Every good investor has to do his research before making any investment. If you buy a stock, mutual fund, or exchange traded fund then you need to checkout the fundamental before investing. There are a number of sites like Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and AOL Dailyfinance that provide lots of basic investment information. For detailed information, Morningstar is a good tool to use.
Morningstar is one of the research tools that I personally use for information. I like how the investment research service does a good job of summarizing the important parts of a business and breaks down stocks, mutual funds, and ETF’s into an easy to read format.
Morningstar gives a basic overview of a company with lots of statistical data like trading prices, P/E ratio, market cap, dividend yield, trading volume, and a number of different financial measurements.
This is an analysis of the company and the environment in which the company functions in. Morningstar breaks down the competitive landscape and gives a summary as to how things look going forward. There is a full analyst report that covers all of the latest developments and trends. The analyst grades growth, profitability, and credit risk too. Morningstar typically assigns one analyst whose job it is to review the company on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Rating & Price Target
Morningstar rates stocks on a scale from 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the highest. A 5 star stock is deemed as a must buy and a 1 star is an immediate sell. Morningstar members get access to the company’s price target for a stock and the estimated fair value. You can see how accurate Morningstar analysts are with their rankings.
Key Stats & Financials
This is where you get down to the basic fundamentals of a company. You can use the last 10 years of income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements to determine how a company is performing. This is one of my favorite sections as I believe that the financials of a company will tell you exactly how healthy the company is.
News & Events
This is where you get the latest information on any developments taking place. You can also check out recent analyst upgrades and downgrades.
Dividend investors can get all of their dividend information including recently declared dividends, distributions, and the date that the dividend will be paid. You can research dividend splits and the last five years of dividend payments.
Wall Street Recommendations
This gives you Wall Street’s rating on a particular stock. Morningstar sums up Wall Street’s opinion with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation. There are video interviews of analysts discussing the stock as well.
Coverage Of Small Caps
While Morningstar does a good job of reviewing the large and mid cap companies in the market place, the investment research service does not review many of the smallest stocks in the market. Morningstar covers some small caps and does not cover some others. It is hit or miss. Small cap analysis would be useful because it is incredibly difficult to get analyst opinions on small caps.
My Take On Morningstar
Morningstar is a service that I have used for years and enjoyed. I use the service to research stocks and to gather information. It is a good research tool to have for any investor. While I always make an investment decision on my own; I do value the information that Morningstar offers. Morningstar provides accurate up to date information which is not always the case with Yahoo and Google Finance.
I have been able to locate some real hidden investment finds using Morningstar. I discovered a mid sized steel company named Reliance Steel that made me a few thousand dollars because of Morningstar.
I have had a subscription to Morningstar’s Advisor Software for financial advisors. That software had a monthly subscription fee of over $600 a month. It was incredibly useful for my business practice and keeping track of client portfolios. This was great for me but I would not recommend it for individual investors.
Individual investors can get a Morningstar Premium Membership. This membership costs just $20.95 a month. It is cheaper to get a whole year’s subscription because that only costs $185 for the year. That lowers the cost to just $15.41 a month.
Morningstar is a good value for your money and is one of the services that I can highly recommend.