The stock market is one of the most powerful wealth generating tools available. Whether you are a day trader or a passive investor who has held shares for decades, the stock market has something for you. However, with well over 4,000 publicly traded companies, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
This is where stock picking services come into the equation. Instead of spending hours researching your next stock to buy, you can simply subscribe to a stock picking service. These companies are reputable, have been around for many years, and provide in-depth analysis to help support their picks. They can save you a lot of time while still allowing you to recoup the subscription cost. Here, we’ll go over some of the most popular stock picking services.
|The Motley Fool||Buy-and-hold investing|
|Zacks Trade||Stock research|
|TD Ameritrade||Free resources|
|Seeking Alpha||Crowd-sourced stock analysis|
|Yahoo! Finance Plus||Stock news and 24/7 support|
Morningstar is one of the most well-known names in investment research, providing a host of services to help you make better investment decisions. While you might know Morningstar for its star ratings and its various research tools, it also has a premium newsletter.
In fact, Morningstar has four different newsletters, all of which can be useful depending on your strategy. As this list is about stock picking, the relevant newsletter is StockInvestor. This newsletter provides an analysis of companies they believe have a competitive advantage.
Key features of StockInvestor include:
- A watch list
- Commentary of current events
- Email alerts
The cost for Morningstar Premium is $29.95 monthly, $199 annually, and $349 for two years. There is also a three-year subscription for $449.
The Motley Fool
If you are looking for a simple strategy to allow you to build wealth over a period of years, The Motley Fool might be the right choice. Its most popular service, Stock Advisor, provides two new stock picks every month along with in-depth analysis. Fool does all the work for you so all you have to do is buy the stocks aligning with your goals.
Through Stock Advisor and its other services, The Motley Fool offers a wide range of features:
- Starter stocks
- Buy and sell email alerts
- News and updates
- A community forum
Stock Advisor is also a great value at $99 for the first year, then $199 per year afterward. Even after the first year, its cost is comparable to that of a Netflix subscription.
Read our Motley Fool Stock Advisor review to learn more.
Zacks Trade is another one of the big names in investment research, having been around since 1978. Based in Chicago, Zacks is best for advanced traders and investors who simply don’t have the time to do all of their own research. Some of the features you get with Zacks Premium include:
Todays best stocks
- Best long-term stocks
- Focus List
The key feature for Zacks Premium is its #1 rank list, which is part of today’s best stocks feature. These stocks are considered a strong buy and are among the top 5% of stocks with the best potential. After a 30-day free trial, the cost of Zacks Premium is $249 per year.
Learn more in our Zacks Trade review.
TD Ameritrade is known for its trading platform, but it also offers several premium services to help you make better investment decisions. Some of the highlights of TD Ameritrade’s features include:
- Free stock research
- Daily newsletters
- An excellent trading platform
Its Market Java Newsletter and analyst reports are just two features helping you stay informed of all the latest market developments.
Market Java is a daily email newsletter with all the latest market news and insights from outside industry experts. Analyst reports use an algorithm to consolidate recommendations from five third-party research providers, giving you a well-rounded set of stock recommendations.
One of the best things about TD Ameritrade is you gain access to a wealth of information with no subscription cost. You won’t have to pay a subscription fee to have access to any of the features mentioned here.
Check out our TD Ameritrade review to learn more.
Seeking Alpha is another name you have likely heard of if you have ever tried to do your own stock research. It publishes a lot of articles with in-depth technical analysis. What makes Seeking Alpha unique is it is a crowd-sourced content service sourcing content from industry experts.
Anyone can visit the site and read thousands of articles, create a portfolio, and screeners. The site also offers a number of premium services:
- SA author ratings (very bullish to very bearish)
- Top-rated stocks
- Wall Street consensus and price targets
- Quant ratings
There are two price tiers for SA premium. The lower tier costs $19.99/month, and the higher tier costs $69.99/month. Both of these prices are with monthly billing; they are $239.99 and $499.99 when billed annually. In addition, both tiers include a 14-day free trial so you can give them a try before committing.
Yahoo! Finance is usually one of the first places people go to check information on a stock ticker. Its also known for live stock market updates, quotes, as well as business and finance news. In addition to the information it provides for free, it also offers its premium service, Yahoo! Finance Plus.
