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Investing is one of the smartest things you can do.
Most people work for their money, meaning they trade their time for a salary. Since time is a finite asset, even the most hard-working individuals have a cap on their earning potentials. Unfortunately, a salary alone is unlikely to help you reach your financial goals. Your cash loses about 3% of its value to inflation every year. If you want to stay smart about finances, you need to invest.
Investing can be confusing for a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be. Simply put, investing is turning money into more money. It’s a way of having your money work for you – and that’s the exciting part!
You don’t need to be the next Warren Buffett to start investing. You just need to educate yourself, get access to the proper resources, and create a plan. Let this article serve as a starting point.
Simple Ways to Invest
You don’t need to spend hours researching the stock market to start putting your capital to work. The rise of technology has fueled the release of many automated, easy-to-use investment tools and apps. You can start using most of these tools in under an hour.
Before we begin, it’s important to have realistic expectations. If you expect to double your money in a year, you’ll need more than a simple app. These apps and services are designed for beginners to dip their feet in investing.
Let’s have a look.
Let’s start with the most obvious investment app – Robinhood. Robinhood is a mobile app that was launched in 2013 and has since attracted hundreds of thousands of investors. While the app is simple and easy-to-use, the biggest appeal is the commission-free trading.
Most online stock brokers charge a small fee to buy and sell stocks. These fees generally range from $3-$8 per trade. Robinhood quickly rose to fame by waiving these fees and allowing their customers to trade for free.
Robinhood’s “commission-free” trading model is particularly attractive to beginner investors who have smaller portfolios. Whereas, a $5 commission may be inconsequential to an investor with a larger portfolio, it can certainly eat into the investment profits of a trader with less than $1,000 to invest.
Robinhood can be a great brokerage for investors starting out with a few grand or less.
Of course, the company won’t tell you which stocks to buy and sell so you’ll still need to do your research. This leads to our next recommendation.
Motley Fool offers a variety of services ranging from news to investment recommendations. Motley Fool has been a reputable company in the investing industry for over 25 years. Their flagship service, the Stock Advisor Program, provides investors with well-researched stock picks every month.
Members of the service are told which stocks to buy, when to buy them, when to cut losses, and when to take profits. In this sense, Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor Program can be a great complement to Robinhood. Motley Fool provides the stock picks and Robinhood allows you to trade them for free. These two services can be used together to create an effective, low-involvement investment strategy.
Note that Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor program is a paid service, but the subscription is fairly priced (less than $10/month on the annual plan).
Wealthfront offers a handful of financial services, but for our purposes we’ll be looking at one of their most compelling offerings.
Wealthfront recently launched their premium savings account service. A premium savings account is simply a savings account with much higher interest. Chances are, your bank pays you close to zero interest on the money that is sitting in your account. Wealthfront is currently offering one of the most competitive interest rates we’ve seen.
At the time of writing, Wealthfront is offering 2.51% interest on money in your savings account. That’s roughly 25x the national average for savings accounts. This means that every $1,000 you invest will generate about $25 in interest every year. While this is far from an exceptional return, it’s worry-free. You can’t lose money in this type of account. Whereas stock investment carries risk (i.e. losing money on dropping stock prices), premium savings accounts do not decrease in value.
Here’s why we like this particular premium savings account:
FDIC Insured up to $1 million
2.51% Interest Rate
Unlimited, free transfers
No additional fees
Stash is one of the newer companies to arrive in the recent wave of robo-advisory services. A robo-advisory service can be thought of as an automated financial advisor. Generally, financial advisors charge a fee to manage your money, and they do not accept smaller accounts. Robo-advisors democratize the world of financial advisory by offering financial tools to everyone.
Here’s how it works:
You create an account, enter some information about your investment goals, and transfer your funds. The app or service will automatically distribute your funds across investments that make sense for your personal financial goals.
There are plenty of companies that do this but Stash has some unique features:
Buy Fractional Shares – Normally, you have to buy a minimum of 1 share in a publicly traded company. If you had $100 to invest and wanted to buy AAPL’s stock (currently ~$180/share), you’d be out of luck. Stash fixes this problem by selling fractional shares. You can choose how much you want to spend and which stocks you’d like to spend it on. You could buy $5 worth of AAPL or $500 worth.
Round Ups – Many new investors struggle with setting money aside. It’s usually more of a psychological resistance than it is a financial restriction. Stash helps make the process painless with their “round up” feature. This tool will automatically round your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the difference for you. If you spend $4.5 on a cup of coffee, $5 is billed to your card and $0.50 is sent to your Stash account.
Take the Next Step
Ready to get started? Test out one of these services today or browse any of the other services we’ve reviewed on the site. No investing strategy is too small. Taking action is the first step!
TipRanks is a useful research platform that highlights stocks that have been rated or recommended by well-known analysts. While TipRanks itself does not provide any new information that could not be gleaned for free elsewhere, by collating and aggregating information about analyst ratings it makes it simple to see how smart investors feel about individual stocks or sectors. In addition, TipRanks collects insider trading information to further identify stocks that are ripe for medium- and long-term trading.
TipRanks offers a basic membership for free, although access to the site is highly limited with this plan. Free users cannot see the individual stocks recommended by analysts, nor do they get access to portfolio management tools. However, free users can use the stock screener, view that day’s new analyst ratings, and view analyst ratings and price targets for any individual stock.
Paid “Premium” plans cost $29.95 per month (charged annually) and provide access to the majority of TipRanks’ content. The only notable content that is not offered to Premium members is the ability to follow stocks that have significant insider trading activity.
“Ultimate” plans cost $49.95 per month and allow traders to watch stocks that have insider trading activity. This plan also allows traders to create and manage multiple portfolios within TipRanks.
For paid plans, TipRanks offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TipRanks FeaturesTop 25 Analysts
The first feature that TipRanks includes is a collation of the 25 best-performing analysts across Wall Street and in each market sector. For each analyst, you can view the current ratings that the analyst has issued and compare the analyst’s performance over the past one or more years to the S&P 500 or to the sector they focus on.
You also have the option to follow individual analysts. While it is possible to see analysts you follow in your TipRanks profile, the primary advantage of following an analyst is to receive alerts and emails when that analyst issues new stock ratings. However, these notifications can also be turned off.
Consensus recommendations on stocks from analysts are displayed across the site in several different ways. First, TipRanks collates a table of stocks that have “Strong Buy” or “Strong Sell” ratings from multiple analysts. These recommendations can be filtered by market cap and by sector.
On top of that, TipRanks offers a list of all ratings issued by analysts each day. This list can be quite long since it includes all notable analysts – not just the top 25 in each sector. However, the list can be filtered by a number of parameters, including a star rating for analysts that filters out analysts that tend to underperform their sectors.
Taking this consensus recommendation system one step further, TipRanks also allows you to easily see which stocks have received recent coverage by multiple analysts. This is one of the best places on the site to quickly find stocks that have been highly recommended by multiple analysts.
