Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 key metrics you present on every stock?

At the top of every stock page, we highlight 5 key metrics. They are a way to judge the quality of a stock, and immediately identify any key risks.

• The first test looks at whether a company is profitable. Profitable businesses tend to be less risky than non-profitable ones.

• The second test, checks if a stock pays dividends. Businesses that pay dividends are generally of higher quality that businesses that don't, other things being equal.

• The third test looks at the long-term and short-term growth forecasts for a business. Obviously, a business that is growing has better prospects than one that isn't.

• Fourthly, we look at the valuation of the stock, using the price-to-earnings ratio and compare it with the company’s peers. In this case, a stock with a lower/ cheaper valuation compared to its peers ought to be a better investment than one with a higher valuation than its peers, all other things being equal.

• And with the fifth and final metric, we look at the opinion and recommendation of the stockbrokers. We get the average recommendation of all stock brokers as provided by Thomson Reuters, and we look at whether the price target forecast is higher or lower than the current price These two elements give us our last test. The brokers will rate some stocks a Buy, some a Sell. They forecast price targets that are sometimes higher, sometimes lower than the current price. A business which the consensus of experts on "Wall Street" think is a Buy with a forecast target price that is above the current share price may be better quality than a business that is rated a Sell with a price target below the current share price.

Using these 5 metrics helps to identify the relative strengths of one stock versus another in respect of these data points. With these metrics you can start to judge the quality of a business, how it compares to its peers and what the professionals think.

But please, don't make a leap, and assume that a stock that passes all 5 tests is a better investment than a stock that passed a lower number of tests. In every walk of life quality and price diverge. High quality products can be over-priced. Low quality products are sometimes selling at bargain prices. It's the same for stocks.

Please use these 5 key metrics as the starting point for your research. At Stockflare, we present a wealth of information on every stock. You can click into each data box and access the underlying information. For example, if you are looking at Apple Inc you'll be on the page But if you want to see the information about it's latest results you should click through and you'll get to

Make sure to do your research, properly. That means looking at additional information sources to Stockflare. For example, a company's website has an investor relations section. It is really insightful. There will be press releases, presentations, and results information. In the US, there are sites like the SEC Edgar database with official filings and Seeking Alpha with research. Whatever you do, please think carefully and rationally before investing.

What are filters?

Filters help you to narrow down the stock universe.

Our "Pick Stocks" feature is a classic stock screener. Anyone can use a selection of our filters to find their own stock ideas.

You can choose the country you live in, a sector you like, then think about the type of company you like. Filter to get results. And re-filter to hone your choices.

You've a lot of control on the way you cut and re-cut the information. You can select different countries, currencies, sectors, industries, different ways to value businesses, and look at whether the companies are loved or hated by Wall Street.

Imagine, there are over 47,000 publicly listed stocks in our database. (No private companies, only listed stocks). We get data on almost every stock market in the world from Thomson Reuters. (That's all stock exchanges bar Iran, at the moment.) We then take this data, exclude any duplicates or stocks where Thomson Reuters has no financial data or estimates from stock brokers, and load the information into our database. As a result, Stockflare is probably one of the most comprehensive, objective databases of all the stock markets in the world that is freely accessible on the web.

How do the filters work?

Use the side menu on our “Pick Stocks” page to choose the filters to run your analysis.

No one is going to scroll though 47,000 stocks, looking at the information on each as they go. At least we hope not!

Our default option is to display the largest companies first. But you can reverse this order. Alternatively you can sort the data by share price or by our star rating.

Users then have access to the entire Thomson Reuters Business Classification system, as a way to focus in on the sector, industry or activity that they are interested in. We believe that Stockflare offers the most granular sector drill down of any freely available web service.

Then you can select a specific country, search for a country, select a region or select a currency.

Within the "Investment Style" drop down there are 3 sub-sections. Investment Style, where users can choose between Value, Growth or Quality. "Sentiment" where we look at the consensus recommendation data from Wall Street, so users can filter by stocks where the recommendation is Buy, Sell or even focus on the stocks where there is no research coverage. "Momentum" where a user can filter the database into stocks near recent highs or recent lows, stocks that are trading above their ten day moving average or below their ten day moving average.

