Site Review: Mainstream Financial Sites Compared
When I first started investing, I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of sites available as a resource. While it is nearly impossible to track all of the resources out there, there are a few mainstream sites that are well known. Over the years of navigation, I’ve learned the pros and cons for each site. I wouldn’t claim any of the sites to be the best financial site, but each of the sites bring a unique feature to the table.
I love the user friendly site Google offers. It’s not the most elegant looking site, but its interface certainly makes up for it. After all, Google’s engine is what it’s known for right?
1) Interactive charting. Google offers an easy solution for the users to navigate through the stocks and their charts. Using your scroll bar, you can easily change the time horizon of the historical chart you’re looking at. It also links the chart with the appropriate news and blogs featuring the particular stock so that readers can easily connect to related contents.
2) Portfolio related stories. I like how Google takes advantage of its search engine and helps you display the news related with the stocks you enter in your “portfolio”. No one else can beat Google in the accuracy of its search results and related contents.
3) Sector summary. Google displays a sector summary that easily inform the users with the daily overview of the market performance by sector.
4) Discussion boards. Google has discussion boards unique to each of the stock quotes you look at. While the contents included in the discussion boards are questionable at best, there are some users with very legit points from time to time.
1) Discussion boards. While it’s nice to be able to hear what others are saying, it’s credibility is just not there. Sometimes the conversation that takes place there is trash.
2) Design. It’s not the prettiest looking site. It’s simple if you prefer these simple sites versus content and media rich sites.
3) Delayed quotes. I’m surprised Google can’t add the real-time feature on their site. You’d think Google, the powerhouse, with its huge pool of talented resources, would be able to add a feature like that. Nope. They are delayed.
I love their front page. It displays the market barometer in a very nice format that helps you quickly understand how each sector (size, growth vs value, etc) by different segments. It gives you a quick snapshot of most active trades, biggest losers and biggest winners. I use this site mainly for the front page that is nicely designed and with friendly navigation.
1) Many cool features like ETF and stock screener, both free and premium. Once you get into the premium site, you start to see many additional features like Morningstar stock ratings, advanced portfolio management system, ETF cost analyzer and ranking, and much more. You can pretty much get all the major information you need on a stock with the premium membership, priced at $18.95 per month.
2) A lot of articles featuring Warren Buffet (if you like him). Well, I like some of the articles featured here since it’s rather unique compared to some of the other mainstream financial sites that carry similar news.
1) Most of the powerful features Morningstar offers requires a premium membership. I like things FREE.
2) Delayed quotes. If you like to constantly be on top of the stock prices without using a software, this site won’t give you the real-time speed you need.
3) Just..a lot of Warrent Buffet articles (if you don’t care for him)
I love their stock quotes and charts. Easy to search, easy to read, and most importantly REAL TIME. No, we’re not talking real-time that most of the trading software offer, but it is pretty real-time compared to most of the mainstream sites like CNN and Morningstar. You can also check where the market is going by looking at the futures before the opening bell.
1) Real-time quotes. During work, I pop up a tab on my Firefox, open up CNBC, type up the ticker, and get back to work while the Firefox tab keeps me informed (refreshes frequently). I love it!
2) Easy way to keep track of the pre-market and after-market on the go. You can track at the Index level (Dow, S&P, etc) or at the stock level.
3) More advanced charting compared to most of the mainstream sites that offer dinky line charts. I like candlestick charts, and I haven’t found others that offer more charting power.
4) Offers many other free services with content rich website. The site offers various information such as earnings, economic calendar, videos, and footages from live TV. The list goes on really.
1) Shady news. I often read on blogs and websites associating CNBC as shady. Hell it is owned by General Electric…and that bothers me. Jon Stewart certainly thinks CNBC is shady especially with Jim Cramer hosting Mad Money. I gotta say though, Jim Cramer is pretty funny to watch. I don’t watch Cramer for investing tips anymore but for my personal entertainment when things get rough. He always has some ways of making me smile.
2) Inconsistency. CNBC publishes news that is bullish one day and extremely bearish the next day. Furthermore, the way CNBC twists the news to make it better or worse drives me nuts. For example, CNBC can take a bad result and somehow make it sound better than what the result says otherwise. On the flip side, they will try to take a good news and associate it with negativity. Just don’t feel very comfortable relying on their news.
Pros: Everyone likes the Wall Street Journal when it comes to the content and its credibility. It has been around for years reporting reliable and unique news to the readers. The fact that WSJ is picked up by major universities for their economics classes as a required reading shows that people trust its contents.
Cons: Not too many features other than the contents themselves. You should really use this site for solid financial information.
A great financial site that focuses on community. Aside from the normal features like top news, Fool.com connects the readers very elegantly using user built blogs, discussion boards, and the CAPS service that helps anyone participate in stock picking and ranks you based on how well you predict the next moves. I think Fool connects users and creates a community better than the rest.
Then there’s a whole lot more financial sites out there that I dive into the details. You can check them out yourself.