Resources, Resources, Resources
A compilation of financial data & research tools, newsletters, publications, and alternate data sources that I utilise
As the years have flown by and Investment Talk’s readership has expanded past 10,000 readers (woo), the content matter has transformed into equal parts of self-composed research and curation. With respect to curation, readers will know that I routinely strive to highlight great content, resources, and authors in the hopes that they may find a new audience. In keeping with that style, I wanted to spend some time today highlighting a collection of resources that I use recurringly that covers financial data & research tools, newsletters, and alternate data. There are going to be omissions of some great services/products, but I wanted to only highlight those which I personally use often. If you feel any have been missed or would like to recommend some to me (as it’s likely I am simply not aware of them) then please leave a comment at the bottom of this memo. Links to the discussed sites should appear as purple text on web or email, and as bold underscored text on the Substack app. In some cases, I will leave a button.
Financial Data Tools
There are many financial data tools out there for gathering macro and fundamental data and earnings transcripts. I will be sharing only the ones I use personally.
Koyfin - Multipurpose Financial Data Tool
Use Case: For what is basically a Bloomberg Lite, I use Koyfin as my daily hub for all things fundamental and macro-related. I utilise the dashboards to monitor my own holdings where I can aggregate both of my portfolios into one dash, the filings & earnings transcripts features to stay abreast of developments, the news feed (tailored to my own holdings) for similar purposes, and the financial analysis tools to quickly pull fundamental data, as well as chart it. There is not a tool that I use more often, nor one that is more integral to my process, than Koyfin. The price ranges from free, to basic ($15p/m), to Plus ($35p/m) to Pro ($70p/m). I happen to think that Plus is the ideal tier for my use case as this includes unlimited watchlists/dashboards/chart templates, as well as full access to filings/transcripts, earnings estimates, fund exposure, and the snapshot feature.
Stream by AlphaSense - Expert Call Network to Supplement Research
Use Case: Stream is an expert call library with over 17,000 transcripts in their library and hundreds more uploaded daily. Their service allows me to gain insights from current and former Directors, Product Managers, C-suite members, and Regional Heads that possess an understanding of how companies and industries function. It’s highly informative to listen to existing management, but I find that Stream uncovers a lot of nuggets that would never be voiced in an earnings call. Alternatively, I use it to find adjacent sentiments. What has been of particular interest to me, is using Stream to locate individuals in charge of the advertising budget for their companies, and see how they view the ROI across platforms after Apple’s IDFA nuclear warhead.
The calls are transcribed as well as presented in their original audio form, and transcripts are available to be downloaded as PDFs for later use. I will be candid and state that the price tag for this service is somewhat more expensive for a retail investor, but they have a superb 2-week free trial that I think everyone should make use of. You can find a link to that below.
QuickFS - Super Fast Financials
Use Case: QuickFS is a tool that I use to get an ultra-fast fundamental view of a security. The first thing that you see once punching in a ticker is the below image. Following that, you can view any of the financial statements, as well as the key ratios, over a 10-year period. This is free. However, for those looking for 20-year statements, and the ability to export everything into excel, a fee of $35 p/m (or $29 if you pay annually) is applicable.
I must admit that in some cases, I am someone who favours comfort over practicality. I do still pay for QuickFS, but exactly the same function can be performed on Koyfin, saving you the additional subscription. In any event, I am using QuickFS for something I can do on Koyfin, but as a weird personal quirk, I just like the simplicity of QuickFS for that particular function.
ROIC.AI - Super Fast Financials, With a Little Extra
Use Case: If QuickFS seemed appealing to you, then you may actually prefer roic.ai. It possesses all the same capabilities, but with the addition of transcripts, a newsfeed for the particular stock, a financials page (which allows for multi-component charting), and a very suave “classic view” that reads like an old timely newspaper (see below). Whatsmore, the site is essentially free, with the option to support the founders with $9p/m in exchange for some supplementary features.
I would say that it’s a great cheaper alternative to QuickFS, but I think that it may actually just be a better alternative, period.
