Avid readers may recall that AAII Journal editor Charles Rotblut listed Seeking Alpha as one of his favorite Web resources in the 15th edition of AAII’s Guide to the Top Investment Web Sites. Readers may also recall a July 2011 Sitelite article on the Seeking Alpha Earnings Center. So what exactly is Seeking Alpha, and what makes it so valuable?
Seeking Alpha is a website that offers actionable stock market opinion as well as analysis. The site handpicks and publishes about 250 articles daily from the world’s top market blogs, money managers, financial experts, and investment newsletters. Moreover, Seeking Alpha is the only free online source for over 1,500 public companies’ quarterly earnings call transcripts, including those of S&P 500 companies. These transcripts are available in the Transcript Center. In addition to articles and earnings call transcripts, Seeking Alpha offers Wall Street Breakfast, a one-page daily summary of top market- and stock-related stories, and Market Currents, a blog that provides real-time, dynamic commentary on the market all day long.
The Latest Articles page can be found at http://seekingalpha.com/articles or by clicking More Latest Articles at the bottom of the Latest Articles feed on the home page. There, users can filter articles by Themes, Sectors, Country, and Highlight. Fans of Jim Cramer’s show Mad Money can access Cramer’s Picks by going to the Themes dropdown, then to Long & Short Ideas, and selecting Cramer’s Picks.
Users can screen articles with a variety of sub-filters, such as Macro Views and ETFs & Portfolio Strategy. For instance, if a user wanted IPO analysis on the U.S. technology sector, he or she would select IPO Analysis from Long & Short Ideas in the Themes dropdown, Technology from the Sectors dropdown, and United States from the Country dropdown.
Users can also search for articles, analysis and data for a company by entering its ticker symbol into the search box. For instance, if a user notices that Facebook is currently a hot topic among technology IPOs, he or she could type FB into the search bar. The result is more information on Facebook than one would think possible, especially since Facebook is not yet trading. Users can find FB market currents, FB related articles, the company description, FB vs. ETF alternatives, charts, historical prices, SEC filings, ownership, and more.
User profiles are another useful feature on Seeking Alpha. This is only available to registered users, but registration is free. Profiles are great for users who want to be contributors, because they allow users to assert their authority and credibility. Others will find profiles helpful because they allow users to follow contributors using the “My Feed” feature, located under the user’s display name on the main toolbar.
Seeking Alpha also has a useful Alerts function, which can be found on the main toolbar. This feature allows users to create portfolios or choose stocks and have related breaking news, articles, or a pre-market summary related to that portfolio or stock emailed to them. Users can also select from a long list of Daily Emails. One such email is Authors Alerts, which will send a daily list of articles by authors that the user follows.
Seeking Alpha focuses on opinion and analysis rather than news, and rather than coming from journalists, the analysis comes from investors who describe their personal approach. Since Seeking Alpha screens its contributors and proofs their articles, publishing only the best, users are assured of knowledgeable and professional articles and contributors. This is far more valuable than the countless websites that bombard users with the latest news, often repeating a story many times without regard to whether or not it moves the market. What really matters is how news affects the future value of the company, which knowledgeable contributors can say more about. In other words, there is a difference between reporting the news and analyzing it, which is what makes Seeking Alpha an invaluable tool. That is not to say users should accept everything they read on Seeking Alpha without a second thought, but they know the source has credibility and, at the very least, Seeking Alpha can illustrate a different perspective and back it up.
Contributors and readers of Seeking Alpha are all doing just that, seeking alpha, which is a measure of the excess return of a stock relative to the return of a benchmark (aka beating the market).