Picking stocks isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a reason investment professionals get paid millions of dollars to do it well: It takes intense independent investment research, not getting caught up in market sentiment, and conviction behind committing your capital to your investing ideas.
Sure, you could quit your day job, do this all yourself, and join the ranks of professional investors. But even that would hardly guarantee positive results. Sometimes, even the most engaged investors still fall short.
Instead, you might consider enlisting the help of others who have demonstrated a strong track record of performance over time. While this might entail picking up a paid subscription, self-directed investors can employ these paid recommendations with their own effort to research stocks and find the best investment ideas.
One popular company in this space is The Motley Fool. The company has built a reputation for picking stocks rooted in investment research that deliver strong stock performance over time. However, you might want to consider some Motley Fool competitors as well.
Today, we’ll provide an overview of several Motley Fool services, then detail which Motley Fool alternatives are worth considering (and what they’re best for).
The Best Motley Fool Alternatives & Competitors—Our Top Picks
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What Is The Motley Fool?
Let’s start with a high-level look at Motley Fool, and then we’ll look at a few of the company’s most noteworthy products, including Motley Fool Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers, and Everlasting Stocks.
Motley Fool has helped millions of investors outperform the market—whichever one they target with their market-specific investment recommendation services.
The Motley Fool has a long and sterling history within the investment newsletter community. They’ve been in business since the 1990s, brokering an online content deal with AOL early on before hosting their recommendations on their own site.
The company has since gained acclaim through its Motley Fool stock picking services (Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Motley Fool’s Rule Breakers) and the CAPS Community. Indeed, it has built out an entire cottage industry of investment advisory services.
To date, the Motley Fool offers nearly 40 premium services to their customers, though a few are currently closed to new customers.
Over time, The Motley Fool services have garnered millions of subscribers who rely on them for a chance to beat the market. Customers can use Motley Fool’s recommendations to build a portfolio of high-growth stocks, income plays, and even options trades they believe are likely to beat the market.
Investors can also use Motley Fool’s recommendations to invest in real estate opportunities such as real estate investment trusts (REITs), commercial real estate, and residential real estate.
What Services Does The Motley Fool Offer?
Brothers David and Tom Gardner, as well as Erik Rydholm, began an investment newsletter in 1993. The inspiration for the name “Motley Fool” was taken from Elizabethan drama, “where only the court jester (the ‘Fool’) could tell the King the truth without getting his head lopped off,” their site says.
The website has free informational content, but to see the company’s stock recommendations, you need a subscription to one of their stock-picking services, such as Rule Breakers or Stock Advisor.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor
- Available: Sign up here
Motley Fool Stock Advisor, which began in 2002, is the company’s flagship stock picking service. The stocks they choose are often well-known, not too volatile, are meant to be held for at least five years, and of course, expected to beat the stock market.
The service recommends buying and holding a minimum of 25 stocks as part of a diversified portfolio of stocks. (Using other investment strategies outside of the market can further diversify your returns.)
Stock Advisor does all the grunt work of researching stocks for you so you know exactly what to buy. They even begin your subscription with a shortlisting of what they term “Starter Stocks,” or companies they believe represent the best stocks to own as part of the foundation of your portfolio.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor relies on both Team Everlasting stocks and Team Rule Breakers stocks.
Per Motley Fool, Team Everlasting looks for:
- “High-quality companies that have the sustained potential to keep growing and beat the overall market over extremely long periods”
- “Founder-led companies”
- “Companies employing a strong corporate culture”
- “Businesses that have built a strong enough bond with their customers that they command substantial pricing power and have identifiable proprietary advantages”
- “Cash-rich, low-debt companies”
And Team Rule Breakers looks for:
- “First-mover companies in emerging, but important industries that have become the top dogs in their niches”
- “Companies with sustainable competitive advantages”
- “Sizable past increases in share prices”
- “Companies with good management teams”
- “Businesses with strong consumer appeal that have built up brand awareness”
- “Stocks that are grossly overvalued according to mainstream financial media sources”
Stock Advisor Performance
Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock picks have performed exceptionally well over their 20-year existence. The company has made 167 stock recommendations that have delivered 100%+ returns, multiplying members’ net worth.