SEC Filings and IR Pages - Good Old Primary Data
Use Case: I think it goes without saying that every investor should utilise SEC filings (whether located on the investor relations page or the edgar site). Primary information, right from the source. Again, this is likely my own personal taste seeping through, as you can view a feed of filings on something like Koyfin, but I still find myself using Investor Relations pages like a neanderthal. So that I am not completely wasting your time with this one, here is a hack to set up your own automated system to allow relevant filings to be delivered straight to your email inbox for the companies that interest you.
Step 1: Create a new customised email for the purpose of alerts.
Step 2: Every company has an “email alerts” resource on its IR page. Find the companies you want to receive alerts from, and click it.
Step 3: You will then be asked what alerts you’d like to subscribe to. Typically this covers news, SEC filings, annual and quarterly reports, events & presentations, and maybe daily or weekly stock quotes. I tend to tick everything apart from the stock quotes as they can fill up your inbox, and are somewhat irrelevant.
Step 4: Simply plug in your customised email address, and repeat the process for every company you wish to track.
Step 5: Sit back and receive automated email alerts every time your basket of companies issues a filing.
A few honourable mentions to services I have used in the past, or only use sporadically.
Quartr: Quartr began life as an audio-centric transcript app, allowing users to listen to earnings calls on the go. Today, they appear to be evolving, allowing for searchable terms in transcripts, providing supplementary filings, and so forth. I do enjoy using it when I am commuting or running, but as more of a transcript reader than a listener, it’s not one I use more than a handful of times each quarter.
YCharts: Ycharts was the first financial data tool I ever forked out for, way back when I was a student. The service is somewhat of a juggernaut in the financial industry, and perhaps even one of the first to don the title of ‘Bloomberg Lite’. The visuals are aesthetically pleasing, and the data is solid, but I feel that with Koyfin in the market, they are now extensively overvaluing their product. Even the most basic tier is 2-3x that of the Koyfin Plus tier, and many of the useful features are priced-locked to higher tiers. I consistently found myself running into upgrade paywalls when using the service. Solid service, but no longer worth the money, in my opinion. My annual membership expired this year, and I have not renewed it.
Stratosphere: Likely the greatest alternative to Koyfin. The Stratosphere team are bootstrapping their way to becoming a fierce competitor in this space, already providing many of the features and functionality of its peers. The most interesting aspect of Stratosphere, however, is its decision to share company-specific metrics that are typically not present on the likes of Koyfin. Etsy’s take rate, PayPal’s total payment volume, and a host of other more granular metrics that analysts often have to export and chart themselves.
The TIKR: Another alternative financial data platform. The TIKR is another retail-friendly terminal offering transcripts, fundamental data, charting, screeners, ownership data, and more. They are also slightly cheaper than Koyfin, but I personally find the aesthetic of the site somewhat unappealing and disorganised. Many love it, and I believe that both Koyfin and TIKR are doing incredible things when it concerns access to high-quality data for retail. However, I just personally prefer Koyfin.
SimplyWallSt: SimplyWallST is a visually-focussed data platform that allows users to generate a quick report on a company of their interest, outlining valuation, growth, financial health, et al. I believe it also has a portfolio tracker. However, I mostly just use it occasionally for insider dealing data. If anyone has any great resources to attain insider trading data, hit me up in the comments.
Below is a list of services I use that offer insights outside of the realm of those I shared in the above segment.
Use Case: I believe that both services are underutilized by retail investors. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s provide credit ratings on the debts issued by public entities. In addition, they also publish concise reports outlining why those ratings have been ascribed that dive into the view of the company’s financials from the perspective of a lender (liquidity, solvency, cash flows, et al). These reports are superb ancillary sources of research to attain a more rounded perspective of companies you own or are studying.
Whatsmore, each platform published heaps of industry-level reports on a frequent basis, and much of the content can be accessed simply by creating a free account. Once you’ve done that, search for the tickers of interest, and knock yourself out.
Yardeni Research - High Quality Global Market Data
Use Case: Yardeni Research is a sell-side consulting firm that churns out an ungodly amount of highly informative, and free, information and charts on everything you could imagine that relates to global markets, indices, macro & micro, multiples, fundamental and technical indicators, consumer data, and more. If you have ever seen a chart shared on Twitter that looks like the one below, it’s from Yardeni. I visit the portal weekly to recalibrate myself to what’s going on across global markets.
The data is updated frequently, and there are too many valuable reports in the Yardeni library for me to really do it justice. I’d suggest you just hop on, have a browse through the categories and explore for yourself.
