YCharts is an investment research data service that could be called the web-based version of a Bloomberg Terminal. In essence, YCharts is making a prettier, more data metrics, and user-friendly Yahoo or Google Finance while delivering hard-to-calculate data in a quick and easy format. We have updated this YCharts review for 2016.
The big question about YCharts is their service worth the cost where a good portion of it is already available for free with Google and Yahoo Finance?
In short, maybe. Founded in 2009 and with almost $8 million in venture capital funding, YCharts is targeting a niche missing in the investment research arena.
In 2011 the long standing financial research company Morningstar invested in YCharts. At first glance one might think Morningstar is a direct competitor for YCharts, when in fact it’s not.
Morningstar targets more individual and casual investors, while YCharts is going for the semi-professional and professional Wall Street traders types: RIAs, hedge fund managers, etc. That group needs much more investment equity research and metrics to produce alpha. Data accuracy is important as well, and something the free services sometimes lack. YCharts features cater to this audience very well.
(New) Updates for 2016
Since our initial review of YCharts, the service has made quite a few updates to improve the user experience. These serve to make the product even better:
- Customized company profiles on YCharts stock quote pages
- Improved organization to company key statistics pages
- Added fees to mutual fund quote pages
- New and improved index listings
YCharts Lite vs. YCharts Standard vs. YCharts Professional
YCharts has three membership options: Lite (billed annually for $40/month), Standard (billed annually for $100/mo) and Professional (billed annually for $300/mo). It appears YCharts has changed their pricing model a few times since the service was first introduced, though in discussion with YCharts, said they have grandfathered older customers to the original priced plans and will not increase pricing for older members.
For this review I’ve purchased YCharts Professional Edition which was $300/month for me. I suspect YCharts does give volume discounts for firms who want to purchase multi-seat licenses. You will have to contact them to ask.
YCharts Professional adds these features when compared to YCharts Standard:
- Excel Add-in — A powerful feature that allows users to perform your own data analysis in real-time
- Stock Screener — A very flexible way to narrow your equity search criteria
- Economic Data Verification — Go behind the numbers to the original data sources
- Sector and Industry Data — Get the latest news and compare stocks in the same sector
- 4,000 Financial Metrics — Much more data analysis then available on other free services, so you don’t have to do the legwork
- Scoring Models — Build custom scoring systems in our Screeners by combining and weighting metrics. Sort, filter, and rank results based on your custom scores.
With the service every datapoint can be charted, allowing you to see visually how a financial metric changes over time. Below is an example of one simple chart.
YCharts Features and Free Trial
Paid users have access to all financial benchmarks, and the ability to chart this data online via their YCharts account. The level of detail is incredible, and from previous research very useful. You can slice and dice data over time and compare to stocks to other stocks or over 4,000 metrics including economic data.
When it comes to numbers, if you can find it on an income statement, balance sheet, or statement of cash flows, you can turn it into a ratio and chart it with YCharts. Compared to the online free services YCharts data is much more comprehensive, but this should be no surprise for a paid service.
Users also have the ability to download and export data and charts for their own personal use (up to 100 per month for Lite, and 500 for Standard, and unlimited for the Professional plan).
The YCharts stock screener is unmatched, which allows you to sort through all publicly-traded companies based on whatever financial metrics you find most appealing.
Users can now sign up for a free trial in less than 30 seconds and get full access to the Professional product for 7 days. No credit card is required. The only limit is that YCharts doesn’t allow you to download any data during this trial period.
- Cheaper Service — When compared to a Bloomberg terminal the most expensive plan is cheaper than a Bloomberg terminal.
- Powerful Screeners — YCharts filtering options rivals the free services and has some unique filtering options.
- Excel Export — With the Professional plan you have the option to export data for your own quantitative anlysis.
- Powerful Charting — There are many options to chart past performance. If you want to share a stock performance history, with YCharts it is easy.
- Email Alerts — Get alerted the moment a stock hits a triggered price. Many options available on stock metrics, but also company news.
- Overwheming Amount of Options — To a beginner, the amount of features can be somewhat overhweming and the user interface could use some improvements.
Should You Use YCharts?
YCharts is a great way to easily compile investment research. Its stock screener is one of the best, even at YCharts Professional price point, given that it allows you to screen an average quality database for above-average ratios and fundamental data that you cannot screen on free alternatives.
However, this is not a tool you should buy just to become a better investor. It doesn’t have the detail necessary to take you from the beginning to the end of the investment process. Morningstar does have tools available for that type of individual investor but is more geared towards the casual/retail investor.
Its graphing functionality is thr gold standard on the web, and easily beats out any of the free or commercial competitors.
YCharts finds itself in the middle tier of equity research services: Much lower priced than a Bloomberg Terminal, but more costly than the web based free services. For the active semi-professional to professional investor YCharts is decent, and much cheaper than the dedicated terminal alternatives.
In so far as helping investors research good potential investments, it’s worth a look. But keep in mind this is no Capital IQ or Bloomberg Terminal. It’s a more user-friendly Yahoo or Google Finance capable of turning anything into a chart. For me, this is worth the $40/month for the Lite level (or you can pay $300/month billed annually for the professional level), but that decision is up to you as the investor.