Markets may be global and cross-continental communications instant. But it's still a heck of a lot harder to get information about overseas stocks and markets than about, say,
Today, in this fourth part of my
series on international investing, I talk about some good info sources online for overseas investors. Tomorrow I respond to some reader questions from the series. Please stay in touch with an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include your full name.
What Works in Overseas Investing
Getting Started At Trading Foreign Stocks
Schwab Leads Pack for Foreign Stock Trading
Trading International Funds and Baskets of Stocks
Responding to Reader's Questions
For followers of international markets, it's helpful to have an easy glance at the action on the various overseas indices, like the German
or the Australian
. Among five sites that offer this info --
-- my choice is Yahoo!, based on the freshness of its information, the number of indices that it covers, the fact that its quotes carry time stamps and its links to more info. Time stamps might not seem so important for markets like Japan, which close before the U.S. markets open, but when there's overlap between when the U.S. and foreign markets are open, as is the case with London, it helps to know how current a quote is.
world markets page carries a large number of indices (48) but doesn't carry time stamps.
global markets page carries time stamps but covers fewer indices (32) than
page is just shy of
in terms of the number of indices (44 vs. 48), but it has time stamps, and its updates are more current than
based on my own test.
On a recent Monday morning at 10:39 a.m., Yahoo! had a quote of London's
stamped 10:37 a.m. while
said 10:08 a.m. Plus, Yahoo! links to charts, news and sometimes the individual components of the index -- for example, the stocks in Indonesia's
houses the most indices -- nearly 100 -- and has time stamps, but it doesn't link to the kind of info you'll get from Yahoo!. Finally,
page is neither comprehensive (23 indices) nor does it carry dates or times.
American Depositary Receipts Info
ADR investors should find just about all they need between
www.adr.com, a site produced by
. Each site has deep and well-presented information for ADRs -- a U.S. form of a foreign stock -- both for ADRs listed on U.S. exchanges and those that are not listed but trade "over the counter" among U.S. market makers.
Overall, I prefer
to adr.com, though adr.com offers some features that an intense stock researcher might find useful. (Yahoo! has strong info too, but it does not have data for unlisted ADRs, only news. For more info about ADRs, please see this
My main attraction to
is that, from my tests, it has a deeper database of ADRs than adr.com. In three separate searches on both sites,
screener turned up more symbols for the criteria I input. I then entered some of those symbols from the
search into adr.com's database to see if they were hidden in there somewhere, but it offered no info on them.
If you find what you are looking for on
, you'd only need to go to adr.com for more in-depth info on the financials -- things like "fixed assets, intangible assets, accrued and deferred items" and more historical info, dating back in some cases to 1996. Also, if you want historical earnings estimates info, you'll find that on adr.com, not
. Finally, both sites have good info on institutional holders of ADRs.
offering -- under a "find out who owns this stock" link -- is more detailed and better laid out. But I found that the info was only available for sporadic symbols; adr.com's offering was consistently available.
The two main sites I looked at for detailed commentary and analysis on foreign stocks, including foreign ordinaries (shares issued on local exchanges), are
Wright Investors' Services
www.wisi.com, a Connecticut-based investment management and research firm. However, CorporateInformation.com is actually owned by Wright and should provide what most individual investors need. It's got the detailed Wright research reports, with analysis of the market and competitors. And the information is organized in more accessible ways. For example, you can input a given industry in a given country, e.g., finance, banking and insurance in France, and get a list of the companies the site covers, along with relevant news links. (Some might be in French!)
My caveat: Check dates carefully. Even if a report sports a recent date on top, the detailed data for things like sales figures may be as old as 1999. Also, you can't search using the five-letter symbol that U.S. market makers use to trade foreign ordinaries. You need either the name of the company or its local exchange symbol.
recently introduced online research on overseas firms from Worldscope, a Thomson Financial product. The reports include fundamentals, a company profile and charting. However, the service is only for "Signature Services" customers (a minimum of 12 trades per year or $100K in assets at Schwab). I have not been able to evaluate the reports fully myself.