JP Morgan Guide to the Markets - Quarterly Global Market Data
Use Case: Similar to that of Yardeni. Each quarter, JPM will issue a new report (which can be downloaded as a PDF) covering equities, the economy, fixed income, international, alternative investments, factors, industries, and so forth. It stands as a snapshot of the prior three months (and further back), and recalibrates my understanding of where the market currently stands.
FactSet Insights - Market & Earnings Insights
Use Case: Factset is a financial data service business, that offers a service similar to a Bloomberg Terminal for a slightly lower price. But I am here to talk about Factset Insights, a subcategory on their website that shares articles and reports on a number of topics. Of particular interest to me are the ‘Companies and Markets’, ‘Earnings’, and ‘Economics’ reports they send out. If you have seen me sharing charts like the one below over on Twitter, they are from Factset reports.
These reports are free to access (I recommend subscribing to get them in your inbox) and contain excellent commentary on global markets using their data, as well as more granular insights into earnings periods (relative to expectations, historic averages, et al).
A List of Additional Alternative Resources
• FreddieMac: Mortgage Rate Data and Real Estate Research
• US Bureau of Labour Statistics: Macro & Micro Economics Data
• Lloyds Bank: Economic and Market Insights
Several times a week (typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) I open up my publications folder and select “open all”. I will then proceed to pick out a handful of articles that I wish to read that morning. There are reams of newsletters that I subscribe to, and so I have opted to create a top 12 (in no particular order of importance) to simplify things and highlight those which I read most often.
I will leave a shorter description of the other publications I subscribe to afterwards. It is quite likely that I have missed some out by mistake.
Content Focus: Equity Research
Cost: Free Previews or $29 p/m
Synopsis: Alex is a fantastic analyst and one that has spent more than 10 years in the industry on the buyside, most recently as part of a four-man team managing $1.2B in client assets. However, a few years ago he left that stable career to pursue TSOH. Today, he is a one-man team, churning out a consistent swath of succinct, informative, and to-the-point research on companies that he both owns and studies. He also shares his own holdings transparently, but I most value the research. There is a sense of continuity that is hard to place my finger on. Somehow he manages to smoothly follow up on companies he writes about in a way that allows long-term readers to follow along the journey of his own research into companies on his radar.
The reports are brief enough to be consumed within one cup of coffee, but informative enough to understand the KPIs of any business discussed. The greatest value I attain from Alex’s work is that his writing improves my own research process, observing how he picks apart certain companies, what he feels to be important vs less important, and the reinforcement of the importance of process & mentality that is sewn between the lines of his prose. Whatsmore, I find it to be an excellent form of idea generation. There have been a number of occasions where Alex’s work has given me the podium of knowledge from which to (a) be interested in the idea and (b) have a starting block to conduct my own research. In this way, it’s as though Alex is an outsourced analyst that brings ideas and great research to my doorstep.
Content Focus: Curation
Synopsis: Liberty’s highlights are the epitome of curation across finance, tech, science, history, and outright randomness. Issuing 3x newsletters each week, I rarely know what to expect, nor do I really care. Each issue never fails to provide me with something interesting and I find the commentary sprinkled throughout to be deeply intellectual, reflective, and humorous. It’s a newsletter that often leaves me pondering, great for the brain receptors. Amongst the large volumes of stock market-related content that I consume, Liberty offers me a refreshing splash of colour. At the very least, reading Liberty’s Highlights will make you a much more interesting dinner guest.
The content is all free, with an optional support payment. I am a proud supporter. The amount of work that goes into these issues is incredible.
Content Focus: Investment Process
Synopsis: Authored by John Huber, the managing partner at Saber Capital, readers might only expect a handful of memos each calendar year. For lack of quantity, the quality certainly makes up for it. Here you can expect thoughtful commentary that covers reflections on past failings & successes, occasional analysis of individual companies, and superb discussions about the tenants of investment processes, mindset, and frameworks for decision making, all littered with plenty of verbiages on moats, network effects, and the like.
There is no strict cadence or adherence to a particular set of subject matters. Rather, I suspect it’s mostly a byproduct of whatever Huber has percolating in his mind at a given point in time. I tend to read each new note the day it drops.