TipRanks looks at trading by corporate executives in much the same way that it examines analyst ratings. The platform gives a positivity rating to each insider’s recent trading activity, which serves a similar purpose as an analyst’s “Strong Buy,” “Neutral,” or other rating. Interestingly, TipRanks also quickly summarizes what type of trading occurred – whether it was by the company’s owner, a C-level officer, or another important insider. It’s also extremely easy to see whether multiple insiders bought or sold stock.
Note that insider transactions can also be viewed on a daily basis, in much the same way as each day’s new analyst ratings.
The pages for individual stocks are extremely useful for traders who want to dig deeper into a particular stock or recommendation. A simple chart displays the recent price history of the stock as well as the high, average, and low 12-month price targets issued by analysts. A detailed table below the chart shows all of the analysts who have issued ratings on the stock and their price targets.
Interestingly, TipRanks goes beyond just analysts and insiders when it comes to individual stocks. The platform offers every stock an “investor sentiment” rating, which is based on the number of investors on TipRanks who have added or removed that stock to or from their portfolios over the prior 30 days. The platform also collates online news sources to offer a “blogger opinions” rating. While some traders may find these ratings helpful, they should be interpreted with a grain of salt.
While there is some basic charting and fundamental data given for each stock, this information is relatively scarce across TipRanks and will likely need to come from another source for in-depth research.
The stock screener offered by TipRanks is notable in that it focuses far less on fundamentals or technical indicators than most standard stock screeners. Instead, it essentially serves as a search function for TipRanks itself, allowing you to filter stocks by analyst ratings, investor sentiment, insider trading activity, and sector.
This feature is always appreciated on platforms that compile a lot of data. We’ve seen similar features on Zacks Premium and IBD’s Marketsmith. Having the ability to filter the unique data points can be great for investors who want a flexible tool that can be molded to their personal investment strategies.
TipRanks’ screener is easy to use and has a nice visual interface that makes it easy to comb through results.
Depending on the tier of your subscription plan, you can establish one or more portfolios within TipRanks. Portfolios can be imported from most major brokerages or added manually, and portfolios can be used like watchlists since you do not need to add purchase prices.
The usefulness of these portfolios is somewhat limited, as the main information displayed is a pie chart of analyst recommendations on each stock in your portfolio. One interesting analysis tool for portfolios is that returns can be compared against the S&P500 and the average TipRanks user portfolio. However, while a basic news stream and an earnings calendar can be useful for some traders, there are otherwise few surprising or particularly helpful tools within TipRanks portfolios.
Platform Ease of Use
TipRanks is an easy-to-use browser-based platform. The site is mostly well-organized, although there are a few repetitive menu items that can make navigating the site somewhat confusing at first. In addition, many sections of the site resemble advertisements for other parts of the site – which can be annoying when trying to find information.
That said, TipRanks uses a highly graphical approach that makes it easy to digest information. Pie and bar charts are abundant across the site, and tables are shaded and illustrated to make it easier to find information. While most pages cannot be customized, you have the option to choose settings for your portfolio, alerts, and emails.
TipRanks Platform Differentiators
TipRanks focuses heavily on analyst recommendations and insider trading, essentially promoting a strategy of following the smart money. While all of the information available on TipRanks could be obtained elsewhere, TipRanks vastly simplifies the work of digesting analyst ratings by aggregating the data and displaying it in a highly graphic manner. The investor sentiment and blogger ratings tools are somewhat unique to this platform, although traders should interpret them cautiously. Where TipRanks falls short is in not providing much in the way of fundamental or technical information to give traders a more holistic view of why a stock has received positive or negative ratings or to help identify entry and exit points.
What Type of Trader is TipRanks Best For?
TipRanks is best for traders whose strategy is to follow smart Wall Street money – that is, institutional investors and executive insiders. The platform makes it extremely easy to keep an eye on what analysts and corporate insiders are doing, even going so far as to send alerts when followed analysts issue new ratings. While TipRanks could work for short-term traders, it is better suited to medium- and long-term active investors since there is little in the way of technical data to inform entry and exit points and all price targets are 12-month targets.
See ratings from top analysts in each market sector
Quickly identify stocks with multiple recent buy or sell ratings
Alerts when analysts issue new ratings or insiders trade on a portfolio stock
Stock viewer makes it easy to identify price targets
Highly graphical and easy to interpret display
Very little emphasis on fundamental or technical indicators
Includes data from analysts with historical performances worse than the market
At Day Trade Review, our goal is to connect traders with the best tools and resources to accomplish their goals. We’ve reviewed over 100 financial services since we launched the site and we continue to release in-depth analyses of new platforms, brokers, and resources. While many of our reviews fall under the same general categories, we occasionally run across services that are truly unique.
Of course, companies don’t need revolutionary services to stand out. Most investors don’t go out of their way to find “unique” services; they favor services that make their lives easier and help them make more money. A broker doesn’t need to revolutionize the industry to make waves. Improved platforms, services, or short lists are more than enough to compete on. A trading platform doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel either. Improved scanners, charts, and performance can go a long way. That said, it’s always interesting to see the innovations at the forefront of fintech.
These types of innovations fall under the category of tools you didn’t even know you needed because they didn’t exist yet. Traders shouldn’t add new tools to their arsenals for the sake of it, but it can be helpful to understand the available technology.
Here are a few innovative services we’ve reviewed recently. Keep in mind that we are spotlighting these services and not recommending them for all traders. You’ll know if one of these tools is right for you.
Acorns has quickly become one of the most popular investment apps. It’s easy to use and facilitates a simple, painless entrance into the world of investing.
Acorns is a mobile app that acts like a coin jar for the modern world. Whenever you make a purchase, the Acorns app rounds up the cost and invests the difference. For example, if you buy a $4.50 coffee, Acorns would round the price up to $5.00 and invest the $0.50 difference into your account. You can allocate your investments to a range of different offerings.
Acorns makes it easy for anyone to start investing with minimal capital. Even day traders may benefit from a service like this. As traders, we get caught up in short-term trades and often neglect long-term investment strategies. Acorns allows you to take the first step towards a long-term investment strategy with minimal hassle and commitment.
TrendSpider is a relatively new online trading platform that offers automated technical analysis. Alongside more conventional features, the platform offers automated trendline recognition, automated Fibonaccis, and a unique approach to automated trading alerts.
The company is quickly growing their already impressive feature list.
Bookmap is a unique charting platform that offers a range of proprietary technical analysis tools. The platform is focused on helping traders identify key price points of interest. Bookmap has developed a few custom indicators that help traders incorporate price and liquidity analysis into their trading.
The heatmap tool provides a visualization of liquidity at different price points.
The volume bubbles give traders better insights into abnormal buying and selling activity by creating visualizations for liquidity-removing orders. This can help traders identify areas of massive selling into the bid or buying into the ask.
Finbox is a tool designed to help automate fundamental analysis. The platform incorporates a few proprietary tools and algorithms to help traders determine the true value of a company. The company also provides a scanning tool to help traders and investors uncover undervalued stocks.
