Fidelity's Research Offerings Help Online Stock Traders


Information is crucial to smart buy and sell decisions for any stock investor.

Fidelity Investments -- a favorite in IBD's Best Online Brokers survey -- knows that, so it gives investors free access to extensive research.

Barbara Friedberg, an investment management instructor at Santa Clara University and an investor who uses Fidelity's service personally and professionally, says the brokerage's research capabilities are superb.

To help them invest successfully , customers can get a quick look at a stock as well as an in-depth analysis with Fidelity's reports on more than 4,500 stocks from more than 20 third-party research firms.

All On The Screen

Fidelity's website offers snapshots, analyst reports, comparisons, stock news, charts and screens, key statistics and technical analysis.

You can also add stocks to a watch list, create your own screens and make hypothetical trades.

Online traders can set alerts to get trade notifications, market news, balance updates or stock research messages via email and mobile device. They can track real-time profit and loss details on every trade.

"It can be as easy and quick as you need if you're time-constrained," Friedberg said. "And you can also drill deeper."

Friedberg says one of the more unique offerings is Fidelity's Equity Summary Score provided by StarMine.

That score is a consolidated accuracy weighted indication of what independent research firms are saying about a stock. StarMine, an independent company, calculates the score while using a proprietary model based on daily opinions of independent research firms.

Gregg Murphy, senior vice president of the online brokerage group at Fidelity, says the website offers value to all types of investors.

"Whether you're a novice or more active trader, Fidelity provides a lot in the way of tools and platform capabilities," he said.

Recognizing that investors also are cost-conscious, Fidelity charges a $7.95-per-trade fee comparable to other online brokers.

Fidelity's offers additional services to advanced traders involved in at least 120 stock, bond or options trades in a rolling 12-month period and who maintain $25,000 in assets across their Fidelity brokerage accounts.

These traders get access to an elite set of products with available reps 24 hours a day to help with complex needs -- and get real-time, streaming market updates.

A new version of that platform, Active Trader Pro beta 9.7, streamlines many of the services offered in the previous version.

Advanced traders can also benefit from Wealth-Lab Pro, a desktop-based platform within Fidelity's Active Trader tools that lets users develop and test trading strategies based on technical analysis.

Murphy says Fidelity's Learning Center has been a hit with customers. "Customer education is really a key focus area for us," he said.

Class Time

Fidelity's Learning Center offers information, videos and Webinars on investment topics such as short selling, mutual funds, technical analysis and trading tools.

Murphy says Fidelity looks to continue developing products and platforms that engage customers. Recent data show trades through Fidelity's mobile apps grew by 40% from 2011 to 2012, and unique log-ins grew by 50% year over year.

"We're looking to expand capabilities on the ETF side and options trading," he said, "as customers are getting more comfortable with that kind of trading."

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

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