The second last set of filters relate to the underlying business fundamentals of stocks. Here users can filter based on the size of the company, whether it is profitable, pays dividends, is forecast to turn a profit in the coming period, growing or not, forecast to grow at a double-digit rate, has net cash or has net debt.

The final drop down, looks at valuation metrics. Users are able to filter the entire universe based on the PE ratio, dividend yield, price to book value, price to sales and price to operating profit.

Today, we do not provide sliders for users to hyper-filter the database. However, we plan to offer incremental flexibility in the future so anyone can design a very specific set of rules for their own unique stock screening.

What is the Explore section?

It's a set of pre-set stock screens.

Although the core benefit of using Stockflare is getting to the key data on any stock quickly, we are also great at rapidly helping people run a stock screen. Helping anyone filter the entire universe of stocks, so our users can research new investment ideas, on their own.

But getting started with our "Pick Stocks" stock screener can be a little daunting at first. That's why we built our "Explore" section. Here we list 21 different stock screens.

For example, "Hated by Wall Street" looks up all the stocks in the database that have market value over $500 million dollars that have a consensus recommendation that is either a Sell or a Strong Sell. You might call this a "contrarian investor's" stock screen. Taking a position that is diametrically opposed to the view of Wall Street.

Another example, "Tech Titans" looks up all the stocks in the database that have market value over $50 billion dollars that are in the Technology sector, as defined by the Thomson Reuters Business Classifications.

Today, our Explore service is designed to help users understand the flexibility of our filtering service. In the future, we'll let users save their own stock screens to their own Explore section. That way users will be able to quickly re-run their favourite screens, as and when they want.

Can I buy shares via Stockflare?

No, but yes!

We are an information business. We crunch through large quantities of financial data and present the information in a simple and useful manner. So we don't actually provide a brokerage or investment service.

But users have 2 options. Firstly, in the US you can connect your existing brokerage account to Stockflare and then Buy shares for that account from within Stockflare. Secondly, if you don't have a US brokerage account, you can open one via our partner DriveWealth LLC.

Finally, we may start providing investment services in the future. Though we'll only do that once we have the right regulatory approvals in place.

How do I buy shares?

Get a trading account.

If you are new to the stock market, you’ll need to get yourself a trading account. Here is a list of some of the best firms we know of.

Alternatively, check out the “discount online brokers” in your country. They are firms that charge small flat fees per trade. They don’t give you advice or research or a personalised service. Nor do they charge high-fees or take a fixed percentage of your money every year. Imagine paying 2% a year to someone to manage your money. 10 years later they’ve got 20% of your money!

Is investing in shares risky?


It’s very risky. You can lose all your money. Yes, all, if the value of the company you’ve invested in plummets.

Or worse, you could speculate, borrowing money to invest in shares and then lose even more money that the cash you invested. That’s called investing on margin.

Brokers love lending you money to trade. Fees, fees, fees. Even though they could bankrupt you.

So please careful, invest, don't speculate. Think of the long-term, not a quick buck.

So how do I mitigate the risks?

Beware! Do your research. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Invest in what you know. Don’t buy things you don’t understand. Don’t borrow to invest, as that’s speculating, not investing. If there’s nothing you like out there, just do nothing. No one "lost" money sitting on their cash. Yes, inflation will eat the value of your money, but it's better to do nothing that something stupid.

Even after you've done all your research, remember, there is no data on the future, no crystal ball. So it's important to not put all your eggs in one basket. The professionals talk about the need to diversify. They are right. Don't put 100% in any one asset, e.g. stocks or real-estate. Don't put 100% into any one company.

What is goals based investing?

It's the best way for people to think about their investments.

The professionals live in a world where markets are efficient and their primary goal is to beat an index. Even if the index is falling. What a bizarre assumption to build your industry on! Professionals sell their services on their ability to beat a benchmark, even though they base their strategies on the premise that the market is perfectly priced.

The regular appearance of bubbles raises serious doubts over both the Efficient Market Theory and Modern Portfolio Theory. Worse, the inability of any professional to outperform their benchmark, either consistently or long-term, is a further sign that the asset management industry's focus on risk-aversion is far from perfect.

At Stockflare, we aren't fans of risk-aversion strategies, for us humans. If the market is down 20% and you are down only 15%, will you feel good about yourself? Unlikely.