Barchart is a freemium service that offers a handful of features. One of the most unique features is the “Barchart Opinion” tool which provides an automated buy/sell signal based on a variety of technical indicators. The Barchart Opinion tool analyzes both short-term and long-term indicators to determine how bullish or bearish a certain stock is.
Trade Ideas is one of the fastest growing companies in the fintech space and the company continues to release innovative new features. One of the most impressive features is Brokerage Plus which was released in early 2019. Brokerage Plus allows traders to connect to their brokers and create automated trading strategies. Traders can create scans and trading criteria and the platform will automatically place the trades.
For example, a trader could scan for stocks breaking above their 52-week highs, put in a limit order at $0.10 above the ask, set a profit target of 5%, and a stop loss of 1% – automatically. This is the closest retail traders have come to creating their own algorithms. Previously, traders needed access to expensive technologies and sophisticated developers if they wanted to create auto-trading strategies. Trade Ideas’ Brokerage Plus feature has made this technology accessible to everyone.
We rarely stop to think about it, but one of the primary responsibilities of a trader is to filter out noise. We have to filter out irrelevant stocks, commentary, news, and other distractions. Thousands of stocks are traded daily but only a few are viable trading candidates. Our job is to identify these trading opportunities at the right times. Get this process right and you have yourself a trade setup. Get it wrong and you end up wasting your time staring at stagnant stocks.
So, how can traders filter out the noise and identify the hottest trading opportunities?
We can use stock market scanners.
What is a Stock Market Scanner?
A stock market scanner (sometimes referred to as a screener) is used to filter stocks based on a variety of criteria. This criteria may consist of both fundamental and technical data points that can be used to help you identify the stocks that are most relevant to your trading strategy. For example, if you only trade stocks under $10, you can add that criteria to your scanner and filter out all stocks that are trading above $10. The more criteria you add, the more noise you filter.
In the technological age of trading, scanners are no longer optional. I’d argue that they’re one of the most essential trading tools for active traders. While investors may rely on fundamental research, traders are generally guided by data. Since there are thousands of stocks traded every day, it would be impossible to sort through all of this data manually. A scanner helps you identify the most promising trading opportunities every single day.
While the objective of all scanners is universal (find hot stocks), there are a few distinctions you should be aware of. Not all scanners are created equal. You’ll want to select a scanner that is ideal for your personal trading strategy.
Let’s explore some of the key differentiators.
Real-time Scanners vs. Screeners
There are two types of scans. While there are no official classifications for these scanners, they’re best defined by how they return results. A real-time scanner is constantly running, whereas a screener is a one-off scan. The terms “scanner” and “screener” are often used interchangeably, but for our purposes we’ll refer to scanners as real-time streaming tools and screeners as one-off scans.
Real-time scanners are ideal for day traders who need to be aware of intraday momentum. These scans use real-time data and deliver a constant stream of results. For example, if you created a scan for stocks trading above their 50-day moving averages, a real-time scanner would return results whenever this criteria was met. If a stock was trading below it’s moving average at market open and crossed above the average intraday, the trader would receive an alert. Real-time scanners are essential for day traders because the real-time component ensures traders don’t miss out on intraday moves.
Trade Ideas Real-Time Scan
Screeners are ideal for longer term traders who have no interest in intraday price fluctuations. Screeners are great for creating watch lists and doing stock research. These scanners use similar criteria as real-time scanners but they generally don’t run in real-time. For example, you may use a simple screener to find high volume stocks to add to your watch list for the next day.
Types of Scanners
There are two key types of scanners: news scanners and data scanners.
News scanners are real-time scanners that stream news alerts throughout the day. If a company releases a press release, article, or filing, the news scanner will provide an alert to the trader. These scanners are ideal for traders who incorporate news into their strategies. The real-time component of these scanners can help traders identify momentum before the stock starts hitting the data scanners. For example, if a company announces an exciting new partnerships, it will hit the news wires first. If traders find the news to be relevant, the stock may experience above average volume, at which point, the stock may hit the data scanners.
Certain news scanners, like Benzinga Pro, will also add an audio stream for traders who want news updates throughout the day.
Benzinga Pro Newsfeed
Some news scanners, like EquityFeed, will also allow traders to add data variables to the scan. In this case, traders can scan for news using technical criteria (i.e. stock price, volume, etc.)
Data scanners are probably the most popular type of scanner. When you hear the word “scanner” it generally refers to a data scanner. Data scanners scan the market using technical and fundamental criteria.
Common technical criteria include:
Common fundamental criteria include:
You can create data scans using almost any data point you can think of. Regardless of which scanning tool you use, a lot of the power of a scanner comes from the setup. A scanner isn’t a magical tool that delivers profitable trading opportunities. The scanner is only as good as the scan itself, and getting your scans right will take time.
How to Choose a Stock Scanner
There are a lot of different stock market scanners available. The best way to choose a stock scanner is to focus on your needs. As mentioned above, a scanner is simply a tool to help you find stocks to trade. You are still responsible for setting up your scans and aligning them with your personal trading strategy. That said, here are some things to consider.
Some scanners will offer built-in scans using predefined criteria. These scans can be helpful for new traders who are not comfortable creating their own scans. They can also be convenient for experienced traders who want to save time.
These scans may include:
Stocks hitting new highs
Stocks hitting new lows
Stocks breaking out on volume
Stocks crossing moving averages
Custom scans are scans created with user-defined criteria. These are the scans you can use to tailor your scan results to your specific needs. Custom scans provide more flexibility for traders. Whereas built-in scans provided limited options, custom scans offer infinite possibilities.
Here are some unique scan ideas that you can create using custom criteria:
Stocks under $10 with a P/E under 20 trading 2% below their 200-day moving average
Stocks with daily volume that is more than double the 7-day average trading volume
Profitable companies trading close to their 52-week lows
Scanning criteria serve as the filters used to create effective scans. Traders can input their criteria and the scanning tool will output matching results. Effective filters are at the heart of every scan.
While most scanning software will provide access to the essential criteria/filters, some scanners will provide even more unique criteria. For example, most quality scanners will include criteria for price and volume. Some advanced scanners will have more unique metrics like EPS, Revenue, and advanced technical indicators.
While most conventional scanners rely on common market data like price and volume, some companies have developed proprietary scanning criteria. These criteria are exclusive to the companies who create the metrics. For example, IBD’s Marketsmith tool can scan for stocks using CANSLIM ratings and Zacks Premium can scan for stocks using Zacks Rank.
Scanners have improved a lot over the years. As more and more features are added, many scanners can actually serve as standalone trading platforms. These platforms may include charts, news, and even level 2. Some platforms will take things a step further by offering broker integration. At this point, the scanner can replace your entire trading platform. This is particularly beneficial for traders who don’t already have access to a quality trading platform.
Scanners can exist as web applications or desktop software. There are benefits to both. Web applications are convenient and require less computer resources. Desktop platforms are usually more advanced, but they can also hog your computer’s resources. You also want to make sure your desktop platforms are compatible with your operating system. While most scanners work on Windows PC’s, only a select few work on Mac computers.
