Individual investors don't have the money to buy expensive research reports about stocks in which they are interested. However, that doesn't mean investors have to start from scratch on each new investment idea either. Fortunately, there are many sources of information out there that attempt to provide free stock investment research.
Before continuing, it should be stressed that even though the information out there can help individuals get a head start on researching potential investments, all investors are urged to do their homework by reading up on the company of interest themselves. The company's annual report (freely distributed by every public company, both in online and hard copy form) is the best place to start.
The first place to find info is on the web sites that offer up-to-the-minute prices on stock tickers, as most of them also aggregate information from published news sources. For example Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance both carry a list of relevant articles for each stock for which they provide a ticker update. Often, however, these articles are written as news information for the general public, and don't provide the kind of analysis that investors require.
For more in-depth analysis, investors with online brokerage accounts often have access to the research reports issued by their broker firms. This can also serve as a source of useful information about various companies. Unfortunately, many companies in which investors are interested will not be covered by their brokerage firms, particularly for investors who are affiliated with a small broker.
For more in-depth analysis, there are sites out there that aggregate information across the web and thus include info from blogs, news media, research websites, conference calls, and press releases. Seeking Alpha is one of my favourites in this area, as it has a plethora of contributors that regularly assess a multitude of companies. The problem here is that the articles are not necessarily coming from a trusted source, and therefore extra scrutiny is required on the part of the investor.
That brings us to the sites out there that allow users to filter content by voting up good articles and voting down others. Value Investing News is a great site for those looking for articles that have gotten the approval of readers. This particular site focuses on stocks from a value investing point of view.
Any attempt I might have made to include all quality sites that cater to investors looking for research could not possibly have been a complete one; therefore, I have only included some of my favourites. If you have any other sites that you find useful for whatever reason, feel free to share it by commenting on this post.