Five useful places to find financial data online

Want to start researching a stock portfolio? We've compiled a list of five services that will help you do just that.

I spend a considerable amount of time perusing financial sites for data that impacts a respective company's financial statements. Because of that, I've developed a liking for certain sites, and a severe distaste for others that have no business providing information to anyone.

But it's the great that I'm highlighting today. And in the following list of services, you'll find some obvious choices and hopefully some new services you may have never seen.

Emerginvest

One of the main issues facing sites like Bloomberg or MarketWatch is that most of their focus is placed squarely on U.S.-based companies. It makes sense--most of the visitors to those sites are looking for information on companies that operate in the United States. But that doesn't mean we don't need international data, and that's exactly what Emerginvest provides.

The self-proclaimed "Yahoo Finance for the rest of the world," Emerginvest provides outstanding financial data about companies that are operating outside the U.S. Once you register for the site, it displays a "heat map" detailing the performance of markets around the world. That's just a starting point for what is a deluge of financial information about companies operating in over 120 countries. That data includes news, market overviews, sector data, individual company performance, analysis, and much more.

Even better, Emerginvest provides a link to brokerages that allow you to purchase the security in international markets. Unfortunately, though, I've found that few brokerages will allow their clients to acquire obscure international securities.

Emerginvest's claim that it wants to be the "Yahoo Finance for the rest of the world" is a bit troubling, though. What would stop Yahoo, Google, or any other major firm from creating a similar service that would put this company out of business?

Investopedia

If you want to research stocks and mutual funds, while learning about them, Investopedia is the best place to do it. With thousands of articles on investing, the stock market, and other financial topics, Investopedia offers an exceptional amount of value to the novice and professional investor alike.

The real beauty however is in the breadth of information it provides. Want to learn how to buy a security for the first time? It will walk you through the process. Want to learn about pink sheets? Investopedia has your answer. Oh, and if you want to find out if Google is a good buy right now, Investopedia will fill you in with analyst opinions, historical prices, and much more. Suffice it to say that if you're looking for anything related to business, Investopedia will have it.

It's that good.

StockCharts

Sometimes, when I use Yahoo Finance, I take historical stock price charts for granted. After all, they're really only useful to show price differences of a particular stock over time, right? But when I find my way back to StockCharts, I can't believe that I even considered using Yahoo Finance charts to make a decision about a company.

StockCharts doesn't just provide historical share price data in its charts, it provides a full solution for analyzing the value of a stock. Along with price changes, it can display key indicators of financial health like Moving Average Convergence/Divergence, Relative Strength Index, Moving Averages, and Volume. It even lets you embed those graphs into your own site, social network profile, or presentation if you want to share the information you've gathered with others. That said, be aware that a couple trips to Investopedia may be in order--StockCharts is specifically designed for those who are knowledgeable about investing and have a keen understanding of company valuation.

ValueEngine

If you want to know what a stock is really worth and you don't want to do the heavy lifting with a service like StockCharts, ValueEngine is the perfect alternative. There's only one catch: you'll need to pay $199.95 per year or $19.95 per month to do it.

ValueEngine provides accurate valuations for any stock you throw at it. According to the company, it analyzes each stock based on a number of key factors and ratios to determine what a share should be priced at and whether it's a good buy or not. Upon entering a particular security, ValueEngine provides extensive data that not only gives you a valuation, but financial evidence to support its claim. It even runs market trend analysis and price reversal calculations to estimate stock performance over the next few years. I'm not convinced that kind of long-term planning is reliable, but it's tough to argue with the company's success: it claims its recommendation engine enjoyed a 25 percent rate of return during 2008.

Yahoo Finance

Any mention of financial data research cannot be complete without talking about the de facto leader in the space, Yahoo Finance.

Although some prefer Google Finance to Yahoo's because of its slightly less-cluttered design, I don't think it compares to Yahoo's page. Combining news, analyst opinions, key ratios, and charts with an outstanding design that makes it simple to navigate from one security to another, Yahoo Finance is set apart as the most useful financial research tool on the Web. And although it's lacking in international data and Google is making inroads, Yahoo's finance page provides the best information as quickly as possible.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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