Similarly, telling someone they should put 40% of their money in bonds and 60% in equities isn't easy to explain to anyone, even if it makes it easy to sell funds and private bank accounts. Remember, if you don't understand it, maybe they don't want you to understand it!

We prefer behavioural economics to modern portfolio theory. We are human after all, and our biases affect our judgements. Investing is no different. We chase bubbles, ignore signals that contradict our views. And above all, we do not like losing money.

Loss-aversion counts, not risk-aversion. So the best way for anyone to approach investing is goals-based investing, in our view. When you think of your savings, put them in three compartments. First, the emergency fund. A portion of your savings that needs to be easy to access and very low risk. Then, the big purchase fund. The portion of your savings that'll go towards a deposit on a house, your kids education. This portion needs to be in low to medium risk investments. And finally, the retirement fund. This portion goes into higher risk investments, is going to fluctuate over the long-term, but is going to grow over the years. It's the last portion that Stockflare is here to help you with.

Are trackers and ETFs good investments?

Yes, when they are low cost, passive investments.

Trackers and ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) have been popularized by firms like Vanguard and iShares. When used correctly they do an excellent job, of doing what's "written on the tin".

Their primary advantage is to charge low fees. Vanguard estimates it charges 0.2% a year to it's clients versus 1.2% by the active managers. 1% compounded over a lifetime of saving ends meaning you have 30% less in your pension that the person who takes the low-cost route.

The second advantage is they manage themselves. So you get to track an index, at low cost, and don't have to devote any time to picking the underlying investments. That leaves us with just two jobs. Firstly which ETFs to buy. Secondly, to boost the amount we save.

But they have disadvantages too. Firstly, typically, you are buying the market, so you get to own the good and the bad. You aren't weeding out companies or sectors you don't believe in. Secondly, most ETFs are calculated based on the size of the companies. So overvalued stocks get more attention than undervalued companies. In bubbles, this dynamic is accentuated, driving the value of the bubble stocks higher. Thirdly, a recent trend has been to create "synthetic ETFs" where you aren't actually buying the underlying investments, but taking a bet with the balance sheet of the firm selling you the ETF.

Weighting the pros and the cons up, we love ETFs and see them as a valuable part of any investment plan.

Shouldn’t I trust the professionals with my money?

Perhaps. But the odds are stacked against you.

Firstly, if you've less than $500,000 for a professional to manage, you are unlikely to get a seasoned wealth advisor who'll be willing to help you. Most of us don't have that level of wealth. Though equally our needs are likely to be a lot less complicated too, fortunately.

Secondly, even if you can get a good professional to be your advisor, all the performance data shows that few asset managers are able to beat their benchmark consistently or over the long-term. So even the "good" professionals aren't a great choice.

Thirdly, most of them work on a percentage of assets fee model, i.e. they charge you to look after your money, even when they invest it poorly. Rain or shine, you pay a fee. There is a select group, called hedge funds that have a performance fee built in too. But that performance fee is on top of the annual management fee.

So it's not surprising that, many people give up and buy index funds. Going to the professionals who've given up actively managing money but purely track the major indices.

Are you giving me advice?

We don’t give advice, we don't recommend.

Just like Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance,, Motley Fool, and other similar sites, we don’t tell you what to buy, what to sell. We don’t make recommendations. Our website provides financial data in an easily accessible form. That’s all.

The results of your investment screens using our filters merely provide you with ideas for future research. They are not a buy list or set of recommendations and should not be treated as such.

We focus on the objective data, which we buy from Thomson Reuters. We give you access to all the key metrics behind every publicly traded stock in the world (that is covered by Thomson Reuters). With this information, you can do your own research. We avoid subjective data and opinion, other than the consensus views from Wall Street. For example, we don't provide research reports from stock brokers, we don't provide news and reporting.

You will see the phrases “Buy”, “Strong Buy”, “Sell”, “Strong Sell” and price targets for stocks. These are all from the Wall Street consensus. They are not the views of Stockflare, or our main data provider, Thomson Reuters. Just like Thomson Reuters, we don't endorse the views or forecasts of "Wall Street". They are simply a great insight into the sentiment of the professionals.

What's a "Wall Street" consensus recommendation?

It’s an average.