Content Focus: Valuation & Decision Making
Synopsis: Authored by Michael Mauboussin and Dan Callahan, the memos circulated from the Consilient Observer is of the highest quality. At times bordering on the academic, the issues are concise enough not to lose the attention of the reader and tend to focus on one core theme. These memos dig deep into the practical understanding of financial statement analysis, from SBC dilution to the expense treatment of intangible vs tangible assets, base rates, and DCF models. They also venture into broader topics such as observations in the creation and maturation of new markets and the unit economics of particular sectors. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I would opt to suggest that Dan and Michael’s publication translates the language of accounting to strengthen the reader’s understanding with both practical demonstration, and thought-provoking inquisitiveness. Each issue is a masterclass in analysis.
Content Focus: Companies, Markets, & Earnings
Synopsis: In a similar vein to the description I provided earlier, I enjoy reading the Companies & Markets and Earnings newsletters that are sent to my inbox each day. I am not someone who enjoys spending time reading the headlines, thus appreciate the fact that these insights are oft narrative-free. Just a presentation of the data, allowing me to deduce my own conclusions. I also greatly appreciate their brevity. In a world of information overload, this is ever more important to me.
Content Focus: Equity Research
Cost: $12 p/m
Synopsis: Abdullah’s value proposition is pretty simple. One proper deep dive into a new business each month. The granularity with which he explores the companies he writes about is fantastic, and the use of his own personal network is also a nice touch, often sharing input from other professional investors. The term ‘deep dive’ appears to have lost its meaning today, or at the least has become conflated in meaning. These, however, are proper deep dives, void of simple regurgitation of slide decks and management commentary. Abdullah presents the information eloquently, asks all the right questions, and will have the reader leave informed. I have read some of MBI’s reports on companies I have owned for 5+ years and came away learning something new.
In a similar fashion to TSOH, I get the most value from MBI’s newsletter through learning how he picks apart a business, as well as the idea generation. If I can have just one good idea per year from these services, I consider it worth it.
Content Focus: Investment Process
Synopsis: The Ensemble Capital blog, authored by Sean Stannard-Stockton et al, is one that I enjoy because of the consistency in their mantra of true long-term investing. These are folks that really do block out noise from their decision-making. The majority of memos are centred around investment processes, with the occasional splattering of commentary on names within the Ensemble portfolio.
Content Focus: Semiconductors
Cost: Free or $17 p/m
Synopsis: Semiconductors are well outside of my circle of competence, but they are such an important component in the modern world. Dylan Patel is my go-to semis guy as he is highly informed about the space, but manages to write about the space in layman’s terms for us dum-dums. The content matter will vary between research into the technology of the industry, individual companies, the industry as a whole, geographic competition, legislation, and more. I am a subscriber of the free version of SemiAnalysis (the paid version is outwith my needs currently) but still find that I get an incredible amount of information all the same. I don’t own any pure-play semi-companies currently, but given that 99% of the companies I own rely on them, I find it prudent to increase my understanding.
(9) Tker by Sam Ro
Content Focus: Financial Journalism, Curation
Cost: Free or $8.25 p/m
Synopsis: A review of Sam Ro’s Tker remarked the following: “Sometimes a financial journalist is so good at what he does that he becomes his own brand”. Upon reading that, it felt like the best way to describe what Tker is. As a tenured financial journalist, Ro’s newsletter covers a lot of ground and oscillates between macro, the stock market, headlines, and the great corporate shuffleboard. I will repeat that I am not someone who is a headline watcher. That’s because I have folks like Sam who will do that for me, compile it (those headlines which actually matter) alongside the data, and present it to me in a curated, bite-size, fashion. A great newsletter for people who are lazy with respect to keeping up with the news and macro.
(10) Asian Century Stocks
Content Focus: Asian Markets
Cost: Free or $29p/m
Synopsis: I have sung Michael’s praises before throughout Investment Talk, but he operates the greatest newsletter that covers the Asian markets, in my opinion. With so many authors fixated on the US, Asian Century Stocks provides deep dives on Asian companies, thematic reports on Asian markets and industries, interviews with investors, and curation of Asian-related news. I am a free subscriber and find that there is still an excellent cadence, quantity, and calibre of work being shared with me. A must-have for anyone who has (or wants) exposure to Asian equities.
