D) The research, analysis and trading tools you need and what each platform offers
Ok — so now that we’ve gone over the profiles of each of these 4 players, let’s dive deep into the practical research and analysis tools you’ll want to utilize and how each platform fares in terms of their services in this aspect.
This topic can include many activities, but from a beginner’s standpoint, you’d be most commonly looking at analyst research, company news, and examining company fundamentals.
Robinhood has a very clean and simplistic format — and their web platform consists of 5 main sections: Free Stocks, Portfolio, Cash, Messages, and Account.
The home page that you land on when you first log in is typically the portfolio tab. The first thing you’ll notice is a chart of your portfolio balance and its performance across these different time periods below. If you scroll down past that, you’ll see the research section of the site, starting with this popular lists module.
Robinhood’s List Section
You see, Robinhood’s UX is very similar to the way Instagram or Twitter operate — they have these tags that’ll take you to specific category pages that showcase a watchlist in that particular subject.
This one, for example, will take you to a list of Trending Technology stocks — it shows you the ticker, stock price, price action, and market cap and you can even add it to your own personal watch lists.
Now back on the main portfolio page, if you scroll past the popular lists, you start to see some new modules that highlight breaking news, market movers, and other headlines from your watchlist. Now, this is all good if you’re browsing for new opportunities to invest in, but what if you wanted to dive deep into a particular stock in terms of analyst research, company news, and fundamentals? Well, let’s click into a particular stock and see what we can glean.
This is the individual stock page for Amazon.
Robinhood’s Stock Details Page
If you scroll past the chart, you’ll see a company profile, what lists this stock is included in, and a top news section that shows the latest headlines.
Below that is the analyst research section, which is very minimalist and easy to follow — especially for new or beginning traders. It shows you what the analyst ratings are and verbatims from both a bull and bear perspective.
Below that, this chart shows the past earnings performance for this stock. I really like this chart as well, because it’s a very easy to read visual that shows what the earnings estimate was for each quarter, what the analyst targets were and how much higher or lower the actual earnings were — very easy to digest.
Robinhood’s Stock Earnings Chart
So if I were to summarize Robinhood’s research tools and offerings here, I’d say that it’s fully sufficient for the beginning trader, because it features a streamlined and easy to digest layout that gives you just enough information to get a good sense of the background of this stock.
If you picked a stock you’ve never heard of, this page would still be comprehensive enough to help you understand what that company does, where it sits within the industry, and what the outlooks appear to be in the near term future.
Webull also has a fairly simplistic design, and their research page is the Market tab on their site.
At the top, there are trackers for the market indices so you can get a quick pulse check on the markets and then modules, similar to Robinhood’s that show market movers for the day.
Webull’s Markets Page
Below that they also have sections that show upcoming IPOs, Earning and Dividend stocks, as well as trending industries, funds, and a quick look at the forex market.
Now, let’s take a look at a stock details page — let’s go to Amazon again just to stay consistent. What I like about this page is that it starts by giving you the stock stats right way at the top right. This is a really good at-a-glance view if you just wanted a quick pulse check on how this stock was performing.
Webull’s Stock Details Page
Next, we have the chart underneath with the same ability to filter by time period — just like Robinhood.
But below that, Webull has a bit more of a comprehensive offering in terms of research information regarding the stock — with these six tabs.
After that, the News section showcases the recent headlines for the company.
Financials show a much more in-depth view of the fundamental operating figures for the company, including EPS, the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow views.
The Releases tab shows actual SEC filings for the company in terms of their internal stock distributions — such as when officers are given stock awards as part of their compensation.
The Corp actions tab shows any recent dividend payouts, splits, or other insider activities.
Next, the Analysis section shows analyst research ratings and projections, similar to what was on Robinhood. Except in this case, I like how they added in a few more nuggets of information like institutional holdings & outstanding shares, in this section.
And lastly, the profile tab shows what industry this company falls under, and who their key officers are.
All in all, I would say the research tools and information provided by Webull is a bit more robust than Robinhood and would give Webull a slight edge if I were comparing them side by side. It’s the same, sleek, easy-to-read visuals with just a bit more information than Robinhood.