There are tens of stockbrokers writing research on every single company. These professionals talk to the management teams, talk to the big shareholders, analyse the competitors and the market. Then they write reports on the health of the companies and recommend to clients if they should “Buy” or “Sell” the shares.

But like economists, stockbrokers rarely agree. Some think a stock is going up, others think it is going down. They’ll even tell you the stock will go nowhere. They call that a “Hold”.

To cut through the disagreement, the big financial data companies, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, Factset, S&P Capital IQ, publish what they call the “consensus”. Bit of a misnomer given there is rarely a consensus.

In fact, this is the average of all the forecasts and views of the stockbrokers, for that particular stock. Just like the “wisdom-of-the-crowd” shows, the average is typically a better, more consistent forecaster, than hanging your hat on the views of any 1 stockbroker.

Why do you keep talking about “Wall Street”?

“Wall Street” isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind!

We use the phrase Wall Street to collectively talk about the views of the professionals. The stockbrokers, investment bankers, investment managers, hedge funds, private bankers and other people who make their money off investing.

These are the highly paid folks, who in aggregate can’t beat the stock market. Not a surprise, given they are the market. But what is a surprise is that so many of them actually underperform the market. Though that’s after they’ve taken their juicy fees.

If I lose money who’s fault is it?

It’s your fault, unfortunately.

You are in control of your financial destiny. You decide. You research. You check. You discuss ideas with the people you trust. You make the decisions.

Stockflare is here to give everyone access to large quantities of financial data, objective information in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use manner. We are not a "free" provider of investment research. Our users have to do their research, and make their decisions themselves. And we believe that everyone has the skill to manage their investments. Our goal is to give you the key tools you need to do it well.

Many people don't want to take the risk of losing money. So they outsource the blame to the professionals. And with the way the professionals report their performance to us, we are often in total ignorance on how they are doing. If you lose money this way, its cold comfort that someone else took the decision that failed you.

Are my savings insured?

Not by Stockflare, sorry.

In the US, most brokerage firms are regulated by FINRA and deposits with brokers are often insured by SIPC, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. In the UK, most investment firms are member of the FCSC, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Many other countries have similar protections and insurance schemes in place.

If your money is held by a brokerage or investment firm that is insured, then you may be covered. However, these schemes tend to protect you against any negligence by these firms. They do not protect your savings in the case you or your advisor makes bad investments.

Stockflare, like most information websites, is purely a research tool. We don't advise, we don't direct and we don't hold your savings.

There are no free lunches or one-way bets in investing. If anyone suggests so, beware.

Where does your raw data come from?

Thomson Reuters, mainly.

We buy the core of our financial data from Thomson Reuters. They are one of the leading professional information companies in the world. Their financial data is used at thousands of “Wall Street” firms with hundreds of thousands of professionals relying on their data and services to make their investment decisions.

All the major websites like Google Finance, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC, etc buy data from Thomson Reuters. So you may not realise it, but you are already a customer of theirs, indirectly at the least.

We run present financial information it in a way that anyone can understand, quickly.

In addition to Thomson Reuters we use the exchange rate data from so we can make like for like comparisons across markets.

Why is the data not real-time?

We plan to add real-time data as soon as we can.

For computer-driven algorithm traders at large investment banks, it is critical. For those of us who login to our accounts intermittently, it's less valuable.

But let's be clear, real-time is relative. Who’s real-time? Large stocks like Apple or Wal-mart trade on over 12 different stock exchanges. So which price is the right one?

Even the professionals don’t really use real-time prices. Their computer algorithms do. So unless you are a computer and paying millions to directly connect to the stock exchanges, you should treat all suggestions of real-time with scepticism.

Why isn’t the data with a 15 minute delay?

In the US we provide data with a 15 minute delay. But not outside the US yet. Again, like real-time data, this information is costly.

Fortunately a lot of data isn't connected to the price that's constantly fluctuating. The profitability, the dividends, the price targets, forecast revenues, cash, the broker recommendations and price targets, etc.

Yes, pricing data is important, but it's only of use when you have the rest of the data too. That is, unless you only believe in technical analysis, (yes, joking)!

So some of your information is out of date then?

Between trading hours, yes.

We get end-of-day data from Thomson Reuters, at the moment.