Content Focus: Macro & Equity Research
Cost: $800 per anum
Synopsis: I believe that Valuabl may be one of the most underrated newsletters out there. Once every other week, Edmund Simms sends out an issue of Valuabl, and within that one issue there is a humorous cartoon, an update of the cost of capital, the debt cycle monitor, an aggregate look at regional valuations in stock markets across the world, all of which is concluded with 1-2 investment ideas that are sharp, to the point, and come with a robust valuation and sensitivity analyse and rating. The consistency and quality of Edmund’s work are quite something, and I most greatly value the investment ideas segment for reasons already alluded to in other publications. The form of presentation within those ideas is unique, succinctly capturing both the qualitative (narrative) and quantitative elements of a business and really driving home what the KPIs are for the thesis.
(12) Woodlock House
Content Focus: Investment Process
Synopsis: Authored by Chris Mayer, the author of 100-baggers, Woodlock House is a blog that focuses on long-term performance and timeless investment principles. I am not a hardcore subscriber to the “100-Bagger” school of thought, but I do appreciate the intrigue of studying those companies which defy the odds and quietly compound 10x, 20x, or 50x, over several decades. Most of the time, they are not in sexy industries. Much of Mayer’s memos centre around process, and the distinct lack of doom-porn mentality is something I enjoy. Markets are cyclical, but great businesses tend not to be over a long enough time horizon. I believe that’s the message that I get from Mayer’s blog.
Other Informative Publications
It’s tough to boil down a top 20, as it leaves many great publications that I read frequently out. Here is a list of other high-quality newsletters are newspapers that I enjoy reading.
Newsletters - Equity Research
• Stock Market Nerd: Superga deep dive research and earnings profiles.
• Stock Opine: Excellent equity research and earnings profiles.
• MacroOps: A blend of equity research and market commentary.
• The Crude Chronicles: A focus on energy, macro, and oil companies.
• Holland Advisors: Occasional company write-ups with a strong backlog.
• Invariant: Relatively new, but some outstanding research pieces, with a current focus on the tobacco industry. Becoming a favourite of mine.
• The Special Situation Report: Curation of Special Situations, M&A and Shareholder Activism.
• Best Anchor Stocks: Solid GARP write-ups from my buddy Leandro
• Giro Lino: Equity and Market Research on all things LatAm.
• Invest Karo India: A mixture of Indian and US company & industry write-ups.
• Scuttleblurb: A legend in the space, high-quality investment write-ups.
• Analysing Good Business: One solid company write-up every three weeks.
• Cedar Grove Capital: Equity research, curation, commentary, all very good stuff from Paul Cerro over at CG Capital.
• Value Stock Geek: Write-ups about…. value stocks from a somewhat conservative investor who fathomed the ‘weird portfolio’, which is dope.
• Value Situations: Solid curation of value and special situations
• Grizzly Research: Good for sporadic short reports
• 310 Value: Solid equity research from a buyside investor
• Piggyback: Studying the capital allocation of proven and promising value investors
• The Transcript - Curation of earnings calls
Newsletters - Other
• Snippet Finance: Curated snippets of insights across a huge range of investment relates matters.
• Banking on the Market: Authored by the fantastic Ayesha Tariq, a swath of economic and fundamental-related commentary.
• Stratechery: Ben Thompson’s legendary blog on everything tech.
• Kyla’s Newsletter: Economic and market commentary from Kyla Scanlon, presented in a vibe-friendly way.
• Latinometrics: Think if Chartr had a baby with a Latin American. Data-viz style content, about the Latin American region.
• 01 Core: High-level qualitative analysis of industry, businesses, and trends.
• Glimpse: A monthly report of surfacing trends across a broad range of sectors.
• Marketplace Pulse: Data and research on all things related to e-commerce.
• Chartr: Bite-sized, data-viz content that spans all things business related.
• More to That: A fascinating blog that explores some of the deeper incentive structures of human nature.
• A Wealth of Common Sense: Authored by Ben Carslon. Frequent, concise, humorous and educational articles about the stock market.
• Below the Line: Hard to pinpoint exactly, but its random, it’s well written, and I am always left happy. Business, trends, business models. IDK, its just great.