Right off the bat — you can already tell that as a full-service brokerage firm, Etrade has a lot more to offer in both capability and information.
They have many different tabs of information (which can seem overwhelming), but as a beginning trader, for research purposes, you’ll likely spend most of your time in either this Market Research page or within your own Portfolio View.
Etrade’s Markets Tab
In this Market tab, at a quick glance, there are trackers for the market indices, latest news, recent analyst recommendations, a table on market movers and a quick calendar that shows market events for the day.
And you can click into each of these sections, for an even deeper dive, but for now, let’s see what a stock details page looks like on this platform.
Here again is the Amazon stock details page. Notice here that this page is a lot more robust already, in terms of the slices of information available. It starts off at the snapshot view where the company fundamentals are showcased — with a chart that you can expand into for more detail. But we’ll talk about charts in more depth in the next section of this video.
Etrade’s Stock Details Page
Additional sections on the this stock details page include: Latest Headlines, Press Releases, and Commentary & Blog info regarding this stock. On the right side, it has a comprehensive section of analyst research — from many different institutional firms like Credit Suisse, and Thompson Reuters. And below that — it has this really cool module called the Trefis Analysis that shows you a break down of the company’s business model and how the different business units of the company may contribute to its stock performance.
(Finding it hard to follow along in this article? Watch the video walk through here: YouTube Link.)
Etrade’s Analyst Price Targets Page
Beyond that, the next really important section of this stock details page is the analyst research tab. This page starts off with a table that details the analyst projections for this stock. But what’s really cool about this visual, is that not only does it show what the average price target is of the stock is, within the next 12 months, it also shows a breakdown of what the high and low targets are as well as.
As you can see here, out of all 37 Ranked Analysts that evaluated this stock — the lowest target that was set was $3,048, definitely a good sign for amazon. (Target information as of late 2020. Analyst projections are always changing — so go to Etrade for the latest info.)
List of Analysts
But what’s more impressive, is the analysts’ breakdown below the chart that actually lists out the individual ranked analysts and what firm they represent as well as their price target, the average return projected for this stock and how accurate this analyst has been on projections for this particular stock, in the past. I think that’s fantastic and it’s one of the most insightful pieces of information you can get regarding an individual stock.
In addition, for every analyst recommendation — there is a link to their actual article that explains why they took this position. And that way, you’re not just blindly following their recommendation, but rather, you can evaluate their analysis for yourself.
As a beginning investor, until you start to learn and develop your own method of stock evaluation, studying and reading up on what industry professionals have to say about a particular stock is one of the best ways to glean strong/actionable insights into the performance of a particular company — as well as learn what things to look for when assessing a particular investment opportunity.
And if all of this wasn’t enough — Etrade also aggregates different ratings and measurement systems from reputable 3rd party research firms, that also provide their own buy ratings, performance indications and peer evaluations.
Needless to say, from a research perspective — Etrade can easily be your one stop shop for anything you want to study regarding a particular stock.
And finally, let’s take a look at Fidelity Investments.
Fidelity is another full-service brokerage firm whose capabilities are very similar to Etrade’s.
Fidelity’s Market Research Page
Their market research page looks like this — with top headlines from across numerous geos and sectors. They also have this really cool news filter that allows you to narrow your news feed to different topics and sources — if you were interested in focalizing your research efforts.
When you get to their stock details page, Fidelity is equally as impressive as Etrade with a wide array of analysis across the stock. They start with the company fundamentals, charts, and news like the other platforms, but they have a unique feature called this equity summary score, which is a 3rd party evaluation tool provided by research firm, StarMine — that is a quantitative factors model that provides a consolidated & normalized view of the ratings from a number of independent research providers on Fidelity.com.
Fidelity’s Stock Details Page
Some other unique things that Fidelity provides, is this environmental and social responsibility scale that shows how Amazon fares against its peers as well as a comparison chart of its closest competitors and their stock performance.
And if you scroll further down, they even have summaries of technical analysis, social sentiment, and even a list of top ETFs that contain Amazon in their holdings.
Needless to say, there is a plethora of information and tools on this site — and if you’re a data junkie like me, you can easily spend hours and hours getting lost in all of these insights.