GuruFocus Review 2020: Is it worth it?

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Summary

GuruFocus is an online financial news and research platform that focuses on what the stock market’s insiders are investing in. But it's focused on supporting day traders and professional investors, so casual investors beware.

GuruFocus in a nutshell

GuruFocus is an online financial news and research platform that focuses on what the stock market’s insiders, most well-known investors, and other “gurus” are trading. Hence, “Guru Focus.”

The site tracks the trading action of over 175 “gurus” to help traders get an edge on the market. In addition, GuruFocus offers other tools including comprehensive stock scanners, real-time news and analysis, and a forum for traders to communicate and share war stories.

Pros

  • Plot-driven displays of portfolios of 176 gurus drawn from fund managers and well-known investors
  • Aggregated portfolios show what stocks multiple gurus are flocking towards and away from
  • Comprehensive stock screener incorporates guru and insider trading to provide additional filtering
  • Built-in screening tools to examine insider trading and thorough record of SEC filings
  • Curated news feed of articles related to long-term value investing

Cons

  • Browser-based platform is difficult to navigate and very busy, making it hard to find information
  • Most data is displayed in lists and needs to be exported and replotted to visualize in a useful way
  • Discussion forum has relatively few members and is not very active

NOTE TO SELF: Guru Focus most focuses on value investing news, advice, and tracking. But keep in mind, GuruFocus is not a broker, a dealer, or a place for registered investment advice. So take any information given with a grain of salt.

Hold up, what’s Value Investing?

Value investing is a world wide recognized investment strategy. For example, Warren Buffet, one of the most profitable investors all all time, follows the value investing strategy.

Unlike some investment strategies, value investing is simple. You simply select stocks that are “undervalued” or traded below their intrinsic value and buy them.

To cut a long story short, you buy the dip and sell when it’s high.

Layout and user experience

GuruFocus’s browser-based platform can be overwhelming to look at at first glance. There are a large number of menu options and so many pages that seem to replicate information or functionality. This is definitely not a user experience designed for beginner traders.

Traders can add their own portfolios in the platform to track price changes and see when gurus have traded stocks they hold. Interestingly, traders can also add portfolios of gurus who they follow to quickly see what these specific gurus are trading and what they hold in their portfolios. While searches made on the comprehensive stock screener are able to be saved for future use, screens designed using the guru or insider trading modules cannot be saved. This definitely helps with the busy user experience when first logging in.

The all in one guru screener

Within the GuruFocus platform, you’ll have access to Screeners, where users will have a choice on what they can add that could help in their investment decisions. 

GuruFocus Portfolio Plots

The meat of GuruFocus is the platform’s focus on how well-known investors and fund managers are investing their money. The platform lists real-time trades and portfolio holdings of investors such as Carl Icahn, David Abrams, Daniel Loeb, and Bill Gates.

All told, GuruFocus currently lists 176 gurus on their site and clicking through to any individual guru displays their latest trades and their current portfolio broken down by market sector and by market cap over time.

Insider trading?

In addition to tracking the trades of fund managers, GuruFocus also provides information about when and how CEOs and CFOs are trading shares of their own companies. This is where the user experience is lacking. The data is primarily presented as a list of trades, which means users would have to export to filter further.

Screening stocks to find undervalued plays

There are a variety of built-in screens that are designed to help traders find undervalued stocks at a glance. These include screeners for stocks at or near their 52-week lows, at historical low price-to-sales ratios, and a particularly useful screener that identifies predictable performers that are discounted according to a custom model. In this case, Guru Focus really lives up to its goal of providing undervalued stocks to users for consideration.

A forum for value investors to talk shop and learn from each other

GuruFocus also includes a discussion forum where traders can ask questions and share ideas, similar to other stock trading forums. However, the GuruFocus forum is somewhat lackluster as it has a relatively small user base – comments on new threads may appear days apart rather than minutes apart as on many day trading-focused discussion boards.

GuruFocus Forum

Pricing

Investors and traders can access GuruFocus for free but they are limited to certain information. The meat of the platform shines when users pay to access premium features.

Premium Membership – $449 per year for the US market. Foreign market memberships are priced at $399 per year for Asian and European markets among many other markets. Included in this membership are S&P 500 stocks, 3 years back testing, GuruFocus API and the Excel Add-In which allows 2,000 queries each month. These are just the tip of the iceberg when you opt in for premium.

Premium Plus Membership –  $849 per year. You get all the features in a Premium Membership, backtesting starting from 2006 up till now, unlimited queries in Excel Add-In, the whole GuruFocus stock manuals, the GuruFocus API for 20,000 queries per month, and more.

Is GuruFocus Right For You?

GuruFocus is designed for long-term, value-driven investors. Warren Buffett is mentioned in numerous places throughout the site and the emphasis on following conservative fund managers and corporate investors inherently skews the site towards long-term investing. While there is real-time trading data for shorter-term investors, this is a minimal feature of the platform. 

If you’re looking to break into the value investing world, this may not be the tool for you. Although the forum is a great place to learn, the overall user experience makes the learning curve steep. Instead, try a tool like finbox.com, which has a simpler interface, free sign up, and a more affordable monthly price.

Frequently asked questions about GuruFocus

Is GuruFocus reliable?

From what can be said of uptime, up-to-date information, and a thriving trading community, GuruFocus can be viewed as a reliable tool for advanced, long term value investors.

Is GuruFocus free?

GuruFocus registration is free and enables users to access some of the free features as well as many articles. To access the real meat and potatoes, users have two subscriptions options: Premium ($ ) and Premium Plus ($ )

How do I cancel my subscription to GuruFocus?

Go to the Contact Us page and send your request of cancellation through the online form. If you cancel within the trial period, you will not be charged.

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