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an Opinionated Guide to

the Web's Best Investing Sites
So much more than a simple list!
All are free unless otherwise noted.

your favorite stock and mutual fund websites

Categories

General Investing Information

Insights by T. Rowe Price (www.troweprice.com>Investment Planning> Publications): Overview of everything from financial planning to derivatives. 

Path to Investing (www.pathtoinvesting.org): Good beginning level overview of the investing process. Covers everything from how stock trades happen to tips on choosing mutual funds and individual stocks.

Advice & Tips

CXO Advisory Group’s Guru Grades (www.cxoadvisory.com): Tabulates the market forecasts of  major market commentators and tabulates how many times each guru got it right.

Financial Sense (www.financialsense.com): A collection of market analysis articles contributed by dozens of different contributors, some more qualified than others.

Hulbert Financial Digest (www.marketwatch.com): Mark Hulbert’s “Hulbert Financial Digest,” tracks the performance of more than 160 stock market investment newsletters. You have to pay for the newsletter but columns by Hulbert and financial writer Peter Brimelow often include summaries of both the top performing newsletters’ advice, and of their performance, along with insights drawn from their newsletter-tracking database, and from other market research.

Motley Fool CAPS (caps.fool.com): Individual investors predict whether specific stocks will outperform or underperform the S&P 500 and over what time frame this will happen. You can see the ratings on any stock, or lists of the highest and lowest rated stocks. The system rates the raters, so you can follow the advice of the most successful players. 

Standard & Poor's Stock Picks & Pans (www.businessweek.com): features S&P analysts’ comments on stocks that made news that day. It’s an interesting read.

Alternative Energy/Environmental
best investing websites index

Blogs and other sites dedicated to discussing all things green.

Business Week's Green Business (www.businessweek.com/investing/green_business): Business Week's take on environmental issues, mostly from a broad brush political perspective.

cnet news Green Tech (news.cnet.com/greentech): an 'in the trenches' view of green tech developments from an investor's perspective.

Environmental Capital (blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital): the Wall Street Journals take on the business of the environmental from a geopolitical perspective.

GreenTechMedia (www.greentechmedia.com): news you can use about green products coming to market.

Analyst’s Ratings & Forecasts  
best investing websites index

Earnings Whispers (www.earningswhispers.com): whisper numbers are the earnings that those supposedly in the know expect a company to report. Here’s where to find them.

MarketWatch (www.marketwatch.com): displays summaries of major brokerage’s analysts’ ratings changes going back to November 2000. MarketWatch lists the date, broker, new and old recommendations, and a short synopsis of the analysts’ comments for each ratings change listed (Get a quote and then click on Analyst). Here's a sample. 

Reuters Investor Analyst Estimates (www.investor.reuters.com): one of only two resources that I know of for both earnings and revenue forecasts. Click here for an example. 

NewRatings (www.newratings.com): Compilation of recent analyst ratings changes, including a synopsis of the analysts' comments accompanying the change.

Yahoo! (finance.yahoo.com): The second of only two sites that displays both revenue (sales) and earnings forecasts. Click here for example. 

Blogs, etc.
best investing sites index

Blogs are like diaries, a person's stream-of-consciousness musings about whatever happens to be on his or her mind. But you may not know that some Bloggers are highly qualified financial experts who post valuable information on their Blogs, just for fun. New Blogs are coming online almost daily. Please about your favorites.

Bespoke Investment Group (bespokeinvest.typepad.com/bespoke): Combination Blog and premium site. These guys are the ultimate quants. They'll analyze just about anything to determine its predictive value; the price of gold, the value of the U.S. dollar, new highs vs. new lows, yield spreads, the month of the year, you name it.

Daily Speculations (www.dailyspeculations.com): run by Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner, offers insights that you won’t find anywhere else.  Niederhoffer, who once worked for legendary investor George Soros, authored the best seller, Education of a Speculator. Kenner was chief U.S. stock market editor at Bloomberg News. The erudite articles, sometimes penned by others besides Niederhoffer and Kenner, cover almost any topic, some unrelated to stocks.

