Zecco Research Tools

Updated Saturday, February 27, 2010

Research Tools Grade: A

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The strength of Zecco's research lies in its community. Zecco has extensive tools to collaborate with other investors, including interest groups, message boards, blogs and more.  Market and company specific news and data are quite extensive.  The stock, ETF and mutual fund screeners are merely average examples of these tools while the events calendar is quite excellent  Other tools include an alerts system and an options strategy builder.  The education section covers extremely basic topics that are not very useful for anyone who is not brand new to the investment world.  There is actually a lot more than we can possibly even cover in our review but suffice it to say that investors will find plenty of useful research tools at Zecco.


Here is a look at the Zecco Community tab (click on images for larger views):

The name of this section, community, comes from Zecco's effort to stress the collaborative nature of their client base. This takes shape in the form of message boards, blogs, twitter posts and groups, which consist of members who post messages on similar topics. To join the community, create your Zecco profile and just dive in.  Here is the groups page that shows a small selection of the over 500 group available:

The message boards cover both investing and non-investing topics. With a community size of over 300,000 members, these discussions will obviously vary greatly in quality.

General market news is provided by a number of vendors.  There are also specific tabs that cover commodities, currencies, interest rates and individual sectors.

The events calendar covers macroeconomic reports, earnings announcements, dividend events, stock splits and conference calls.  This is more extensive than the events calendars found at other brokers so definitely out this tool.  Here is a view of all of the conference calls which are set to take place this upcoming week:

Searching for a stock symbols brings users to an overview page that contains company relevant news articles, typical stock market indicators, financial statements, earnings history, insider activity and Zecco community information.  If that sounds like a lot of information, that's because it is.

Zecco offers stock, ETF and mutual fund screeners.  These are all designed in a similar manner and are merely average offerings.  There are 48 stock screening criteria, with each having preset ranges. For example, users can screen for the P/E ratio of less than 5 or 5 to 10 but it would be ideal to have the ability to enter specific values instead of preset ranges. Here are the results of a screening that we ran for stocks for market capitalization, P/E ratio, dividend yield and five year annual revenue growth rate:

The Zecco options strategy builder is a tool that allows options traders to analyze potential positions for trading strategies such as covered calls and butterflies.  Here is a look at a profit and loss chart and greeks for a GE butterfly position.  Traders are going to have to decide for themselves if this sort of information is useful to them:

The alerts center is a tool that will send out emails, texts or tweets based on customizable market or stock criteria.  For example, users can trigger an email message if Apple hits a new 52-week high.  We created a few alerts outside of market hours that should have generated email messages but they never arrived, leaving us to question if the tool works as advertised.  We will reserve judgment until further examination.

Here is a look at the Zecco education page:

The first thing you will probably notice is the three video links found on this page. These short videos, hosted by "Liz", "Veronica" and "Rebecca" but let's call them Charlie's Angels for short, cover the basics of investing, fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Needless to say, their usefulness is dubious at best. Other topics on this page are very basic introductions to topics such as IPOs, stock options and bear market investing.

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