Schwab Research Tools

Updated Sunday, July 24, 2011

Research Tools Grade: A

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The Schwab research offerings will wow investors in both breadth and quality.  Stock specific pages include a nice selection of fundamental data metrics with related charts.  News articles and research reports are provided by a broad array of sources, including an in house Schwab research team. The market calendar and screener tools are probably the best designed examples of each that we have seen.  Dedicated stocks, options, ETFs and mutual funds sections all contain a plethora of information.  The country specific investment pages are simply excellent.  The various option and retirement tools are also very well done.  Whatever research tools you are after, Schwab should have you covered.


Most of the Schwab research tools can be found within the Research tab found in the top menu of the Schwab website menu.  In this review we will take a look at some of the many menus, tools, reports and more.

Stock Quote Pages
Stock quote pages include a nice selection of information ranging from news, prices and research tools.  Company related news articles are provided by MarketWatch, Associated Press, UPI Newstracker, StreetInsider and Reuters.  Schwab and third party analyst ratings are included, with the Schwab ratings also featuring a page dedicated to breaking down the rationale behind each rating.  Here is the Schwab rating page for Netflix (NFLX) (click on images for larger views):

Moving on, the dedicated stock pages also feature a fundamentals tab which contain charts and metrics covering earnings, estimates, growth trends and valuation figures.  These pages have highly useful information that is presented in an intuitive format.  All of the basic accounting statements - balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows - are also accessible for all publicly traded companies.  Company specific research reports are provided by Schwab and a selection of third party research houses.

U.S. Markets
The main U.S. Markets page contains a list of news articles, market briefs, research reports and more:

Market News
Market related news articles provided by MarketWatch, Associated Press, UPI Newstracker, StreetInsider and Reuters.

Most Actives
The Most Actives tab contains a breakdown of the most active, leading % increase / decrease and leading $ increase / decrease on the NYSE, NASDAQ or AMEX.  Also included here is a breakdown of advancing versus declining stocks and top / bottom performing sectors, industries and sub-industries.

View quotes for all of the major US and international indices from this tab.

International Overview
The main International Overview page lists the S&P country indexes from around the world:

Regions & Countries
This tab features detailed market pages for over forty different countries.  Each country page contains a stock index chart, sector breakdown, country economic profile, country risk level provided by The Economist, relevant Credit Suisse research reports and a list of funds that offer investment exposure to that country.  These country specific pages are fantastic.

Credit Suisse Reports
Daily commentary, global industry research, company updates and investment strategy reports provided by the global bank are found in this tab.  These reports are frequently published and quite detailed.

Allocation Guidelines
Allocation Guidelines provides guidance for asset allocation choices.  Guidance is adjusted based on risk appetite while recommended allocation mixes consist of stocks, bonds and options as well as specific global equity markets.

Understanding International Investing
This tab provides a table that breaks down investing options per ETFs, mutual funds and individual stocks.  A list of advantages and disadvantages per investment choice is also provided.

The Industries tab lists the major S&P 500 industry indices with accompanying comparison chart showing performance difference between that industry and the S&P 500.  Select a particular industry to view the performance metrics for the largest companies that make up that industry.

The Schwab calendar lists upcoming events.  Events can be filter per event type (economic releases, earnings, dividends, stock splits and conference calls) and date.  This is one of the better economic calendars offered among all brokers.  Here is a list of economic releases and earnings announcements for a particular date:

Rating Changes
This section lists the most recent analyst upgrades and downgrades.  Ratings are provided by research analysts at Schwab, Argus Research, Standard & Poor's, Briefing.com, Credit Suisse and Ned Davis.

Market Insight
The Market Insight tab features commentary provided by Schwab research analysts.  Commentary is provided for general market insight, general investing, retirement, personal finance and more.  Also included here is the Schwab magazine On Investing and the occasional webcast.

The Reports tab houses all of the analyst research reports, which are provided by the same research firms mentioned previously.

Schwab offers separate screeners for stocks, options, mutual funds and ETFs.  For the stock screener, there are over 100 screening criteria, with each criteria being fully customizable.  Results are shown with the screening criteria listed in separate columns, with each column being sortable.  This is one of the best stock screeners available anywhere.  Here is a screen that we created based on price/earnings (P/E), price/book (P/B), price/sales (P/S), revenue growth rate and market capitalization:

Comparison Tool
The Comparison Tool is an easy way to compare up to 5 different stocks, mutual funds or ETFs.  Criteria includes basic pricing information, research analyst ratings, fundamentals, earnings and more.  This is a pretty nifty tool.  Here is a comparison between Apple, Google and Microsoft stocks based on fundamental criteria:

Schwab Equity Ratings Performance
This section shows the historical performance of stocks broken down as per Schwab equity analyst ratings.  This is a good way to gauge just how accurate the Schwab analyst ratings have been in the past.  Based on the current results it looks like the Schwab equity research team has been spot on for many years.

Option Trade Assessor
Find and execute option trades by utilizing the Options Trade Assessor and selecting an underlying stock, options trading strategy, expiration date and additional optional factors.  Results are shown with a selection of important trading metrics.  Charts are also available which show a graphical representation of potential gain / loss per trade.  This is an excellent tool for everyone from the most beginner options trader to those with many years of experience.  Here are the results generated when we searched for a covered call strategy on Apple (AAPL):

Option Builder
The Option Builder tool helps options traders to build, price and trade advanced multi-legged options orders.  We think the previously mentioned Trade Assessor tool does a better job of handling this same functionality.

Option Strategy Finder
The Option Strategy Finder tool helps traders find general trading strategies by prompting users with a series of multiple choice questions.  This tool does not provide trade specific suggestions but rather is limited to general strategies.  This tool is geared towards options traders with low to medium trading experience.

Schwab Portfolios
With the Schwab Portfolios tool, select a risk profile and investment amount and receive a diversified selection of no-load no-transaction fee funds.  We like the idea of this tool but we feel that it is rather limited in its current state and could be truly useful with additional customization and features.

Schwab Target Date Funds
This section provides an overview of Schwab's target date funds, which are retirement date targeted funds each of which are composed of a selection of individual Schwab mutual funds.  The expense ratios are fairly reasonable but we will leave it up to readers to decided if target date funds are worthwhile investment options.

Schwab MarketTrack Portfolios
Similar to the target date funds, the Schwab MarketTrack Portfolios are mutual funds each of which are composed of a selection of individual Schwab mutual funds.  The expense ratios are again reasonable.

Schwab CD OneSource
Find the CDs that have the highest yield by maturity with this tool.

Learning Center
The Learning Center features articles and videos covering everything from how to use Schwab specific tools to describing general investment philosophies and strategies.

Retirement Assessment
The Retirement Assessment tool provides an analysis of where investors stand at meeting their retirement goals.  Answer questions such as current income, current retirement assets and current savings levels and the tool does the rest.  The end results show expected retirement funds at the time of retirement and compares this to a benchmark based off of life expectancy and spending habits.  This is a simple yet effective tool in is excellent at setting retirement expectations.

Roth IRA Conversion Calculator
This tool analyzes whether keeping funds in a traditional IRA or converting them to a Roth IRA makes the most investment sense.  The analysis provided is simple yet very useful for a great deal of people.

College Savings Calculator
This tool provides an analysis of where investors stand at meeting the college savings account plans for their children.  The net result is an action plan that makes an annual savings suggestion based on the funds needed to fund college.

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