The Kirk Report (www.thekirkreport.com): Charles Kirk, who has a law degree, but has never practiced law, produces a daily report full of stock ideas, views about what’s happening in the market and the overall economy, market experts' stock tips, and information about other useful sites. It reminds me of the daily morning briefing U.S. presidents get from top advisors. Information like this should be expensive, but Kirk gives it away.

Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com): Seeking Alpha features dozens of new articles daily from dozens of market experts covering a wide range of topics. The content is divided into sections such as China, India, Energy, Media, Retail and more. Seeking Alpha also offers written transcripts of quarterly report conference calls for many widely followed stocks. You can skim through a transcript in 5 minutes compared to spending an hour or more listening to the call.

Tech Check with Jim Goldman (www.cnbc.com): Goldman covers Silicon Valley for CNBC. He's good at reporting the rumors likely to move tech stocks before they hit news. A worthwhile read if you're a tech investor.

TraderFeed (traderfeed.blogspot.com): run by Brett Steenbarger, psychologist, and author of The Psychology of Trading, covers the market from a technical (charting) perspective. His daily posts attempt to divine what happens next by analyzing recent market and individual stock price action employing a variety of technical indicators. He also offers links to other like-minded sites. Given his background, it’s not surprising that Steenbarger also includes articles about how to prevent your emotions from hurting your trading results.

Trader Talk with Bob Pisani (www.cnbc.com): Pisani reports from the floor of the NYSE for CNBC. He writes two or three short, but insightful squibs each day giving his take on what's moving, and why. He's very good at spotting which market sectors are taking off, and which are sinking.

ZachStocks (www.zachstocks.com): Hedge fund portfolio manager Zachary Scheidt posts his take on stocks that his fund is considering buying or selling short. The write-ups are lengthy and go into considerable detail, often quoting stock analyst’ reports. Scheidt, himself a Chartered Financial Analyst, sometimes gets it wrong. But that’s not a problem because he gladly posts dissenting opinions following each article. Thankfully, these reader comments are nothing like the sophomoric posts found on Yahoo's message boards. Instead, they are well-reasoned, thoughtful arguments, often posted by readers with considerable insights on the topic.

Bonds & Preferred Stocks
best investing sites index

InvestinginBonds.com (www.investinginbonds.com): Operated by the Bond Market Association, the site offers data on recent bond trades, plus news on bond-related topics. This is also a good place to learn the basics about investing in bonds. 

QuantumOnline (www.quantumonline.com): In contrast to common stock, information on preferred stocks is hard to find on the Web. Private investment manager Quantum Investment is about as good as it gets for preferreds. Quantum lists the maturity and redemption dates, the payouts, links to current quotes, and more for 1,100 plus preferreds. 

Yahoo (bonds.yahoo.com): Good list of U.S. Treasury, municipal, and corporate bond yields, both current and one-month back.

Charts
(also see Technical Analysis)
best investing websites index

Bigcharts (www.bigcharts.com): The Web's first really good charting site is still the only site I know of where you can see charts showing P/E ratios, eps and dividends.  

Clearstation (www.clearstation.com): Charts, technical analysis and more, caters to short-term investors.

Prophet Finance's Java Charts (www.prophetfinance.com): By far the largest selection of technical indicators that you'll find on the Web.

Stock Charts' Historical Charts (www.stockcharts.com): This is the place to see a chart of the DJ Industrial Index going back to 1900, or a chart of the S&P 500 back to 1960. You can also see historical charts for the Nasdaq, 30-year Treasuries, and for gold prices. Stock Charts is a good resource for Point & Figure and candlestick charts. 

China Stocks
best investing sites index

Many investors are turning their sights to China, and for good reason. China is experiencing unprecedented growth as it emerges from third-world status to a major economic power. Most China stocks trade on local exchanges and are not available to foreign investors. However, more than 120 China stocks trade on U.S. Exchanges, either directly or as ADRs (American Depository Receipts), which are equivalent to regular shares. Here are sites that I've found useful for researching China stocks.