Any of our data that uses a price is out of date, when the stock market is trading. For example, a PE ratio, calculated by dividing the price by the earnings figure, would be out of date. If a stock is up 2%, we’ll not have updated the PE ratio from 10.0x earnings to 10.2x.

Other data points like: does it pay a dividend; what’s its earnings; does Wall Street like the stock; these, all remain the same. They have nothing to do with the price of the stock.

If you are looking for a new idea, at the weekend, before the market opens, or when you are on the way home at night, you’ll be seeing the latest information.

Is everyone else’s information out of date too?


Have you ever come across a large database where 100.00000% of the data is right? Even Google will occasionally give you the wrong telephone number or directions.

We’ve spotted problems on many of our competitors websites. We’ve found major errors in the large professional data providers databases too. Some of those errors then don’t get picked up by the large financial websites. They just take the raw data as it is, and push it to their users, errors and all.

Remember, computers and humans are involved. Its a lethal combination for accuracy.

So be vigilant. If you see a number that doesn’t look right. It probably isn’t.

Are some of your numbers wrong?


Like any big data company, we’ll have errors. So please let us know if you spot one. Or if you have the faintest doubt about any information at Stockflare, tell us.

We try our best, with automated checks, random sampling of the data, and audits. But we won’t catch everything. So please help us. We really appreciate the community spirit.

What is a watch list?

It’s your favourites.

Stockflare isn’t just a way for you to search for new ideas, stocks you’ve not thought of before. The “unknown unknowns” as Donald Rumsfeld would say.

We also want you to keep track of the companies you know and the companies you already own. That’s what a watch list is for. You can add companies to it, and then look at our analysis of your favourite companies, side-by-side. We’ll even tell you if Wall Street hates any of the companies you add to the watch list.

By the way, you’ll need to register to have a watchlist.

What is the benefit of registering?

Save your ideas.

For example, watch lists. If you want us to track a list of companies for you, then we’d like to know who you are. That way, you can come back anytime on any device and see the information on the stocks you care about most.

Similarly, if you access Stockflare from multiple devices, you’ll need to register if you want to access the same profile across your devices.

Plus there’s that little chestnut, privacy. Better to put sensitive data behind a password, eh?

Can I connect my real portfolio to Stockflare?

In the US, yes.

If you have an account at Fidelity, E*Trade, Scottrade or one of the major brokerage firms in the US, you are able to connect the account to Stockflare and see all your positions inside our service. We use the technology of a great New York based partner called Trading Ticket.

Check out the list of accounts we support here. We'll add other brokerage firms as fast as we can.

How do you decide who are a company's competitors?

It’s not a science, sadly.

Thomson Reuters have an extensive database that divides and sub-divides all the stocks in the world into 10 sectors, that divide into 25 business sectors, that divide into 52 industry groups, that divide into 124 industries, that divide into 837 activities.

We take the "activity" for a stock, and check if there are at least 10 competitors in the same activity in the same region with a market value in US dollars of over $100 million. If there are, then we use these competitors to calculate the peer average. But if there aren't at least 10 competitors, we then, move up to the "industries" level to see if there is a sufficient number of competitors to calculate an average.

We repeat the checks, to see if there is sufficient data at this level, and if not we move to the "industry groups" level.

Our goal is to algorithmically generate a peer list, that is objective and robust. Though please note, we plan to let our users edit the peer groups themselves, inside their own profile, in the future, just in case you don't agree with the peer lists generated using Thomson Reuters classifications.

Who is Stockflare?

4 folks in the UK.

We are a London based startup. A team of 4 with experience in finance, technology, and consumer businesses. We own the company too.

We need Stockflare ourselves, to help us find new ideas. We share the same pain as everyone else. That’s what we are here to fix.

Is Stockflare independent?

Yes. We’ve no axe to grind.

We aren’t a stockbroker who want’s you to trade more and more. We aren’t an investment bank who doesn’t tell you what they really think about a stock for fear of offending the company’s CEO. We aren’t an investment manager, taking a percentage of your money in fees, regardless of how good or bad we are. We aren’t selling your data to some vulture fund, so they can trade against you.

We strive to be independent and unbiased. We need to earn your trust. And to do that, we have to prove to you that the information we give you is of the highest quality and not tainted by some ulterior motive.