Dealing with market data can get complicated, so it’s important that your scanner has a user-friendly interface. If the platform is too difficult to use, it won’t be beneficial to your trading.
Like any software, a scanner needs to be reliable. Software bugs can cause the scanner to crash, which could be detrimental to your trading. Many early-stage scanners still have a lot of bugs, so you’re better off choosing a scanner from an established company.
Our Top Picks for Scanners
We’ve tested over a dozen of the top scanners on the market using the criteria above for our assessments. Here are our top recommendations:
Data ScannersTrade Ideas
Trade Ideas is one of the newer scanners on the market, but the platform has quickly become one of the most popular scanners on the market. Trade Ideas offers some of the most innovative tools in the scanning industry. Trade Ideas offers built-in scans and customizable scans, both of which are ideal for intraday traders.
They recently announced the launch of broker integration which allows traders to build scans and auto-trade via broker integration.
EquityFeed is one of the best established scanning tools on the market. The company has been around for over 10 years and continues to release innovative new features. EquityFeed has by far the best customizable data scanner. You can choose from over 100 different filters to create unique, real-time scans. As an added bonus, EquityFeed also offers one of the best news scanners in the game.
Benzinga Pro is our top news scanner by a longshot. The web-based platform is well-designed, easy-to-use, and effective. Benzinga Pro also offers an audio squawk for live market commentary. While the primary feature of the platform is news streaming, Benzinga Pro also offers a range of other beneficial features, such as data screeners, company data, and earnings calendars.
While Benzinga Pro is by far our favorite news scanner, Tradethenews and Briefing.com are both runner ups. They are both reputable companies that provide great streaming news services.
A paid service is recommended for active traders, but you can get started with a free scanner.
FinViz is by far the best free scanner we’ve tested. You can create custom scans using a variety of technical and fundamental criteria. Scan results can be displayed in text lists or technical charts. FinViz also offers access to a lot of relevant market data, such as a stock’s revenue, float, P/E ratio, and much more.
Morningstar is an investment news and adviser tool that relies on recommendations from a large team of in-house analysts. While Morningstar does offer tools for investing in stocks, it is most popular among long-term investors looking to move money into mutual funds. The focus on mutual funds, as well as ETFs and bonds to a lesser degree, differentiates Morningstar from similar investment advice services such as Zacks, although there is still a large degree of overlap between the two.
Morningstar offers both free and Premium services, with Premium accounts offering access to the platform’s detailed stock, mutual fund, ETF, and bond ratings and advanced screeners. While Morningstar can be used for free with some success, a Premium account unlocks much more of the information put together by the service’s analysts and is more suitable for traders who are looking to actively invest.
Morningstar Premium starts with a 14-day free trial, after which the service costs $29.95 per month or $199 per year. While this is somewhat cheaper than a Zacks Premium membership, the two services are comparable in price.
Morningstar FeaturesRating Lists
The main attractions of a Morningstar Premium membership are the rating lists, which are updated daily by the analysts at Morningstar. These lists offer picks of the best stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds based on analysts’ predictions.
For stock traders, the “5-Star Stocks” and “Wide Moat + Undervalued” lists will be the most valuable. These lists focus on stocks that Morningstar analysts feel are undervalued relative to their fair price. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to do most of your own research on any stocks you find in the list. Unlike Zacks and other stock picking services, these stocks are not categorized according to their growth potential, industry, or technical factors. In addition, because the listed stocks are based only on a somewhat murky star rating, you won’t see these lists of highly rated stocks change on a day-to-day basis as you would on Zacks.
Where Morningstar is unique compared to other services is in offering similar rating lists for ETFs and mutual funds. These lists are again based on funds that have been highly rated by Morningstar analysts, although there is relatively little formulaic explanation behind the ratings. In addition, as you might expect for funds, these lists only turn over every several months.
Finally, Morningstar offers rating lists for four different categories of bonds: high-yield bonds, foreign bond funds, bond index funds, and core bond funds. While these rating lists may be a helpful place to start for some bond traders, they don’t offer the level of detail that more advanced traders will need to make decisions about investing.
Morningstar offers a widely used free screener for mutual funds, but Premium subscribers get access to a more advanced fund screening tool. With this tool, you have much more flexibility to build a custom screen one parameter at a time – you can choose from virtually any measurable factor about a mutual fund and add conditionals to determine what makes it through your screen.
Even better, the displayed results in the Premium fund screener are customizable. You can add nearly 100 different columns to the results table, making it significantly easier to sort data based on the criteria that matters to you. However, note that you cannot easily export the results to Excel for further investigation.
Another useful feature for discovering new mutual funds is the similar fund screener. With this tool, you can enter a mutual fund and Morningstar will return a list of funds that are similar in performance, portfolio allocation, and load. This is a useful tool for mutual fund investors looking to diversify, although it may not see enough use to warrant a Premium subscription on its own.
The cost analyzer is another useful tool for comparing mutual funds, although it’s not clear why this tool is limited to Premium members since similar free analyzers are available online. The cost analyzer allows you to enter multiple mutual funds and returns information about how much they will cost based on a given starting investment and recurring investments.
Morningstar posts numerous new articles written by its analysts every day. Although most of these articles are free for anyone to access without a Morningstar subscription, there are occasional articles that are limited to subscribers. Typically, these articles revolve around stock picks – such as lists of the five best buys in a certain industry – as opposed to articles discussing the merits of a specific stock.
Morningstar Platform Differentiators
Morningstar Premium offers a suite of tools to help investors make informed decisions about investing in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and bonds. While the platform does offer useful tools for stocks, ETFs, and bonds, it falls short of competitors – most notably Zacks – when it comes to providing actionable information and advanced categorization options.
As a result, Morningstar Premium stands out most for its mutual fund tools and analysis. Having analyst opinions on mutual funds can be extraordinarily helpful for investors given the plethora of funds available, and the rating lists are just useful enough to warrant a Premium membership for frequent fund investors. In addition, the Premium fund screener is arguably the most advanced mutual fund screening tool available on any platform.
What Type of Trader is Morningstar Premium Best For?
Morningstar Premium is best for investors who frequently invest in mutual funds and want to diversify their portfolios. Morningstar Premium not only offers analyst-backed ratings of top funds to help you discover potential new investments, but also has a highly powerful fund screener to help you find funds that fit your exact specifications. The similar funds tool can also be useful for investors who want to diversify their mutual fund holdings rather than continuously invest in a single fund.
Zacks is a stock and financial research platform used widely by traders. While many traders are familiar with Zacks’ extensive free offerings – which include stock news and research articles written by analysts as well as stock and mutual fund screeners – Zacks also offers a Premium subscription service for traders who want to go deeper into analyst predictions.
The Premium service holds its own for traders looking for new ideas with top stock picks from analysts, analysis of potential earnings surprises, and more detailed stock filters and lists. The #1 Rank List of recommended stocks boasts a strong historical return, while pre-defined stock filters that separate value, growth, and momentum stocks provide actionable information for a variety of traders.
