Major institutions use professional financial services like a Bloomberg Terminal or Reuters. For you and I, paying around $24K a year (according to QZ) to access top level data and up to date financial information seems like a high price, and it is. Is there any affordable alternative? We’ll take a look at Benzinga, a financial platform for retail investors, with an active news feed and a premium service but a price that equstes a twentieth of Bloomberg’s professional services.
- Reliable source of news, not as big as Bloomberg, BBC or CNBC, though.
- News, reviews, analysis and ideas on multiple markets (crypto, small-cap assets, futures, bonds, IPOs, stocks, options, Forex, commodities, ETFs, Cannabis, Fintech, etc.)
- Free guides and educational content about investing and financial fundamentals.
- Affordable pricing for active traders. (Pro starts at $90).
- Amazing breakdown on every asset (Pro).
- Useful tools like second to second news, rumors, price alerts, ratings, audio news, etc.
- Demo account available.
Benzinga Pros and Cons
What is Benzinga and how it works
Benzinga is a financial media outlet that offers a wide portfolio of financial tools, including a news feed and a professional platform for traders who want to strengthen their financial strategies. I would recommend this type of professional services for people who trade regularly, placing and closing orders on a daily basis.
Financial media is greatly monopolized by companies like Bloomberg, Reuters or CNBC. As the top enterprises, they’ve developed solid financial platforms like the well-known Bloomberg Terminal. This is cool for institutional investors who are going to move hundreds of thousands—even millions—of dollars daily. With a price of about $2,000 a month, it does come at a cost. Benzinga is one of the few alternatives and will disrupt the industry as it’s affordable for retail investors. The company is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.
Benzinga Pro offers you exclusive analysis and a very nice source of news that you can customize depending on your needs and preferences. It also has expert tools like a stock screener, market research, audio alerts, workspaces, chat rooms, asset stats and Squawk Radio (instant live news service). Quite the arsenal of financial tools at your disposal and all in one place.
These types of media offer a free news feed that is available for any visitor, it is the premium tools that you have to pay for. If you pay the fees for a PRO account, then you’ll get the news before the editors are able to write and publish them. For example, you will hear the Governor of the Federal Reserves speeches a matter of seconds after they come out of their mouth. I will explain further details in the following sections.
My Opinion and Thoughts on Benzinga PRO
Despite being relatively new compared with its competitors, they provide a good service considering their competitors reach. Benzinga has a comprehensive set of tools that are ideal for intermediate or expert investors. The premium packages are helpful when they’re optimized and customize correctly. Benzinga produces proprietary content, which is very much appreciated (I’m not keen on copy-paste content when I’m paying for an exclusive product).
I get the impression that the news speed is OK, but it is really hard to assess that with real stats. Audio live news, sentiment indicators, stock overviews and live chat are one of my favorite features of Benzinga.
Benzinga PRO: useful built-in financial tools
Now I’ll walk you through the tools that, in my opinion, are very useful for an active trader. It is important to recall that this is not a broker, it’ll only be a source to help you decide how, when and what to trade. Obviously, the final decision is absolutely up to you.
Audio Squawk: Live audio news before they hit the wire
A squawk box is essential for any news trader, it’s a radio service that immediately sends out news as it happens, normally with a maximum of a second delay. For a trader who does not have time to read everything (I work myself on a 4-monitor setup and some news just miss out), this a powerful tool to give you up to date information.
You have to be fast when placing orders off the back of squawk box news but it can give you that extra second to catch the move before it is gone. As I said, this is a great tool because most of the news are played before they get to the normal news-feed channels, although the market often reacts even before that. Do remember that markets can be highly unpredictable, and in highly volatile conditions you can get whipsawed as well as falling to slippage.
Source: Benzinga Pro.
This is where I should’ve begun, but I am a big fan of the audio news feature. Okay then, once you get your login data and pay the fees (you might get access to free trial as well), you will get access to your Dashboard. You can take a look at it on the image above. The left tab provides all the tools available: newsfeed, security, calendar, watchlist, squawk and alerts. You can set your own workspaces, adding graphs, analysis, news feeds, etc.