According to their website, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock subscription service has returned of 468% since their inception in February 2002 through October 3, 2023 when you calculate the average return of all their stock recommendations over the last 21 years.
Comparatively, the S&P 500 only had a 124% return during that same timeframe.
Motley Fool Rule Breakers
- Available: Sign up here
Motley Fool Rule Breakers focuses on stocks that the Rule Breakers team believes have massive growth potential in emerging industries. This stock subscription service isn’t fixating on what’s currently popular, but rather always looking for the next big stock.
Looking for upcoming industry leaders means these Motley Fool picks have the potential to increase in value exponentially.
For example, Rule Breakers saw the power of e-commerce before many others. Current emerging industries include blockchain technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more. Given this investment focus for Rule Breakers picks, the selections favor growth stocks more so than dividend stocks.
Rule Breakers does the legwork for investors and makes it easy to adjust portfolios in just a few minutes per month.
The Motley Fool Rule Breakers portfolio follows more than 200 companies and has six rules they follow before making stock recommendations to subscribers:
- Only invest in “top dog” companies in an emerging industry (As Motley Fool puts it: “It doesn’t matter if you’re the big player in floppy drives—the industry is falling apart.”)
- The company must have a sustainable advantage
- Company must have strong past price appreciation
- Company needs to have strong and competent management
- There must be strong consumer appeal
- Financial media must overvalue the company
As you can see, before recommending a stock to users, Rule Breakers considers a number of factors. In short, the service mainly looks for well-run companies in emerging industries with a sustainable advantage over their competitors, among other factors.
And based on its returns, it’s clear this approach pays off.
Rule Breakers Performance
Since inception in 2004, Rule Breakers has more than doubled the S&P 500, beating many leading money managers on Wall Street. They’ve recommended 131 stocks with 100%+ returns.
Motley Fool Everlasting Stocks
- Available: Sign up here
Not all investors have the time or desire to stay up-to-date on stock trends. But Motley Fool Everlasting Stocks’ investment recommendations only take a few minutes each month to apply.
More than 700,000 members get new stock picks every quarter from Tom Gardner as well as unlimited access to their library of expert stock recommendations.
The service provides quarterly recommendations as well as portfolio alerts and updates. Investors who aren’t ready to buy a stock can add it to a watch list to monitor its progress. And when you sign up, you receive immediate access to 15 “Starter Stocks.”
Previous Motley Fool Everlasting Stocks picks include big names such as Shopify and Tesla.
This service can be used alone or to complement other Motley Fool services, such as Stock Advisor or Rule Breakers. Visit Motley Fool to learn more about (or sign up for) Everlasting Stocks.
Read more in our Motley Fool Everlasting Stocks review.
Motley Fool Epic Bundle
If you’re a return Motley Fool customer and would like to subscribe to Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers, Everlasting Stocks, and Millionacres: Real Estate Winners, you can subscribe using the Motley Fool Epic Bundle package for a discounted rate.
Other Motley Fool Services
Motley Fool has several other investment advisory service offerings for retail investors to build an investment portfolio. While useful for sourcing investment ideas and stock recommendations, make sure to pair each with your own due diligence.
Why Might You Consider Alternatives to Motley Fool?
While Motley Fool is a well-trusted company with proven results, there are a few reasons to consider some of its competitors.
For one, casual investors might not require the extensiveness of the information available through Motley Fool and could get by with more affordable alternatives.
Furthermore, not everyone’s trading style aligns with Motley Fool’s strategy. For instance, Motley Fool focuses on long-term investing and financial planning; swing traders should seek a website that caters to short-term investors.
Additionally, Motley Fool doesn’t offer free trials—it instead collects payment up front and allows people to receive a refund during the first 30 days if they’re unhappy with the service. However, some of Motley Fool’s competitors provide traditional free trials so users can get a taste of the format and content.
Top Motley Fool Alternatives
While Motley Fool’s premium services are well-respected and boast market-beating performance, their offerings aren’t necessarily an exact fit for all investors. Here, we’re going to look at a few alternatives, including some stock picking services very much in the vein of Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, and some services better suited for self-directed investors who prefer to find their own opportunities versus putting recommendations to work.
