While many investors like to think they have a good grasp of how stocks work, and the ASX at large, investing in shares involves countless hours of research. It’s not enough to rely on hot tips, advertorials or recommendations from certain ‘fools’ that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Instead, you need to stay abreast of everything that is going on when it comes to financial markets, and also have the means to stay on top of managing your stock portfolio. The only way to keep up-to-date is to build a library of online resources that will help you streamline your investment decisions. That’s what we’ll cover in this guide.
Of course, there are a wide range of brokerage platforms and news publications out there, and each individual will have their own preferences – so we’ll skip those for now. In addition, let’s not forget about the endless number of providers offering charting platforms, which to some investors, might not mean all that much.
As such, our goal with this list is to focus on a selection of tools that every investor will appreciate. So, it doesn’t matter whether you believe charting is comparable to reading tea leaves, one broker is ‘cheaper’ than another, or a certain media publication is akin to tabloid material. We believe the following resources will be useful for all Australian investors.
Stock Brief is setting out to join this list and we hope every investor can harness this site to simplify their investing experience.
Since 2006, Sharesight has evolved into one of the most comprehensive portfolio tracking and record-keeping services for share investors. Not only can you track the performance of your portfolio online, including all compounding dividends, franking credits and other returns over the years, but you can also monitor and plan for your tax liabilities each financial year.
Most Australian brokers allow you to synchronise your trading portfolio to Sharesight’s tracking service. This means that you don’t have to manually update and input data every time you make a new trade. Instead, each trade is automatically tracked for you. If you do need to go back in time to manually add existing holdings, then all dividends, tax permutations and other corporate events will be automatically tracked since the time you first owned the stock.
While Sharesight is available as a free service, there are paid plans where you can potentially monitor several portfolios and an unlimited amount of holdings, plus also take advantage of benchmarking options.
Portfolio monitoring plays a crucial role when it comes to managing your investment decisions. The breadth and depth of information provided by Sharesight is only beneficial to have on your side before you make a decision. This data may ultimately prove to be enough insight to sway your choice, particularly if it means there is likely to be tax implications. A resource that should be firmly in every investor’s bookmarks tab.
A popular website in the retail investment community, Shortman serves as an all-in-one source for data on ‘short’ activity across the ASX. Short selling effectively means betting against a stock or index, allowing you to benefit as prices fall. You can search specifically by stock, certain sectors, as well as the broader market to assess short positions for each stock.
Shortman collects its data from ASIC, with a T+4 delay – that is, four trading days after a specific day. The data includes aggregate short positions for each stock. A higher percentage of short activity is indicative of a higher proportion of the company’s shares on issue being shorted.
Short data can provide helpful insights when choosing which stocks to invest in. For example, stocks with an increasing or higher proportion of short activity may be more susceptible to volatile movements.
Some reasons for this includes more people selling the stock as part of their short strategy on account of company-specific or macro concerns, or the opposite, where short holders may be forced to buy back the underlying shares and close out their position if the price rapidly appreciates, which can exacerbate price movement.
Shortman is an invaluable resource to gauge an approximate level of sentiment towards a stock you might be interested in, which is particularly useful if you plan to pick up shares for as little as possible.
If you want to beat the ‘professionals’, then you have to understand what they’re talking about. On that point, there is no better independent publishing resource than Livewire. The website is Australia's fastest-growing investment platform with more than 150,000 investors and advisers accessing it each month.
Much like a social media feed, each day a series of fund managers and investment professionals will post their musings on financial markets. Whether it be investment ideas, investment strategies or a discussion of the macro economy, Livewire provides retail investors plenty of food for thought.
Since 2013 the social media platform has grown to become the most-engaged investor and adviser website across Australia. Forget about the likes of Hot Copper, where every retail investor is out to serve themselves only, and start tuning in to a more credible and reputable source for investment content.
Who would have thought that one specific page on a site as large as Bloomberg could be as valuable as this for ASX investors? Of course, that’s not to say that all the breaking news content and stock information found throughout the rest of the site isn’t valuable, because it certainly is.
However, the Bloomberg Futures page is one of the most useful out-of-hours sites on the web. This page details the movement of ASX futures so that you can understand how the market is shaping up ahead of the trading day. That is, you may get a rough indication of where the market will open, albeit it should be noted that this isn’t always accurate.
It’s useful to follow this data because futures may shed light on any sudden news events before you read about them in the headlines, particularly if you see a sudden spike or plunge on the ASX futures page.