We reviewed ZacksTrade awhile back and now we decided to take a closer look at Zacks’ premium research services.
Zacks Premium starts with a 30-day free trial, after which it costs $249 per year.
The most useful features of Zacks Premium for the vast majority of traders will be the Zacks Rank Lists. These are essentially lists of stocks that Zacks analysts have identified as being targets for trades. This is similar to the IBD 100 list offered in IBD’s Leaderboard and Marketsmith services. It’s a great tool for self-directed investors who want a starting point for their own research (vs. buy/sell alerts) and the lists are far more comprehensive than ones we’ve seen in other platforms like Action Alerts Plus.
The #1 Rank List is the most frequently used list – it covers stocks that Zacks analysts consider “strong buys.” Overall, the performance of stocks on this list has been historically solid – Zacks data indicates that the #1 Rank picks have yielded an average 25% return each year, although there are specific years where the picks have significantly underperformed the market.
The #1 Rank List is updated with upwards of 20 new stocks each day. That volume of stock recommendations is both good and bad, though, since it means that traders need to do quite a bit of research into multiple stocks each day to choose when and in which stocks to invest. In addition, there is an additional list displaying which stocks were added or removed from the #1 Rank List on any given day.
Helpfully, though, the Zacks #1 Rank List can be sorted by analysts’ categorization of stocks as “value,” “growth,” “momentum,” and “income”. It’s also easy to sort the stock list according to multiple parameters, including fundamentals like P/E as well as recent price movements. Finally, the list data can be exported to Excel with just a single button to give you the ability to create customized filters.
While Zacks does have #2, #3, and #4 rank lists – corresponding to “weak buy,” “neutral,” and “weak sell” ratings – these are relatively difficult to find on the site. The #5 Rank List, which displays stocks recommended for shorting, is easy to access. However, beware that the historical performance of this recommendation list is mixed at best – it has an average annual return of just 2% per year and has lost more than 50% of its value in some years. In addition, the #5 Rank List lacks most of the sorting and category ratings that you’ll find in the more popular #1 Rank List.
Zacks Style Scores
As a Premium member, you get access to the “style scores” that Zacks assigns to every stock its analysts review and that makes it into the #1 Rank List. These style scores rank each stock, on a scale of A-F, with respect to whether they are a value, growth, or momentum stock.
Zacks style scores are primarily helpful in two places: the #1 Rank List and the Zacks stock screener. In the #1 Rank List, as discussed above, you can sort the list according to whether stocks are rated as an A for value, growth, or momentum. In the stock screener, Premium subscribers can use value, growth, and momentum ratings as additional filters in screens.
However, keep in mind that the style scores are highly subjective and based on Zacks’ in-house algorithm. These style scores should be taken with a grain of salt, and more advanced traders will likely find them of mixed usefulness at best.
Zacks Earnings ESP Filter
The Earnings Expected Surprise Prediction (ESP) Filter is one of the most unique offerings in Zacks Premium. The filter is based on how Zacks analysts think specific stocks will beat the Wall Street expectations for their upcoming earnings reports – and is complete with specific EPS estimates from Zacks analysts. The ESP filter is somewhat surprisingly accurate – Zacks claims a 70% success rate – but it should be recognized as a relatively aggressive trading tool.
The filter does have some useful tools for short-term traders. You can filter stocks in the ESP list according to how many days away the earnings release is, the expected earnings surprise percentage, and the Zacks ranking of the stock. Note that there is a similar ESP filter for stocks that Zacks analysts believe will fall short of their earnings predictions.
The final major addition that Premium subscribers get to the Zacks platform is access to a suite of pre-defined premium stock screens. These screens are focused on either value, growth, or momentum stocks, but there are also a variety of screens for income stocks and stocks on the #1 or #5 Rank Lists.
While most of these screens could be recreated manually in the stock screener (with a Premium membership to get access to style scores), the pre-made screens are very specific and useful. While many traders may work from the #1 Rank List, there is a good argument to be made that the premium screens are the more useful tool for finding new trade ideas. Plus, since these screens are centered on different styles of stocks, they can cater to a wide variety of traders.
These screens are unique in that they incorporate proprietary data.
Unfortunately, you can’t directly edit each premium screen – but Zacks does provide you with the filters used so you can recreate it and modify it manually in the stock screener. In addition, while Zacks offers the ability to run a backtest on the premium screens, this requires an additional subscription to the company’s Research Wizard software that is separate from Zacks Premium.
Zacks Premium has a few modules that set it apart from the stock research and stock picking competition. Most notably, the Earnings ESP Filter is unique to Zacks Premium and can be a very valuable tool for aggressive short-term traders.
For long-term traders and less experienced traders, the style scores can be very informative compared to other stock research platforms. But the real power of the style scores is in the premium screens, which are pre-defined to make it easy to get new, actionable trade ideas for a specific style of stock.
While the majority of the Zacks Premium platform is built around the #1 Rank List, this is actually one of its least unique offerings – it is essentially a stock recommendation tool similar to GorillaPicks or Action Alerts Plus, and the sheer number of stocks added each day make it harder to use than those systems.
What Type of Trader is Zacks Premium Best for?
Zacks Premium can cater to both medium-, and long-term traders, but it is generally geared towards traders who need help with market research and who can benefit from stock ideas offered by expert analysts. The combination of the Zacks ranking system and the style scores allow the platform to work for a variety of medium- and long-term traders, especially when using the pre-built premium screens to narrow down stock recommendations.
That said, short-term traders can also benefit from Zacks Premium thanks to the momentum filters and Earnings ESP Filter. The ESP filter in particular makes it easy for short-term traders to find stocks that could experience large swings within the coming week following earnings reports.
Is Zacks Premium Worth It?
For many current Zacks users who rely on the platform’s research and recommendations, the biggest question may be whether upgrading to a Premium subscription is worth the money. Ultimately, it depends on what you need out of a stock recommendation platform – but the style scores, premium screens, and Earnings ESP filters are all highly actionable tools that add value. If you plan to use these tools for medium-term trading, they can easily pay for the $249 annual subscription fee. However, keep in mind that you can recreate the premium screens to some extent – sans style scores – with a free account and Zacks makes public at least one pick from the #1 Rank List each day.
Access to Zacks #1 Rank List (“strong buy” recommended stocks)
Value, growth, and momentum scores assigned to every recommended stock
Actionable pre-defined screens
Earnings Expected Surprise Prediction Filter is useful for short-term trades
Overall strong historical performance from #1 Rank List and ESP filter
#2 through #5 rank lists are relatively unhelpful
#1 Rank List receives tens of additional stocks each day
StockMarketEye is a portfolio management software geared more towards long-term investors than active traders. While the interface of StockMarketEye is somewhat outdated, the software is nonetheless intuitive to use and makes it simple to track the performance of multiple portfolios through time. The software offers some basic charting features, but is relatively limited in scope and is matched by the portfolio accounting tools offered by most brokerages.