1. Seeking Alpha Premium (Stock Research + Recommendations)
- Available: Sign up here
Crowd-sourced investment content service Seeking Alpha was founded in 2004. The platform has millions of members who read diverse investing opinions from thousands of contributors. While many of the articles are free, only Seeking Alpha Premium members can see the author’s ratings and the expert analyses.
In addition to articles, there are data visualizations, advanced charting, and both technical and fundamental analysis tools to help investors make informed decisions. Seeking Alpha Premium has a vast variety of information and tools that allow investors to take a deep dive into stocks.
The platform provides a decade’s worth of financial statements, earnings call transcripts, author ratings, dividend & earnings forecasts, and much more. Subscribers can compare up to six stocks or funds side by side, contrasting enterprise values, quant ratings, Wall Street ratings, quant factor grades, and many more factors.
Seeking Alpha Premium works best for intermediate and advanced investors. It’s great for both investors who want quick information and those who want to conduct in-depth research. Investors can try Premium for free on a trial subscription.
2. Seeking Alpha’s Alpha Picks (Quantitatively Driven Stock Picking Service)
- Available: Sign up here
Are you looking for a way to beat the market consistently? Seeking Alpha’s Alpha Picks might be a great option to consider.
Alpha Picks is a stock advisor service that provides you with two of the best stock picks each month that SA determines have the greatest chance for price upside. They base their selections on fundamentals such as valuation, growth, profitability, and momentum—not hype.
The stock selection process relies on Seeking Alpha’s proprietary, data-driven computer scoring system to screen and recommend stocks for more conservative “buy-and-hold” investors.
And if results from their backtest (run from 2010 to 2022) are any indication, historical simulations of the methodology behind their strategy prove it has worked: Alpha Picks’ recommendations outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 180 percentage points (+470% for SA vs. +290% for the S&P 500).
A bit more detail about how this works: Alpha Picks relies on the existing Seeking Alpha Quant model available to Seeking Alpha Premium and Pro users, but with a bit of modification. Namely, all recommendations must meet the following criteria:
- Hold a Strong Buy Quant rating for a minimum of 75 days
- Market cap greater than $500 million
- Stock price greater than $10
- Is a publicly traded common stock (no American Depository Receipts [ADRs])
- Be the highest-rated stock at the time of selection that has not been previously recommended within the past year (Alpha Picks releases one pick at the start of the month, another in the middle)
If you sign up for the service, you can expect the following:
- Receive two long-term stock picks to buy and hold for at least two years
- Detailed explanations from Seeking Alpha behind why they rate each stock pick so highly
- Notifications when a recommendation changes
- Regular research reports and updates on current Buy recommendations
The service, designed for busy professionals interested in building a portfolio that outpaces the market but without the time to commit to finding these opportunities, is worth considering. If you’re interested, you can sign up for a discounted first-year price of $99.
3. Zacks Premium Service (Investment Advice + Stock Market Earnings Data)
- Available: Sign up here
Zacks Investment Research, which was founded in 1978, conducts independent investment research on stocks, with an emphasis on corporate earnings estimates.
The company is perhaps best known for its expansive earnings per share (EPS) estimates. Institutional investors, such as hedge funds and billionaires, famously rely on earnings estimate revisions when making investing decisions; Zacks brings this data to everyday investors.
Zacks provides some popular free content, such as Bull of the Day and Bear of the Day picks—where the service selects two stocks and rates them as a Bull (strong buy) or Bear (strong sell) pick—and EPS estimates. But for the most valuable content—a mix of stock picks as well as tools that empower you to find your own investment targets—consider signing up for Zacks Premium.
Zacks Premium provides you with stock pick lists, such as Zacks #1 Rank List, Premium Screens, Research Reports, and the long-term-minded Focus List portfolio. Whether you’re looking for short-term, medium, or long-term holds, there is something for every investor.
Zacks Premium also provides several tools that let investors filter for investments with the criteria that matter to them most. Some of the most popular criteria include Zacks Rank, Zacks Industry Rank, Value Score, Growth Score, Momentum Score, VGM (Value Growth Momentum) Score, and Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction).
Anyone looking to try out Zacks can do so via a 30-day free trial.