This premium service includes features you’ll need if you want to pick the right stocks:
- Daily trade ideas based on your interests
- Fair value analysis
- Advanced portfolio analysis tools
- Yahoo Finance community insights
All of these features are included in both premium tiers. The costs for its two tiers, Lite and Essential, are $25/month and $35/month, respectively. Both have a discounted rate with annual billing of $250 or $350.
What Is a Stock Picking Service?
A stock picking service recommends stocks that have a strong potential to perform better than the overall market. Those conclusions are sometimes based on the company’s own analysis but may also use input from independent, third-party research providers.
In addition to specific stock recommendations, stock picking services usually offer a variety of reports, tools, and analyses to help educate their subscribers. Some provide market news, trends, and sectors that are performing well.
Most Important Features to Look for in a Stock Picking Service?
Stock picking services tend to do a lot more than just offer a few stock picks, so you may be unsure which features are more important than others. Here is a quick rundown of the features that are a must before signing up.
- Track record of success: The single most important feature in a stock picking service is a track record of success. Anyone can say they are better than the other guys, but does the data support that claim? For instance, The Motley Fool has constantly updated numbers showing the returns its two top services have compared to the S&P 500 during the same time period.
- Transparency: Nobody is perfect, as they say. The best stock picking services will show you both their wins and their losses. They aren’t just showcasing a few wins they had while keeping all of their bad picks quiet.
- A reputable, well-established name: Is a company you’ve never heard of promising 100% annual returns? This is probably a red flag. Instead, look for services from names you know preferably ones that have been around for many years.
How Did We Choose the Best Stock Picking Service?
The best stock picking service is reputable and has an outstanding combination of value, a strong track record, and transparency. It’s no small feat to accomplish, but some of the very best stock picking services hit on all of these points. Thus, the best stock picking services are the most well-rounded without sacrificing any of the must-haves for services of this type. Remember, though, it is equally important to find a stock picking service to meet your trading or investing goals.
Which Stock Picking Service Is Best for You?
The best stock picking service for you will depend on several factors. Firstly, you should consider your budget. There are many different services at varying prices. Some offer free services, and some offer packages that cost thousands of dollars. Thus, knowing what you can afford is the first thing you’ll have to determine.
The next question is what your investing goals and strategy are. Some of these services focus on individual stocks, but there are some focusing on options, ETFs, mutual funds, dividend stocks, and more. Therefore, deciding where you want to focus your efforts will help narrow down your choices.
Related: Motley Fool vs. Zacks vs. Morningstar Comparison
Are Stock Picking Services Worth It?
Stock picking services can absolutely be worth it. Of course, just how well worth it they are depends on whether you take full advantage of everything they have to offer. Nevertheless, these services can save you a lot of time and many make it easy to recoup the subscription cost.
Are Stock Picking Services Legal?
Stock picking services are legal, but their legality can be a fine line. Generally speaking, companies and individuals can list their favorite stocks and provide their analysis with no regulation whatsoever. What is regulated is giving specific investment advice to individuals. This is why most stock picking services come with a disclaimer indicating the picks should not be taken as investment advice.
What is the Best Stock Picking Service?
There is no single best stock picking service. Deciding which stock picking service to use is about finding one that fits your budget and goals and is a quality service. See the section above on the most important features for what to look for in a stock picking service.
|Service||Standout Feature||Best For|
|Morningstar||Specialized newsletters||Investment research|
|The Motley Fool Stock Advisor||Beginner-friendliness||Buy-and-hold investing|
|Zacks Trade||#1 rank list||Stock research|
|TD Ameritrade||Excellent mobile app||Free resources|
|Seeking Alpha||Educational content||Crowd-sourced stock analysis|
|Yahoo! Finance Plus||Live stock market news||Stock news and 24/7 support|
Funny though it may seem, choosing the right stock picking service can seem like a tough decision at first. However, there are plenty of quality services out there; the most important thing is determining which service meets your goals and your budget.
Regarding cost, you will find everything from free all the way up to thousands of dollars per year. The good news is you don’t have to put your money on the line, merely hoping it will work out. Most of these services come with either a free trial or a money-back guarantee, so you will have a chance to try them first.
Once you find the right stock picking service for you, be sure to stick to it for the long haul. Staying committed is one of the most important principles in trading and investing success.