StockMarketEye Pricing Options
StockMarketEye is a desktop software available for a one-time $49.95 fee for the v4 release, or $99.95 for the soon-to-be-released v5. Users can also purchase v4 and upgrade to v5 when it becomes available for a total of $99.95. Users get free minor updates, but must pay for major updates that are released every 2-3 years.
StockMarketEye also offers a 30-day free trial.
StockMarketEye FeaturesPortfolio Tracking
The primary function of StockMarketEye is to track the performance of multiple long-term investment portfolios. It is straightforward to create a new portfolio in the software, and to manually enter stock purchases or to import data from a brokerage. StockMarketEye is capable of handling stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and forex trades, and can account for commissions, dividends, and all other relevant collateral transactions.
Once a portfolio has been created, users can see the current market performance of every asset in their portfolio. Data can be updated in real time or on-demand according to user preferences. A nice advantage is that StockMarketEye also imports fundamental data for each stock, which can be quickly compared across stocks in a portfolio.
All of this data is then turned into reports that show the performance of a single portfolio over time (similar to MarketRiders), or all of a user’s portfolios, compared to major indices. While these reports are convenient, it is difficult to see advantages to them over the reporting formats offered for free with most brokerage accounts. Instead, StockMarketEye is primarily useful for tracking multiple portfolios held across brokerages in a single place or for tracking portfolios for which the assets are held across multiple brokerages.
One of the useful features of StockMarketEye for investors who take a more active role in managing their portfolios is alerts. Alerts are relatively simple, especially when compared to platforms designed for active traders such as ThinkorSwim. Alerts can only be based on a single criterion, and most available criteria are related to price or gain/loss rather than to any technical indicators.
StockMarketEye does include some basic charting, although like the rest of the platform these charts are designed to complement fundamentals rather than highlight technical indicators. You won’t find the same charting tools you will find in robust platforms like TradingView and TC2000.
The shortest chart period available is one day and the selection of technical analyses that can be applied to charts is limited to the most popular indicators. One nice feature of the StockMarketEye charts is that they make it extremely simple to compare two stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, or indices over time. However, it is again difficult to identify any unique features of these charts that differentiate them from what can be obtained from a brokerage or a free charting software.
A modern advantage to StockMarketEye is that the software is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices. The app layout is relatively streamlined and makes it easy to see the performance of assets in a portfolio at a glance, but lacks the advanced portfolio organization tools of the desktop software. Note that the app costs $1.99 on the Apple App Store and $2.00 on the Google Play Store.
Layout and Customization
The real reason to use StockMarketEye is that it allows users to finely tune their organization of their portfolios. Investors can create new portfolios with the click of a menu button, as well as organize portfolios into groups for different purposes. Within the navigation pane on the left of the platform, portfolios can also be dragged-and-dropped to re-order them and move them into different groups.
The interface of the StockMarketEye software is somewhat reminiscent of an old version of Microsoft Excel. For example, all asset data is tabulated in a grid that resembles Excel. However, while this interface appears outdated, it is extremely simple to navigate and does not contain unnecessary menus. It also makes exporting data simple, since what you see in StockMarketEye is almost exactly what you’ll get if you choose to export a CSV file.
One thing to watch out for is that StockMarketEye offers both portfolios and watchlists. Although the two asset lists are fundamentally the same and almost entirely identical in terms of the options available for managing them within the software, StockMarketEye strictly delineates them. Therefore, there are near-identical menus for portfolios and watchlists.
It is straightforward to link StockMarketEye to accounts at most major US brokerages. However, keep in mind that this account link can only be used to import transaction data when creating a portfolio, and cannot be used to update transactions or to buy and sell holdings.
StockMarketEye Platform Differentiators
StockMarketEye is a relatively simplistic portfolio tracking software that does not offer much in the way of unique features. The main advantage to StockMarketEye is that it can import data from a number of different brokerages as well as easily handle manual transactions. This makes it possible to track the performance of portfolios that have been purchased across multiple brokerages or that involve multiple types of assets. The ease with which users can export data to Excel – given the Excel-like interface of the software – also makes it simple to extend the usability of portfolio performance data.
What Type of Trader is StockMarketEye Best for?
StockMarketEye is best for long-term investors who have multiple portfolios with different goals or who have holdings across multiple different brokerages. The platform does feature basic charts, fundamental data, and price-based alerts for investors who want to take a more active role in managing their holdings. However, it does not offer the advanced research tools that more heavily involved traders would want, nor the analyst research and recommendations that many brokerages provide.
Easily import transaction data from brokerages
Organize portfolios and watchlists into groups with drag-and-drop functionality
Basic charts, fundamental information, and price-based alerts
Excel-style interface makes exporting data simple
Mobile apps available for iOS and Android
Few unique features beyond what most brokerages provide
Cannot be used to buy and sell holdings from brokerage accounts
Stockpile.com an online discount brokerage with several niche features that enable easy gifting of stocks and fractional share purchases. The company caters to less experienced investors with simple and intuitive order screens and easy to use tabs to get customers on the right track. Stockpile is the brainchild of CEO Avi Lele who designed the platform to simplify the process of gifting stock shares. He developed a large distribution base for physical Stockpile gift cards that can be purchased at grocery stores and retailers. Stockpile Investments, Inc. is a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, which insures customer accounts up to $500,000 including $250,000 of cash. There are no monthly fees or minimums. Sign up is free and investors can get started with just $5.
Stockpile Commissions and Fees
There are no monthly fees or minimums to open a Stockpile account. The commissions on trading stock is straightforward. However, the gift cards and process of gift shares has several direct fees associated with it.
Stockpile has a flat $0.99-per trade commission on stocks, ADRs and ETFs. Users can buy stocks with credit cards but incur a 3-percent processing fee in addition to the $0.99 commission. This commission is competitive when compared to other discount brokers.
Gift Card Fees
Stockpile E-gift cards can be purchased online and cost $2.99 plus 3% card processing fee and $0.99 commission to buy shares. Gift cards and share purchases have a minimum investment of $5 with default increments of $25, $50, $100 and $200.
Physical Stockpile gift cards to gift stock shares can be purchased at grocery stores and retailers for $4.95 up to $7.95 depending on the price and quantity of the underlying stock shares you wish to gift. For a $25 gift card, the total cost is $29.95, and a $100 gift card is $107.95. This includes the fees of the gift card, card processing and the transaction fee.
Recipients of either e-gift card or physical gift cards must open a Stockpile brokerage account to redeem the shares. The $0.99 commission per trade applies thereafter if the customer wishes to sell the shares.
There are a number of transactional fees that customers should be aware of. Since users are buying fractional shares, the fees can be expensive relative to the investments.