Workspaces are fairly customizable and you can split and resize the content as wanted. However, workspaces are limited to four screens each. If you’re organized, then you’ll be able to have multiple workspaces to keep everything at hand.
News-feed is properly set to show the news in real time, but what I like the most about it, is the fact that they are shown along with the ticker that relates to the article and a market sentiment indicator. Each news on the feed includes the ticker of the related asset (red when it’s going down, green if it’s moving up). That’s a great way to visually scan the list and filter the articles you’re interested in. You don’t have to read the whole headline to know what are the news about. Believe me, some additional seconds make the difference in financial markets.
You can sort your news-feed by source; categories (such as: analyst ratings, market-moving exclusives, M&A, rumours, etc.); or sectors.
Charts and TA
If you plan to perform your technical analysis on the Benzinga charts, stick to TradingView. It does not provide many charting tools so I’d recommend using the platform you currently use. Nonetheless, you’ll switch from Benzinga’s charts to TradingView’s—embedded on the same window—. As I’ve mentioned a fair few times, TradingView is the most powerful tool for charting and most attempts to develop a similar thing are futile.
If you’re up to explore the stock markets, you can take advantage of their practical “screener”. This tool is designed for you to scan stocks of interest, using multiple filters like gainers/losers, time, sector, market cap, price, etc. You’ll get a full list of the stocks that are moving based on your settings. This list is updated in real-time and I suggest you keep the screener on a workspace. You might want to filter stocks that are moving on a shorter timeframe so you can assess developing momentum. Higher time frames help you to assess trends and consistent price actions.
Source: Benzinga YouTube Channel.
If you click on your favorite stock, you’ll get a nice overview that includes all the fundamentals about the selected asset.
Just a typical economic calendar with future events that might have an impact on financial markets. While it is not something very innovative, I like the way this calendar is arranged. In addition, you get a price range of each asset, exact dates and you also get to see past news sorted by date. Categories include dividends, SEC filings, retail sales, IPOs, economics, stock splits, and more.
In a social-network era, people with influence are proven to impact markets. Live chat is one of my favorite tools when I want to know what are the thoughts and ideas of people like me. Besides sharing your own thoughts, sometimes you’ll get lucky and find good traders with valuable data.
Benzinga Alert System
When you’re a trader who wants to keep track of everything, alerts are a must. You can configure pop-up, email and sound alerts based on assets price, important news, etc. The system is able to provide alerts on many subjects like earning reports, large market moves, PR announcement and SEC filings so you don’t miss a thing.
Benzinga PRO Review: Pricing
As stated from the beginning, this is one of the best-priced services of this kind. Is it worth it? I think it is but I would recommend you try the free trial before commiting. At the time of writing, Benzinga is currently offering a 14-day free trial so you can check it out for yourself. This type of platform are probably a little sophisticated for a beginner, and not all traders are capable of taking advantage of the tools.
The Benzinga PRO fees. There are two different prices. If you want to pay monthly, then you get access to the Basic platform for $99/month and $147/month for the “Essential” package. You’ll get an acceptable discount if you decide to pay a whole year at once: $79/month and $117/month. (Data collected in March 2019; US-dollars). Last but not least, there’s an enterprise service that includes published reports, pay by seat, and “company-wide licenses”; however, pricing is not disclosed on their website.
If you take a look at the tools you get on each plan, it makes sense to go for the ‘Essential’ package, that’s my preferred option.
Conclusion and final thoughts on Benzinga
I think that Benzinga is a powerful tool for some traders that trade on an intraday basis. It is not the tool for everyone and you can live without it, but many traders do find it plays a huge part of their strategy when they start using these professional services. The best thing about Benzinga is, of course, pricing. It is highly competitive with Bloomberg and Reuters and in my opinion, offers a very similar package for a fraction of the price.
I think Benzinga will disrupt the current platforms and really be a force in this industry, try out their free trial and then I would consider buying the full service if you trade regularly.