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Computerized Investing > May/June 2004

Editor's Outlook

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by John Bajkowski

Our product comparison this issue examines Web-based fundamental screening services. It has been two years since we last looked at this group and a number of changes in the marketplace can be observed. Nearly one-third of the services from the prior comparison have disappeared—either absorbed by other companies, or pulled off the market due to a change in customer focus. Three services were bought out by other companies that already had a financial data presence in the industry. For example, SimplyStocks, a financial services company based in India, was acquired by a financial data company geared toward supplying financial data to institutional clients. An individual investor Web presence for such a company only makes the data seem less unique and less valuable for its institutional clients. Separately, the free stock screening service operated by Hoover’s is also gone. Hoover’s had used the service to draw individual investors into its Web site to help sell subscriptions to financial data access, but now that Hoover’s only sells data subscriptions geared toward businesses, the screening tool has been dropped.

Most of the screening sites that have vanished were free services, only to be replaced predominantly by subscription-based services with ties to print-based publications serving individual investors—Investors.com, Kiplingers.com, SmartMoney.com Select, and Value Line Investment Survey Online.

Investors.com is tied to the Investor’s Business Daily newspaper and William O’Neil’s long-running data service. The site is fee-based and sells a collection of research tools for $1,000 per year. The analysis on the site is geared toward investors looking to follow the growth and momentum strategies featured in Investor’s Business Daily, such as CAN SLIM.

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