How does Stockflare make money?

Sadly we don’t, at least not a lot.

At least not yet. Again, it’s one of those horrible problems of being a startup. Once we’ve got to a sufficient size, we’ll start making money. But for now, we are investing our own money, every day, in building and running Stockflare.

So what is the plan?

We admire Amazon. They make money by helping people find what they are looking for. It's a subtle but key difference to a company who goal is to sell books, etc. We want to help people improve how they invest. So logically, we want to help people find the right investments and then buy them. That's a subtle difference compared to a company that wants its users to trade more and more. If we get into the asset management business, we'll need to guard against doing what's right for short-term revenues and focus on what's right for our users long-term.

You say investing is simple. Is it?

Yes, if you stick to the rules.

Warren Buffett said “investing is simple, but not easy”. The main problem is ourselves. We get over excited, too confident, sloppy. When that happens we make mistakes.

One of the biggest mistakes is to rely on the recommendations and advice of others. The talking heads on financial television, the research reports of investment banks, the tips you read in a newspaper. Please, do the research. Talk to the people you trust. Work out what investments are right for you.

For us here at Stockflare, there are two golden rules to investing successfully. Don’t lose what you’ve got. And grow it.

Simple as it sounds, they aren’t easy rules to stick to. If all your friends are piling into hot stocks or junk bonds, it’s difficult to resist. But trust your instincts and you’ll be fine.

Just remember what Fidelity Investments most successful fund manager, Peter Lynch recommends, “Know what you own, know why you own it… and never invest in a stock you can’t explain with a crayon”!

How do I connect my brokerage account?

If you have a US brokerage account, you may be able to link that account directly to Stockflare.

To do this, go to your Watchlist and click the New Brokerage button. Currently we are able to connect with accounts at DriveWealth, E*Trade, Fidelity, Interactive Brokers, Schwab, Scottrade, OptionsHouse, TradeStation and Tradier.

Note: you will need to have your account details to hand.

We use the technology of Trading Ticket LLC to connect into these brokerage firms.

How secure is the connection?

Our infrastructure partner, Trading Ticket LLC, provides the technology that connects into your brokerage account. They use the same 256-bit encryption and physical security that banks use. Furthermore their practices are monitored and verified by VeriSign and TRUSTe. Neither Stockflare nor Trading Ticket store any of your information, and your session is closed as soon as your order is sent to your broker.

For example, when you enter your account name and password, we at Stockflare to not see or store that data, we transmit it to Trading Ticket, who use it to connect to your brokerage account. We receive what is called a "token" from Trading Ticket. The next time you use Stockflare to connect into your brokerage account, it is that token that is used to authenticate your request. Therefore we do not have to store your account details and password.

Are there any fees to connect my brokerage?

No. There are no fees.

The data at your brokerage firm is owned by you! We aren't charging you to connect the accounts. The aim is to make it easier for you to use the data and analytics at Stockflare. Our goal at Stockflare is to provide all users with free access to our data and analytics.

Only users who want to get regulated advice need to become paying clients.

What is a fractional share / $ based investing?

At most brokerage accounts, you invest in terms of the number of shares you want to buy. And given the price of stocks vary, for a given $ amount, the quantity of shares you'll get is different. So if you've $500 to invest and the price per share is $65 you need to calculate that you've enough cash to buy 7 shares, and you will only get to invest $455 of your money.

With fractional share buying, sometimes referred to as $ based investing, you don't have to do the math. You say you want to buy a specific $ amount of stock and your broker buys it, including a fraction of a share. In our example, you'd end up with 7.6923 shares of the company.

Like anything, there are pros and cons.

On the positive side: investing $100 is more intuitive to a novice investor than buying 1 share @ $65; investors can buy a stake in stocks like Amazon and Google where the price of 1 share would be too high for them; fees are low in absolute terms at $1 a trade or $1 a month, and; the account is covered by SIPC insurance just like a regular brokerage account.

On the negative side: you can't do limit orders and only get to buy at-market; you don't get voting rights, and; although $1 a trade sounds small, if you are only investing $50 at a time that still works out at a hefty 2.5% fee per trade.

At Stockflare, our partner DriveWealth LLC provides a fractional share trading service. So if you'd like to learn more, check out the details here.