4. Stock Rover (Stock Research Service)
- Available: Sign up here
Stock Rover is more appropriate for self-directed investors who want to discover their own opportunities and manage their own portfolios.
The service allows you to create real-time research reports that provide a full fundamental and technical overview of a company’s performance. Stock Rover also provides comprehensive ticker, index, portfolio, and watchlist alerts; a real-time stock screener; and robust charting capabilities.
Stock Rover also is a powerful portfolio tracker, offering brokerage integration, detailed performance information, emailed performance reports, in-depth portfolio analysis tools, correlation tools, trade planning and re-balancing facilities.
This service works as a web-based applet and offers a number of useful services and applications, depending on your research and analysis needs.
One of the best features of the web-based app is Stock Rover’s “Brokerage Connect.” This provides you with a read-only data feed of your portfolio holdings. This shows you a comprehensive view of your portfolios, whether they’re in one brokerage account or spread across numerous investment accounts. This view makes Stock Rover one of the best stock tracking and portfolio management apps.
Consider signing up for Stock Rover with a free 14-day trial. From there, you can decide if you’d like to upgrade to the service’s premium plans for more robust tracking and analysis.
5. Benzinga Pro (Fast-Breaking Business News)
- Available: Sign up here
Benzinga Pro provides fast, actionable financial news, market data and stock research to investors of all kinds, from buy-and-holders to swing and day traders.
The service specializes in providing breaking news on publicly traded companies. Benzinga’s Newsfeed covers all sectors, analyst ratings changes and SEC filings from companies. You can customize these news feeds based on watchlists you create within the platform.
Benzinga’s Newsfeed covers all sectors, analyst ratings changes and SEC filings from companies. You can customize these news feeds based on watchlists you create within the platform.
Other notable Benzinga Pro features include:
- Audio Squawk: A team calls out actionable news during pre-market all the way through after-hours trading.
- Insider Trading Tracker: What are corporate insiders (company officers, big stakeholders and other important people) doing? Are they buying? Are they selling? How much do they own? This tool helps you learn more about insiders’ “skin in the game.”
- Stock Scanner: Get real-time, customized updates on the stock market.
- Charting: You can chart stocks within the Benzinga Pro platform, which uses a TradingView developer API (application programming interface).
- Calendar: Get dates for earnings reports, dividends, economic data releases, initial public offerings (IPOs), SEC filings and more.
Sign up for Benzinga Pro today and put the fastest real-time news feed, profitable trading ideas, and exclusive content right at your fingertips.
6. Trade Ideas (Stock Scanner for Day Trading)
- Available: Sign up here
Trade Ideas employs an artificial intelligence-powered assistant named Holly. This AI becomes your virtual research analyst who never sleeps and instead sifts through technicals, fundamentals, social media, earnings, and more to pick stocks as real-time trade recommendations.
Holly stays busy, too. She runs over 1 million simulated trades each night and morning before the markets open with more than 70 proprietary algorithms to find you the highest-probability, most risk-appropriate opportunities to invest in stocks.
This stock research and analysis tool doesn’t stop there, though. You can test these trade ideas in a live simulated trading room. This allows you to demo the stock picking service’s ideas without risking your own money.
The powerful service allows you to access real-time streaming trading ideas on simultaneous charts to learn how to trade into risk-reward balanced trades. In other words: You can invest and learn at the same time.
Where Trade Ideas excels is not only giving you the data and ideas you haven’t seen elsewhere but also how to manage your money. The rules-based virtual trading room on every chart plays for both long-term investors and active traders.
Trade Ideas’ software adjusts levels and the trading plan to match as the stock market evolves. The best part? You can learn how to do all of this without risking your principal through a real-time simulated trading environment.
After you’ve grown comfortable with the service, you can choose to go live with the trade ideas and start investing real money by connecting directly through a trading platform like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade and E*Trade.
Consider starting your Trade Ideas subscription with no contract involved. Cancel anytime.
7. AAII Dividend Investing (Income Investing Stock Picking Service)
- Available: Sign up here
AAII’s Dividend Investing highlights income investments and does all the due diligence for you. AAII (short for the American Association for Individual Investors) uses their own proprietary stock screening and picking process to identify stocks combining yield and quality.