Just keep in mind that this futures data is delayed by up to 20 minutes. However, don’t let that deter you from bookmarking this page and following it closely between the hours of 5pm and 6:45am, from Monday evening through to Saturday morning. It might just weigh on your decision whether to make a trade in the day ahead or sit on the sidelines.
Our mission here at Stock Brief is to deliver news to investors for the stocks they own. Beyond that, however, is a whole realm of other news that shapes financial markets. And that is, economic news. Whether it be local or international news, every piece of data matters.
Trading Economics provides financial calendars for all economic news events ranging from things like inflation to unemployment, GDP, manufacturing activity and more. All this data can be tracked historically, with descriptions detailing what each piece of information means. Complete with forecasts, the data can serve as a great tool for understanding why markets react in the manner they do throughout the trading day.
As an added bonus, the site also details financial data on currencies, commodities, bonds as well as key earnings estimates and results for major stocks. That means you can track the price of gold, crude oil, copper, the Australian dollar and much more. A lot of this data may be particularly useful to review before you make an investment, with each of these indicators having a potential influence on revenue and profits.
For live data on breaking economic news, Trading Economics is well worth keeping an eye on several times a day.
While there is no shortage of investment research and data providers to consider for stock market research, Morningstar is among the best options on the web. A large chunk of the research data is limited to Premium subscribers, however, users can sign up for four weeks free access as part of a trial.
Stock data extends to valuation benchmarks, financials, operating performance metrics, ownership structure and much more. There is also all sorts of analytical insights, reports and stories available, not just limited to stocks, but also LICs, Funds, ETFs, Hybrids, SMSFs to name but a few categories.
Even if premium is out of reach for most investors, the corporate calendar, dividend calendar plus stock and fund screeners are available to all visitors. These tools alone are worthy of keeping tabs of the site. The corporate calendar will ensure that you’re clued-in for any reports or share issues set to hit the market, while the dividend calendar will let you know when your last chance might be to pick up shares in a company before they trade ex-dividend. Meanwhile, the stock and fund screeners offer to simplify your investment research by allowing you to hone-in your search to the parameters that matter to you.
For a comprehensive investment research suite, Morningstar is one resource that will help you save hours of time when conducting your due diligence.
Market Index is an independent publisher of Australian stock market information. Unlike most other sites that offer ASX data, this one puts it all in an easy-to-digest format that is also very user-friendly. It’s also home to data that would normally be found across different websites, rather than in one convenient place as it is here.
This includes charts on each index from the ASX 20 to the ASX All Ordinaries and the respective constituents that make up each index, including sector breakdowns and rebalancing adjustments. Accompanying that is performance data on each sector, summed up in handy charts. There is also historical commodity price information with the names of stocks provided that relate to each commodity. This is particularly useful if you are looking for stock ideas that leverage a particular investment thematic you might have in mind.
In addition, Market Index also posts dividend yield scan data to locate the highest-yielding ASX listed stocks with the best fundamentals from the top ~180 largest companies. There is also director transaction data. This is highly popular among those who look to the investment activity of directors in the stocks they own as a sign of faith in their company’s outlook. After all, many stocks tend to see a rise or fall in response to such announcements, even if only a short-term fluctuation.
Finally, Market Index is one of only a few sites around that lists every single ASX stock. That’s right, more than 2,100 companies all in one place, arranged by market cap size, while also providing a performance snapshot across the last year.
With so many useful bits of info in one place, and a site that is easy for beginners to navigate and understand, Market Index has become one of the best free resources for ASX investors going around.
Last but certainly not least, we have the official site of the Australian Securities Exchange. Perhaps the most authoritative source when it comes to ASX education and stock news and data, there is no diminishing the importance of the official ASX website.
From market statistics including trading volumes and values, all the way through to online courses, educational info, upcoming listings and issuances, quotes, broker reports, company and product information – there is no shortage of information to absorb and improve your investing skills and knowledge.
The ASX also has a hugely popular Sharemarket Game that attracts thousands of participants as they compete to win cash prizes. This virtual investment portfolio tool is a great mechanism to practice paper trading yet still have something ‘on the table’ to play for.
The information contained on this website in no way reflects the opinions of Stock Brief nor its associates. All information is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security or other financial instrument. The information provided is not general or personal advice and you should assess whether said information is appropriate to your needs, or seek advice from a financial advisor. You may require detailed and/or up-to-date information to consider the merits of any prospective investment in a stock mentioned on this site, therefore, you should not rely on the above information to make a decision with respect to any investment discussed.
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