Outgoing domestic wire: $25
Paper checks: $5
ACH note of correction: $5
Returned check, ACH, wire or stop payment: $30
Stock transfers from another brokerage: $75
Stockpile Platform Features and ToolsPlatform Dashboard
The platform is basically for executions. The platform is simple and intuitive for buying and selling equities, ADRs and ETFs. Imagine if you were shopping online rather than using a brokerage. To cater to beginners, Stockpile limits the selection of stocks to well-known brands that consumers can identify with. This is all designed to familiarize customers to the link between stock performance and brand names. While the selection exceeds 1,000 stocks, it is still limited compared to the over 6,000 publicly traded companies. Customers can only trade stocks that are available. Don’t expect to trade penny stocks or low float stocks. This is all tailored to the casual inexperienced consumer. There is no short-selling or options trading available.
One of the key advantages of Stockpile is the ability to buy and sell fractional shares, less than one share of stock. Typically, if an investor wants to purchase a $100-per share stock, they would need to have at least $100 to buy a single share of stock and usually $10,000 to purchase the typical 100-share lot of stock. This makes investing in expensive stocks (over $100) very prohibitive for small investors to partake in. With fractional shares, you can set a dollar amount to invest and Stockpile will purchase the fractions of shares for you. For example, by allocating $25 to invest in a $100 stock, it will purchase 0.25 shares (1/4 of one share) for you. This opens a broad range of growth and momentum stocks for small investors.
The mobile app is identical to the desktop version with the added benefits of portability. The app can be download through the app store for iOS and Google Play for Android. For a new investor, the mobile app is extremely easy to use as it walks you through the onboarding process and purchasing your first shares very smoothly. Simplicity overrides diverse functionality that experience traders are more accustomed to.
Like Robinhood, Stockpile provides basic fundamental data for stocks including 52-week high/lows, P/E ratios, dividend and earnings data, volume and company information. It also provides relevant news stories associated with the stock.
The research tools are relatively basic but will provide most beginner investors with the information they need.
Stockpile Additional Features
As an additional measure of catering to beginners, Stockpile makes it easy to find companies associated to brands. The search function can be used to enter brand names and the platform will find the stock associated with it. Users can even type in a brand name like “ESPN” or “Marvel Comics” and the algorithms will find the stock that it’s associated with. The gift card processing is the biggest differentiator for Stockpile as that was the original purpose that sparked the development of the platform. Kids and teens can also track their stocks, create watch lists and actually place parent-permissioned trades. This is something not found and often restricted on mainstream online brokerage platforms.
Execution and Routes
Stockpile doesn’t execute real-time trades. Orders placed before 3pm EST will be executed at the stock’s closing market price that day. Trades after 3pm EST will execute on the next day’s closing price. It literally treats stock orders like mutual fund orders. However, there is not trading in stocks not included on the list of 1,000 or so symbols. The orders are end of day market orders, there is no limit orders or direct access trading.
What Type of Trader Stockpile Is Best For?
Stockpile is specifically designed for new investors looking to get their feet wet in the stock market with small accounts that can benefit from fractional share purchases. Notably, customers that want a convenient way to gift stock shares are the ideal target audience. It’s the most tailored platform to use for gifting fractional shares of stocks to other beginners to the markets. Since there is no real-time trading, this brokerage is not suitable for intra-day traders. Long-term investors and swing trades with small accounts that are new to the markets are the best suited for this gateway platform.
Easy-to-use trading interface operates like a shopping cart for beginners
Fractional share purchases enable positions in expensive stocks
Low commissions of $0.99-per trade
Electronic and physical Stockpile gift cards make gifting stocks simple
Mobile app makes transactions portable and convenient
Great way for kids and teens to learn about the stock market
MarketRiders is a long-term investment platform designed to help professionals manage their money for retirement. Essentially, MarketRiders acts like an automated investment advisor, offering portfolio options based on investors’ willingness to take on risk and desired rate of return. The advantages to using MarketRiders is that it focuses on ETFs rather than mutual funds to keep commissions and fees as low as possible. Overall, the platform is largely geared towards people with little investment knowledge who are thinking about retirement. Investors with basic financial knowledge could accomplish much of the same portfolio diversification on their own using the tools provided with most IRA and 401(k) brokerage accounts.
MarketRiders costs $14.95 per month or $149.95 per year for access to the platform.
MarketRiders FeaturesPortfolio Design
The first thing that you do when starting out with MarketRiders is to fill out a basic questionnaire about their risk tolerance and investing goals. From this, the automated MarketRiders algorithm suggests a basic way to slice up your portfolio into different investment types.
Once the diversification strategy is set, MarketRiders will automatically generate a list of stocks, bonds, ETFs, and other assets for you, complete with the amounts that should be invested in each asset. You can choose your broker, which allows MarketRiders to find commission-free ETFs – the total cost of the portfolio in commissions is displayed at the bottom of the asset list. MarketRiders can make recommendations at Schwab, SogoTrade, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Vanguard.
Note that more advanced investors can also customize the diversification of their portfolios. In this case, MarketRiders will create a basic portfolio for you, and then you can manually change the percentage of your portfolio that you would like to dedicate to different asset classes. When done, you’ll receive an updated list of suggested assets and the amounts of each to purchase.
Note that MarketRiders does not integrate with any brokerage, so you’ll need to purchase the suggested bonds, ETFs, and stocks directly from your broker.
Once you create a portfolio within MarketRiders, the platform offers some relatively basic tools for managing it. If you want to add or withdraw money to or from your portfolio, MarketRiders’ calculators will let you know how to do so without disrupting the balance of your diversification. Alternatively, if your appetite for risk or investment goals change, MarketRiders will help you re-balance your investments to reflect those changes.
Note that since MarketRiders is automatically tracking your portfolio, the software will alert you in the event that your portfolio becomes significantly unbalanced from the target diversification. This could happen because of high growth by one asset class of your portfolio and underperformance by another asset class. You can customize whether MarketRiders should alert you about rebalancing when your portfolio is only slightly or highly out of balance.
Of course, you also have the option to set up multiple portfolios with different goals. Each of these portfolios is managed individually, and MarketRiders does not make suggestions about the best way to use or balance your money across multiple portfolios.
Finally, you have the option to monitor the performance of your portfolio within MarketRiders. More experienced traders will recognize that nearly all of the performance charting within MarketRiders is available from either a broker or attainable with a simple Excel spreadsheet. However, the charts in MarketRiders are convenient in that they can be broken down into asset classes rather than just individual holdings.
Customization and Layout
MarketRiders makes navigating your account extremely simple. All of your portfolios are displayed in a single dashboard, and you’ll find options to further explore or make changes to each portfolio directly under the prominent diversification pie charts. Pages for tracking performance, asset allocation, and your investment goals are prominently displayed and have very clean organizational structures. Portfolio performance can only be viewed one portfolio at a time, although this is not an issue for most investors.
MarketRiders Platform Differentiators
In reality, there is very little that MarketRiders can do that a medium-tier or higher brokerage cannot do. While the automated portfolio builder for creating a diversified portfolio based primarily on ETFs is useful, most brokerages include some similar form of this tool with an IRA or 401(k) account. Furthermore, since MarketRiders is not a brokerage, investors will need to go through their brokers to actually purchase the recommended portfolio in any case. The main advantage to MarketRiders is that it focuses on keeping commissions and fees to a minimum, although again this can typically be accomplished without help by investors with even a little knowledge of how ETFs and mutual funds work.