The service also analyzes each target company’s management team to make sure it is committed to dividend payouts—not just today, but tomorrow as well.
AAII typically seeks out the following characteristics in every Dividend Investing holding:
- Long history of profit and dividend growth
- Positive free cash flow
- Low (or at least reasonable) valuation
- Solid outlook for both price appreciation and higher dividends
Start your full 30-day trial for just $2 to see whether AAII can help you bolster the dividend portion of your investment portfolio.
8. Mindful Trader (Stock Picking Service for Swing Traders)
- Available: Sign up here
Eric Ferguson’s Mindful Trader service provides members with data-driven stock trade alerts via email and text messages. Users receive around five to 15 trade alerts each week.
Members have access to Ferguson’s watchlist, his live positions, and historical data on any trades conducted since inception.
You can use this paid swing trading stock picking service to take advantage of short-term movements in the market. Mindful Trader provides trade windows and clear guidance on when to open and or close positions to follow the service’s methodology.
9. TradingView (Technical Analysis Tools and Charting)
- Available: Sign up here
TradingView is another service for self-directed investors. It offers a handful of valuable charting and screening platforms for both fundamental and technical analysis. In fact, on several fronts, it’s the best stock screener we reviewed.
TradingView utilizes 50+ real-time data feeds, historical data, pre-built popular indicators, smart drawing tools, figure charts and valuation analysis.
Basic users can screen stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds (CEFs), foreign exchange (forex), cryptocurrencies, and more. The screener comes with pre-built data sets, with fundamental sets including the likes of Overview, Performance, and Dividends, and even technical sets such as Oscillators and Trend-Following. They also have entire pre-built screens, such as Large-Cap, High-Dividend, Most Volatile, even Largest Employers.
TradingView Basic also comes with a robust web-based charting system that includes real-time stock price data; historical charts (1-day, 5-day, 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, year-to-date [YTD], 1-year, 5-year, and all-time presets, as well as custom time frames); technical indicators; technical analysis summaries explaining whether a stock is a Buy, Sell, or Hold based on oscillators and moving averages; even the ability to draw and enter text on charts.
Paid subscriptions come with more options and features, including more indicators per chart, custom time intervals, multi-monitor support on desktop, and an ad-free experience, among others.
TradingView works well for traders looking to gain an edge on the markets, whether that’s via the stock market, forex markets, crypto, futures or more. Pairing even TradingView Basic’s free stock screens with a stock trading platform or app like TradeStation or Moomoo account might help traders capture more alpha.
You can also gain more features by upgrading to one of TradingView’s paid plans, which come with 30-day free trials.
Related Questions on Sites Like Motley Fool
Is there a free version of Motley Fool for stock picks and investment ideas?
Yes, The Motley Fool provides free content, but the free content doesn’t include any official recommendations from The Motley Fool team.
You can access free content at Fool.com and don’t need to create an account. The free content includes articles, podcasts, a YouTube channel, and more. It’s written by both Motley Fool analysts, as well as analysts who contract with the company; the contractors can disagree with Motley Fool’s official recommendations.
Many of the topics are timely, such as explaining why a specific stock recently rose or fell. And much of this content can help you with your stock research, even if it doesn’t qualify as official recommendations.
Those who want premium content have to purchase a Motley Fool premium subscription, such as Stock Advisor or Rule Breakers. The premium content includes articles from analysts that might provide differing opinions on the same stock. However, reading contrasting opinions is an excellent way to more thoroughly evaluate a stock.
And naturally, the premium content also includes the site’s official recommendations. The official recommendations are the ones used in Motley Fool’s performance statistics. Memberships also provide access to ongoing coverage of past recommendations.
What is the best investor website?
The best investor website truly depends on you: your investment horizon, budget, investment style (technical or fundamental analysis), and whether you are an active investor interested in making your own picks or just want to invest casually in recommendations.
The top stock picking websites will be transparent about whether they have proven results and a record of consistently beating benchmarks. Recommendations should be backed up with market data and stock research points. Meanwhile, the top sites for self-directed investors will clearly demonstrate how their tools and features help users make educated decisions.
Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, Seeking Alpha’s Premium and Alpha Picks, Stock Rover, and AAII Dividend Investing cater to long-term investors. Trade Ideas, TradingView, and Mindful Trader are good options for short-term traders. Benzinga Pro and Zacks Premium have features that will help you, regardless of your time horizon.
Some of these companies focus more on fundamental analysis, some more on technical analysis, and others on both. So again, which service is best for you ultimately boils down to which features you need.
Is the Motley Fool a reputable company?
Yes. Motley Fool has been around since 1993 and is widely regarded as a reputable company. It was founded by brothers David and Tom Gardner (as well as Erik Rydholm, who has since left the company), and they are trusted within the personal finance industry. They still run the company, and Tom still makes stock recommendations.
Their services have a track record of consistently and significantly beating the S&P 500, and that performance has attracted more than a million Motley Fool premium members. (Just note that Motley Fool recommends holding stock picks for at least five years, so it can take time to see results.)
Does the Motley Fool recommend index funds or actively managed funds?
While Motley Fool doesn’t send two fund picks per month as it does for stocks, the website provides plenty of investment research about index funds and actively managed funds.
Now, because they’re merely on the site, they don’t constitute official recommendations. But still, numerous experts weigh in on their favorite exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.
You might also have read about a few ETFs offered by Motley Fool Asset Management (MFAM). While MFAM is an affiliate of The Motley Fool, it’s a separate legal entity. MFAM funds aren’t managed by The Motley Fool co-founders nor any of Motley Fool’s analysts. Instead, the funds are run by MFAM’s portfolio managers.
MFAM used to have two mutual funds but decided to convert them to ETFs. The provider currently offers six ETFs.
What other investment tools might you consider pairing with Motley Fool for stock analysis?
Some investors use multiple websites to stay up-to-date on financial markets and receive stock ideas. Most websites have at least some free content and serious investors may find it worth paying multiple subscriptions. However, not everyone can afford several subscriptions when first starting out (though the best sites help you eventually more than make your money back).
The trading platform where you buy your securities may have useful, built-in technical and/or fundamental analysis tools. For example, the trading platform TradeStation Go comes with powerful analytical tools.
Not every research session has to involve detailed charts and descriptions, though. People also enjoy casual stock news and trade ideas with apps like StockTwits.
Keep in mind that the stock investments you choose are just part of your financial picture. Consider using a personal finance app that tracks your net worth and shows all of your investments across 401(k)s, retirement accounts, health savings accounts (HSAs), crypto wallets, and more.
Seeing all of your investments together can help you see how your overall portfolio is weighted and note any redundancies. You might notice your investments are weighted significantly in one sector more than you intended or that your portfolio is missing an important aspect.
Consider using a tool like Empower’s app (Personal Capital is now Empower), which provides free net worth and investment tracking. You can link all of your investment accounts to see all of your investments in one place. Having all of your investments in one place makes it easy to see how your investments are growing.
Related: Best Quicken Alternatives
How can individual investors manage investments recommended by Motley Fool and its alternatives?
Motley Fool’s investing strategy focuses primarily on buying and holding quality stocks for at least five years, preferably longer. Previous picks include powerhouse companies Amazon and Walt Disney. These are the types of stocks where anyone who got in early and held long enough would’ve made a substantial profit.
For individual investors, Motley Fool suggests buying 25 or more of the companies they recommend. The more stocks you buy, the higher your likelihood of earning money. Then, hold those recommended stocks over a long period, with the minimum being five years.
Short-term holds are risky as stock prices naturally fluctuate. Hold these stocks during volatility because if it’s a quality stock, the price will likely go back up.
How do you decide which Motley Fool recommendations to buy?
Ultimately, you want to conduct your own research to determine which picks are best for your particular situation. And you always want to keep portfolio diversification in mind.
Let’s say you read the newsletter and are intrigued by both stock recommendations that month. You can further research these stocks by reading contrasting opinions on them by Motley Fool authors.
Compare the stocks to the rest of your portfolio to make sure your portfolio isn’t too heavily weighted in just one sector (say, healthcare or utilities) or market capitalization (say, large caps or small caps).
Also, continuously buy stocks. Don’t just buy the first few recommendations you see, sit on them, and never invest in future picks.