There are literally hundreds of financial websites designed to assist investors in performing due diligence and investment research on potential stock picks. We’ve searched the most popular sites to come up with a list of unique tools that are free to the public and can help investors make more informed decisions. These resources provide investors with the tools to evaluate everything from which analysts have the most accurate earnings estimates to which companies are doing the best job of raising awareness within the investment community.
Unique Free Research Tools
Corporate Governance Ratings – Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) rates the corporate governance of thousands of public companies. These ratings help investors understand which companies have more shareholder-friendly approaches to issues such as board structure, equity compensation, and proxy access. The ISS ratings are available on Yahoo! Finance under the “Profile” page for a each stock symbol.
The Nasdaq Dozen – The Nasdaq website provides a 12-step process for analyzing the merits of a stock that takes into account factors such as technical, fundamental, and sector analysis. The Nasdaq Dozen can be accessed at [http://nasdaq.com/reference/dozen/dozen-intro.stm].
Investor Awareness Ratings – Determining which companies are most effectively generating awareness among portfolio managers, research analysts and retail investors can provide an edge in identifying a successful investment opportunity. The Investor Awareness Index at http://InvestorAwarenessINDEX.com evaluates the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the investor awareness initiatives of more than 3,000 companies and rates them on a 0-10 scale.
StockScouter – Stockscouter (http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/StockRating/srsmain.asp) is a tool provided by MSN that is a quick and easy way to measure a stock’s potential. Stockscouter compares the fundamental and technical qualities of stocks to measures that have proven statistically predictive of stock performance in the past. StockScouter then assigns a rating on a scale of 1-10 that reflects the stock’s expected risk and return.
Valuation Methodologies – Motley Fool offers a series of articles designed to help investors better understand the stock valuation process. The articles discuss a wide variety of valuation methodologies including those based on earnings, revenue, cash flow, equity, and yield. The articles can be viewed at http://fool.com/School/IntroductionToValuation.htm.
Analyst Accuracy – StarMine tracks the earnings estimates for each stock and compiles a list of the research analysts who demonstrate the most accuracy with their projections. This list can help determine which analysts you should pay the most attention to when evaluating a particular company. StarMine’s data can be found on Yahoo! Finance under the “Star Analysts” page for each stock symbol.
Short Interest – The level of short interest in a stock helps an investor understand how bearish the market is about a particular company, while also revealing which stocks might potentially benefit from a “short squeeze.” Short interest is reported every two weeks and Nasdaq provides a look at the trends in short interest going back a full year. The short interest trends can be accessed at Nasdaq’s site by entering a stock’s ticker symbol and selecting “Short Interest” from the pull-down menu.
Mutual Fund Ratings – Research tools for individual stocks are readily available, but resources to evaluate the performance of mutual funds are harder to come by. Morningstar (http://morningstar.com) rates thousands of mutual funds from one to five stars based on how well they’ve performed (after adjusting for risk and accounting for all sales charges) in comparison to similar funds.