firms, subject-matter experts, and students, each of them having a track record and a rank. I love ClosingBell’s simple approach, clear interface, and the very idea of unbiased crowd sentiment.
Reading investments blogs can be very motivating, insightful, and useful for staying on top of the market trend, refining your own strategy, and building a diversified portfolio. It also can be boring, or otherwise a waste of time, unless you find a blogger who matches your investment style and educational needs. Here is a short list with just a few popular picks from the plethora of financial blogs:
Zero Hedge A world famous anonymously maintained financial blog, or rather a news commentator, known for its biting criticism and somewhat hyperbolic and apocalyptic worldview. That said, it is undoubtedly a leading source of gossip and news with huge audience, credibility, and even market influence.
Abnormal Returns One of the oldest financial blogs with a lot of educational content.
The Reformed Broker A popular fun blog from a recognized professional investor providing a variety of topics and broad market view (rather than practical advice).
Don’t Quit Your Day Job Micro-economic insights, market trends, market-driving factors.
Financial Mentor A blog on investing from a financial coach.
Chat With Traders A podcast interviewing winning traders.
I see Reddit as a hive mind of rowdy millennials, which makes it interesting for observing market trends and crowd sentiments. Additionally, sometimes you can come across some interesting discussions and insights. There is a number of investing-related subreddits that have formed large autonomous dedicated communities around them. For example, boisterous and risky WallStreetBets; popular Investing (over 187,000 members) with its financial advise, idea sharing, and educational resources; ticker focused Stocks; or StockMarket for short and mid-term trading.
Among all the numerous financial forums and chatrooms, I’ve picked a few of the largest, and hence possible the best, ones. That said, the more active the forum, the more effort it takes to find truly useful content.
http://www.trade2win.com/boards/stocks/ Very popular and active community for traders. Among other topics, you can find UK-focused trading discussions here.
http://www.elitetrader.com/et/index.php Another leading trading forum with high activity and wide range of topics (which inevitably leads to decreasing the info quality).
http://www.wilmott.com/categories.cfm?catid=38 It’s the center of the quant community. For many people its discussions are too “nerdy”, but some investors find its Trading Forum interesting for getting a new perspective and a good intro to quant finance maths.
http://onlinetradersforum.com/ Well, the name speaks for itself.
Mobile Apps (for iOS)
First of all, many of the websites listed above have mobile apps as well, for example, MarketWatch, Morningstar, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, and, naturally, StockTwits and ClosingBell. Here is a list of other apps that I find useful, promising, or just fun.
One of the most popular and comprehensive investing apps. It offers real-time quotes, portfolio management, charts, alerts, earnings calendar, and many other features.
A nice all-in-one app, loaded with information and fast (it is important because speed is a weakness of many apps that would otherwise be great). Its shortcoming in my opinion is a limited use of the advantages of mobile technologies (like gestures or more user-friendly chart reading), although it bills itself as a professional mobile platform for trading.
Another multi-functional app for any investors who want to track the market and their own portfolios. It has tons of useful features and data and would have been a real gem if it wasn’t for some slowness and lagging. StockIdeal Pro is a paid upgrade of Stockmaster.
An app for multiple portfolio management with colorful charts, graphs, analytics, alerts, stock-relevant news, etc.
It is a spanking new investment app, actually its first version will be out in April 2016. As its founder, I am very excited about this project – yes, I think it’s only fair to include it in this list because what’s the point in making a product you are not happy with? Using our experience in online trading and app development, we are striving to create an optimal solution for individual investors and swing traders.
BullBoard is designed from ground up to be fast, intuitive, modern, and to make your investing process quick and seamless. It currently features a tinder-like screener with triple-screen view, multiple portfolios with integrated watchlists and sentiment, scalable charts, alerts, diary, and performance analysis capabilities. Check it out! I know that the first version has its limitations, but there is so much potential and so many great ideas to be implemented. More to come for sure.
Passport by DriveWealth
A slick, intuitive, and fun investment app with the ability to trade fractional shares (with a relatively low transaction fee), keep track of your portfolio, and practice in a sandbox. The app is new and has a lot to add, but I believe it has tons of potential.
A smart app for discovering investing ideas. It might be appealing mostly to the novice and intermediate traders, but I like its elegant and intuitive design, various dynamic stock lists, and social features (sharing and sentiment).
A stock market simulator for beginners to get their feet wet. The app is no way an investing tool, but you can compete with friends and learn how markets work in a playful way.
Trader, investor, VC and founder of BullBoard