Who is MarketRiders Best for?
MarketRiders is targeted towards long-term investors, such as non-investment professionals seeking to build up a retirement fund. While the platform does provide useful tools at a reasonable price, most investors who have some basic knowledge of commissions and fund fees can achieve the same portfolio diversification offered by MarketRiders through their brokerage or a free retirement robo-advisor tool. Therefore, MarketRiders is best for investors who feel highly unconfident with long-term investing and portfolio diversification, but who do not want to use a traditional investment advisor like Motley Fool, Investors Business Daily, or Gorilla Trades.
Diversified portfolio based on low-fee ETFs
Simple portfolio rebalancing tools
Alerts when portfolio becomes unbalanced
Performance tracking by asset class
Simple, understandable layout
Most tools can be had for free with an IRA or 401(k) brokerage account
Not integrated with brokerages to buy and sell portfolio assets (requires manual work)
Quantamize is a platform for generating trade ideas based on algorithmic ranking of stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. The platform is helpful for beginning traders who prefer a simplistic view of what stocks are rated highly by Quantamize’s algorithms, but as for many algorithm-based platforms there is relatively little insight into why a particular stock or option is recommended. Overall, Quantamize is easy to use and inexpensive for medium-term traders looking to find new ideas and research for trades.
Quantamize Pricing Options
Quantamize offers all users a 21-day free trial with no credit card required before putting up a paywall. After the trial, the platform costs $49 per month, with the option for a 50% discount on the first three months.
The heart of Quantamize is the Q-Factor score, which is the ranking assigned to every stock according to the platform’s algorithm. The Q-Factor score is determined at the beginning of every month by a proprietary model and is described simply as a grade from A to F for every stock. Some stocks have more than one Q-Factor score, since the algorithm divides stocks according to market cap and sector and many stocks fall into multiple categories.
According to Quantamize, the models take into account value, volatility, growth, and technical. However, none of these individual factors are revealed in the grade assigned to any particular stock and Q-Factor scores may or may not be applicable over timescales shorter or longer than one month. Although Quantamize offers basic charts showing the historical performance of their Q-Factor scores, traders should be extremely wary and careful to conduct their own technical and fundamental analyses before trading on Quantamize’s recommendations.
Quantamize FeaturesTop Stock Ideas
One of the most helpful features of Quantamize for active traders is the Global Top Stock Picks page, which is update monthly as new Q-Factor scores are released. Here, Quantamize quickly displays all A-rated and F-rated stocks by sector. The stock ideas are also grouped according to their country of origin and market cap, so there are numerous options for traders who employ different strategies or who are looking to diversify their portfolios.
Once you’ve identified a stock of interest based on Q-Factor scores, Quantamize does a relatively nice job of summarizing everything you need to know about that stock on a single page. Quantamize’s stock pages include most essential fundamental data, as well as charts of investor sentiment and news sentiment and volume. It’s like a cleaner, more focused version of Yahoo Finance.
Pre-made technical charts display price history, RSI, and Bollinger Bands, although Quantamize is by no means a technical analysis platform and the charts are not interactive.
Quantamize goes one step further by providing stock research reports for individual stocks – there are typically one to four added to the platform each day. However, these reports add surprisingly little beyond what is available on the stock pages, with the exception of a bullet pointed highlight of the information gleaned from the stock fundamentals table.
Just as the top stock ideas offers individual stock picks, Quantamize aggregates its top stocks into sector-based portfolios. These don’t necessarily provide much more information beyond the top stock ideas – the portfolios are largely just collections of A-rated stocks – but they are nice because they come with continuously updated metrics of performance. Thanks to this, traders can do their research to see which sectors Quantamize’s algorithms typically work best for, and copy those portfolios in their own trades.
Quantamize is also extremely useful as a tool for comparing ETFs and making profitable short-term ETF trades. The platform’s algorithms issue every ETF a “buy,” “sell,” or “neutral” rating, and clicking on any ETF breaks that rating down according to the four individual factors evaluated in the Q-Factor scoring system.
Quantamize also includes the ability to quickly add ETFs to a heatmap for comparison. However, the helpfulness of correlating the modeled relatedness of two or more ETFs is debatable, especially given that there is no side-by-side comparison of the historical performance or fundamentals of multiple ETFs.
Recommendations for options trades within Quantamize have an excellent historical performance, although the recommendations themselves come with surprisingly little information. The rationale behind any options trade is limited to the stock’s Q-Factor score and a brief comparison of the implied volatility relative to their model forecast. Traders should be extremely cautious when using Quantamize’s options trades given the risk of options trading and the lack of supporting information.
Quantamize has more useful information about trading cryptocurrency than about trading options. The platform assigns “buy” and “do not own” ratings to more than 30 different cryptocurrencies and offers a correlation heatmap similar to that used to analyze ETFs. Here, the correlation analysis makes more sense as many cryptocurrencies are intimately related.
Quantamize also releases relatively frequent research reports centered around cryptocurrencies, which give more information about trends that the Q-Factor scoring algorithm is picking up on.
Customization and Layout
The layout of Quantamize’s browser-based platform is easy to follow, with stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency cleanly separated in the ever-present side menu. The tables are cleanly formatted and there are plenty of pop-up descriptor panels to give you extra information as you move around the page. One thing I did find annoying, though, was the chat box that is always present in the lower righthand corner of the page that frequently pings with new suggestions and messages.
Note that while Quantamize does offer basic watchlists, they are only available for stocks and you can only have one watchlist. The watchlist is useful mostly because you can receive email alerts for new research reports on stocks that are in your watchlist.
Quantamize Platform Differentiators
Quantamize is one of a handful of trading platforms that makes trading recommendations based on an algorithm. What sets Quantamize apart is that the algorithm has a relatively strong history of performance. Furthermore, Quantamize has adjusted the algorithm to work on not only stocks, but also options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. The latter is particularly unique, since there are still relatively few mainstream algorithmic trading platforms focused on cryptocurrencies.
With those important points in mind, traders should be wary when using Quantamize as most recommendations come with very little supporting information outside a single letter grade representing the data in the algorithm.
What Type of Trader is Quantamize Best For?
Quantamize is best for traders who want to use a computer algorithm to generate new trade ideas over one-month timescales. That means that Quantamize is ideally suited for entry- and mid-level traders who want to grow their portfolios, but who don’t have the time or skills needed to identify potentially profitable trades. While the historical performance of Quantamize is reassuring that traders who use the platform to save time can be profitable, it is very important that traders do their own research to dig deeper into the trends that the platform’s algorithm found before committing to trades.
Algorithm-based trading recommendations with strong history of success
Trade recommendations are based on one-month timeframe
Works for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
Frequent research reports for cryptocurrency recommendations
Stock ideas and model portfolios are grouped by market, market cap, and sector
Q-Factor scores do not include detailed information about algorithm results
Options recommendations contain very little supporting information
Stock research reports add little information beyond fundamentals