• The Irrelevant Investor: Authored by Ben Carslon’s partner in crime, Michael Batnick. Similar vibe to Carlson’s blog, but with Michael’s own spin.
• OakTree: Where the memos of Howard Marks reside, always an enjoyable bit of reading.
• Doomberg: Economics, markets, green chickens, and policy
• MicroCapClub: Authored by Ian Cassel, the well-known microcap investor and fund manager, the articles are not overly frequent but are always incredibly thoughtful, and I routinely read the archives.
• Neckar: Reflective insights into the past and present of financial history and operators.
• Mostly Metrics: Weekly newsletter about finance and business models authored by CJ Gustafson, a veteran tech operator. Succinct, and funny.
• Schroders: Insights from the team at Schroders asset management. Always good for a concise splash of insight.
• Musings on Markets: Authored by the Dean of Valuation, Aswath Damodaran. Speaks for itself.
• Bronte Capital: Authored by John Hempton, the zany Australian that was one of the first to blow the whistle on Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Strong archive.
• Collaborative Fund: Bitesize articles from Morgan Housel.
• Above the Crowd: Bill Gurley’s legendary blog. Not super active, but whenever it is, it’s awesome. This thing is older than me.
• The Acquirer’s Multiple: Great curation of value investing news.
• Research Affiliates: Insightful opinion pieces on markets.
• Aikya: Sporadic articles from the folks at Aikya Investment Management. Always great.
• Piper Sandler: Institutional reports on macro and market-related matters, as well as great consumer-related reports
• ESG Hound: Great snappy (sometimes snarky, in a good way) commentary on all things ESG.
• The Verge: I mostly read this for the musings on big tech
• Concentrated Compounding: Half-Year and Annual Reports from an anonymous fund manager.
• From $100K to $1M: Great curation and insights from an individual investor seeking to 10x a $100K portfolio.
• Lewis Enterprises: Only recently discovered this one, but it’s great. Can’t quite nail down exactly what the theme is, but it’s awesome with a fluid writing style.
• Calculated Risk: Everything you’d ever need to know about housing, by Bill McBride.
• Platformer: High-quality commentary on everything big tech. I only read the free articles.
• Rational Reflections: Solid curation, occasional business profiles, and a fetish for Warren Buffett.
• Baillie Gifford: Solid articles across a number of themes from Baillie Gifford Fund.
• McKinsey Insights: Good for an occasional opinion piece on an industry.
• Farnham Street: Intriguing quarterly letters from Jake Taylor.
• Fundsmith: Quarterly letters from Terry Smith
• Pew Research Center: Occasionally useful reports on consumer goods
The usual suspects. I typically pick through the following on a weekly basis. The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Tech Crunch, and Reuters.
To conclude, here are two random tools that I find using that are not strictly related to any category above.
RemoveBG - Remove Background Tool
Use Case: I use this thing daily. It allows an individual to upload an image file, and instantly remove the background from it, as well as take it a step further and hand-remove parts of the background. I mostly use this to remove backgrounds from logos and other visuals that I share in Investment Talk, so that they sync with whatever background colour the reader is viewing (white in emails and in the Substack app, or faint mustard on web). In other events, I use it to make art, like in the example below.
Commonstock - An Alternative, Less Negative, Social Platform
The only two socials I use on a daily basis are Twitter and Commonstock. Whilst Twitter certainly has the benefit of an unparalleled network effect with respect to the number of investors active on the platform, it doesn’t support long-form writing and discussion, and will never be purpose-built for investors. I feel that the quality of the conversation on Commonstock amongst the more tight-knit community, as well as the absence of trolls, makes for a refreshing reprieve from Twitter. At times, the level of engagement and feedback has been superior on Commonstock than on Twitter too.
I was a beta tester in early 2020 and later joined the company in 2021 because I believed in the mission. I say this so you can come to your own conclusions about my biases. Whatsmore, whilst the connected brokerage features are optional I do appreciate that the transparency allows me to see whether the investors I communicate with actually hold the assets in question, as well as their trade history.
I hope that everyone who reads this came away with at least one new resource that will benefit them in some way. Furthermore, please leave suggestions below if you feel I am missing out on anything that is useful in your own process. I am always hunting for new resources.
Thanks for reading,