How to Do Fundamental Stock Research
If you invest in the stock market and are interested in finding free stock research websites, there are several helpful sites available to you. In particular, investors will want to know about the free information they can obtain from Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, investment blogs, and the websites of the corporations that interest them. Most investors will discover that there is a substantial amount of useful investment information available on the internet.
Stock Research Tools on Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance is one popular source of basic, fundamental research. When you navigate to Yahoo Finance, the opening page of the website will have articles about the day's financial news, as well as a stock market summary for that day, including information on the closing prices for the Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500, bonds, oil and gold. In the upper left hand corner of the page there is a little box that says "Get Quotes." Type either the name of the company or stock symbol in that box. This will take you to several pages of information dedicated to that specific company.
On the main Yahoo Finance page for the investment you are researching, you will find a chart showing that day's performance. At the bottom of the chart you'll see where you can change the chart to a longer period of time, as much as five years or even longer. This will tell you how the value of the stock has changed during that period of time. If the value has been consistently moving in a generally upward trend, the company has done well. If it has changed dramatically up and down, the stock has been very volatile. If it has been steady, it may be one sign that it is a very conservative investment with a relatively low risk. If it has a high dividend yield, it could be a stock to consider if you are a very conservative investor, depending on what you discover by looking at additional research, as well.
Along with the stock chart on the Yahoo Finance page, you will also find the price of the stock when the market closed that day, the day's price range, the price range for the past year, how many shares were traded, the P/E ratio, earnings per share and the one year target price. The target price is the price predicted by stock analysts for the coming year.
The Yahoo Finance page also provides additional information. For example, there will be a list of headlines and links to articles that may give you more insight into the stock you are researching. On a column along the left hand side of the page, you will see a list of additional web pages on Yahoo Finance that will provide more information about the stock, such as the company profile, key statistics, competitors, and more.
Investors may also find links to financial blogs that have mentioned the company you are researching. Although there are many financial blogs that are interesting to read on the internet, it is handy to locate some of them through Yahoo Finance, because the ones listed on the webpage for the stock you are researching are likely to have recent articles about that stock. This could save potential investors a lot of time they would otherwise spend hopping from blog to blog looking for comments about a particular stock.
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Free Stock Research Tools on Google
Google.com/finance is another website that provides you with free information on stocks. The information they provide is similar to what you can find on Yahoo Finance. However, it is always a wise idea to check a second source, especially if you are making an important investment decision. Occasionally, one site will have an error, and you are more likely to catch it if you have compared information on both sites. A discrepancy between the sites may simply be an honest error, or it could indicate a possible problem.
The stock research web pages on Google.com/finance are slightly different from those on Yahoo Finance. One convenience on Google is that just below the stock's chart you will find a list of related companies and their stock prices. This will help you decide at a glance if the stock you are researching is one of the better stocks in that industry, or if there is another stock that might be performing better. Clicking on the stock names will take you to their individual Google web pages, where you can easily compare and contrast the different companies. By the time you are finished, you will have a good idea which companies have been performing the best in that particular industry.
Stock Research Analyst Reports
Another feature you will find in Yahoo Finance is their section called Analyst Coverage, which is listed on the left hand column of the web page for the stock you are researching. When you click on Analyst Coverage, you will find a list of brokerage firms that have analysts following the stock you are researching. This page will also show you whether they predict the stock is a "buy" and if any analysts expect the stock to outperform the market. In addition, you can also look at analyst estimates. If you happen to have a brokerage account with one the listed firms, you may also be able to obtain their proprietary research reports by contacting them directly.
Investigate the Stock's Corporate Websites
One of the best sources of fundamental stock information on the internet is the financial information provided directly by the corporations. Most large companies publish their annual reports on their websites, and often their quarterly financial information as well. In fact, these corporate annual reports and quarterly financial reports are often the basis for the financial information used in professional stock research analyst reports. Of course, professional analysts are able to "read between the lines" and understand the reports better than the average layman, but they are still an important tool for anyone who is considering making an investment in a company.
In addition to reading the balance sheets and profit-loss statements of a company, read any comments made in the reports, especially by officers of the company. Do they sound defensive, as though they are trying to explain weak sales or poor performance? Do they sound apologetic, as though they are trying to defend themselves against criticism? Are they trying to justify a sudden change in top management? These can be important clues that the company may be having problems.
Making the Final Investment Decision
A lot of factors will go into the decision to invest in the stock of a particular company. Talk to your broker, if you have one. Ask the brokerage company that you use for your stock purchases if they have any research that they will send you. In addition, read everything possible before making your final decision. Finally, diversify your investments between a variety of different stocks and even different industries. Naturally, no matter how much research you do, there is no guarantee that the stocks you choose will always increase in value. Sometimes, even the professional money managers have some losing stocks in their portfolios. This is why it so important that, when investing, you do as much research as possible and not risk everything on one stock. Diversify your portfolio as much as possible, and enjoy the time you spend in research.
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