When it comes to Morningstar, many people will label it as the "mutual fund rating company." It is more than that now. Besides its flagship mutual fund rating system, today's Morningstar boasts independent equity research on 1,500+ stocks and tons of personal finance content.
For beginner investors, its free education program Investing Classroom is an invaluable resource. The program includes 172 quick courses from Level 100 to Level 500 in four tracks: stocks, funds, bonds and portfolio. For example, Stocks 300 series include the following courses:
301: Valuing Stocks
302: Market Capitalization
303: Price/Earnings Ratio
304: PEG and Payback Periods
305: Price/Book and Price/Sales Ratios
306: Dividend Yield
307: Cash Return
308: Sustainable-Growth Rate
309: Steady-State Value
310: Segment Analysis
Each course includes several pages of readings plus a 5-question quiz, and should take no more than 10 minutes to finish.
What's more exciting, is Morningstar will actually reward you for educating yourself. By answering correctly in each course's accompanying quiz, you can accumulate points, which can be redeemed for stainless steel travel tumbler (300 points), Morningstar T-shirt (650 points), or Morningstar products like Morningstar® Stocks 500™ (400 points), six-month Morningstar.com Premium Membership (650 points), or Morningstar FundInvestor™ and Morningstar StockInvestor™ (800 points each).
Actually, I found Morningstar.com Premium Membership is probably the most meaningful prize for DIY investors. After enjoying the six-month trial, I am now a paid member for the Premium Membership, which includes independent reports on all major stocks and funds and value-added analysis tools like Portfolio X-Ray, Asset Allocator and Retirement Planner. I am not a person that normally pays for subscriptions, but the value Morningstar provides is well worth the $125 annual charge. (14-day risk-free trial available too).