There are an array of resources for those for those trading and investing in public companies. Whether you are a college student, average joe, or a seasoned professional; the most useful resources will be the same. The investor information will only be as valuable as it’s congruence with your investing style. To a technical trader, the debt ratios will most likely be useless, as would a long term value investor find technical charts not too useful as well.
Your broker is usually a great resource, but what if you don’t have one? Or your broker doesn’t provide a knowledge center? Well there are many great free resources out there!
1) Your Library
Every library is different, but most have a business corner or section in the library. Some libraries even subscribe to Value Lines which can cost almost as much as $800 per year. Value line analyzes stocks and presents their findings in a easy to comprehend way with a timeliness, safety, and technical rating. While value lines are nice, you still have to do your own work and research! If you are completely new to stocks and investments, you must do a lot of reading and studying before investing. There is no better place than a Library. Take a look into the index of a few books, read away!
2) A Good Stock Screener
A good stock screener will save you a lot of time. I use Financial Visualization’s screener. Not only can you save a screening session as a portfolio, but when screening, if you click on the “snapshot” tab, you can scroll through an abundance of information which is set up in an easy to see way as follows:
3) Financials and Company Information
While you can always get the main financial statements and company information from the SEC’s website and or the company’s investor relations page, it is much easier and faster to get the information from google or yahoo finance. Yahoo finance, in my opinion, compiles companies financials much better than google does.
4) Your Phone’s Native Stock market App.
Your phone probably has some type of stock market app. Your phone’s stock app is a greatway to keep up with the market or stocks in your watch list while your waiting in line at $SBUX, but there are also quite a few other apps out there besides your native app. Many are garbage, and a select few are golden. My favorite stock market app is StockMaster (sadly only on iPhone, but who knows that may change).
5) Abundance of Financial News Sources
Some of these resources provide more economic and market news while some provide more info on individual stocks. Again google and yahoo finance compile news article on stocks you search very effectively (many of those articles that they compile may be published by some of the sites below)
- The New York Times Business
- Business Insider
- The Wall Street Journal Business
- The Street
- The Economist’s Business & Finance page
- The Motly Fool
- The Fool contains many resources some of which are specifically for new investors starting from step one.
- Great reference resource for basic ratios and other financial terms
Similar to Value Line, Morningstar provides good analysis and market news. They want you to pay for their for their premium service, but the free stuff is good enough (depending on which broker you use, you might get free access to their paid analysis anyway).
6) Finance Bloggers
Finance is a broad topic which includes investments and asset management, but it also includes personal finance, and to some degree accounting and business management. So you have to find the ones that focus on your specific area of interest. There are many great finance blogs out there that focus on trading and the stock market. One of my favorites which I recently discovered is ClayTrader. Make sure you click on ClayTrader’s Resources page. My all time favorite financial blogger, who covers many more topics than just investments is Financial Samurai. Here is FinCon’s more extensive list of financial blogs.
Last, but definitely not least, An Investment Mentor
Although they are hard to come by, finding a good investment guru who is willing to teach you some of their techniques is hands down the best resource for a newbie. They will guide you in the right direction and are also there to answer questions when confusion arises or when mistakes are being made. They are hidden amongst the people you already know. Maybe it’s a teacher, a friend, an uncle or your girlfriends Dad. You just never know, so ask around and get connected.
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