Bloomberg China (www.bloomberg.com/news/regions/china.html): Today's business news from China, but no archives.

China Analyst (www.cnanalyst.com): The best place to start your China research. The site claims to list every China stock that trades on U.S. Exchanges. But it's much more than a list. China Analyst offers a lengthy report for each stock, describing its business in considerable detail. The reports are much longer than you’ll find for U.S. companies on U.S. financial sites. Also, you can compare all U.S.-listed China stocks based on profit margins, analyst buy/sell ratings, expected long-term earnings growth, year-to-date share price action, and short-interest.

ChinaBizFocus (chinabizfocus.com): Another source for news and ratings by various criteria for China stocks traded on U.S. exchanges.

ChinaTechNews (www.ChinaTechNews.com): Essential reading for tech stock investors, which is where much of the China stock action has been happening. The site covers both local and U.S.-listed stocks, but you’ll find much of interest here. Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage to see links to affiliated sites covering other industries such as retail and hospitality.

FinanceAsia (www.financeasia.com): Offers pertinent information that you won’t see anywhere else. Check the site often because, while you can download current and recent news stories for free, after five days, access requires a subscription. That will set you back $300 per year.  

Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com) offers news and commentary about stocks and exchange-traded funds in a variety of categories, including one devoted exclusively to China (Global Markets menu).

Time Magazine’s The China Blog (time-blog.com/china_blog): Good resource to gain a broader view of what’s going on in China. Five different writers, all China experts, post short columns on all aspects of Chinese life, including politics. Also offers links to a dozen or so other blogs about China.

Company Research
best investing sites index

MSN Money's Stock Scouter (money.msn.com): uses a sophisticated formula to analyze four attributes of each stock: Fundamental, Ownership, Valuation, and Technical, to come up with a total score representing the expected stock price appreciation during the next six months. From MSN Money's homepage, select Investing (top menu) and then click on Stock Ratings in the Stocks section (left menu). 

Morningstar’s Major Fund Owners (www.morningstar.com):To paraphrase an old saying, “you can judge a stock by the company it keeps,” in this case, the mutual funds that hold its shares. Morningstar’s Major Fund Owners section lists the 25 mutual funds with the largest holdings of a selected stock, along with Morningstar’s “Star Rating” of each of those funds. Click here for an example. 

Morningstar's Grades (www.morningstar.com): How many of us have time to analyze financial statements? Now, we don't have to, because Morningstar does the heavy lifting for us. Click here for an example. 

Reuters Investor (www.investor.reuters.com) : One of the best sources of fundamental data such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash-flow statements.  

Newspaper Links (www.newspaperlinks.com): A company's local newspaper often has information that you won't find elsewhere. Here's a comprehensive directory of U.S. newspaper websites. 

Securities & Exchange Commission Edgar Reports (sec.gov): All publicly traded company reports filed with the SEC are available in the SEC's Edgar database as soon as they are filed. The quarterly (10-q) and annual (10-k) reports contain almost everything you need to research a stock. Unfortunately, most are well over 100 pages in length.

SEC Info (www.secinfo.com): Another resource for SEC reports.

wikinvest (www.wikinvest.com): Wikipedia for stocks. A new startup (2006), wikinvest relies on users to contribute new articles, and/or modify existing articles about specific stocks. Volunteer administrators monitor the quality of the posted articles. The main difference between wikinvest and traditional financial sites like Yahoo is that wikinvest focuses on concepts and business strategies rather than numbers. While you’ll still need to access traditional sites to get the financial statistics and analyst forecasts, wikinvest adds the information you need to understand a firm’s business and future prospects.

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Conference Calls  
best investing websites index

Did you ever wonder why your stock went down after the company announced great earnings ? Chances are, while you're reading that glowing earnings press release, company executives are busy revealing different news to analysts in a conference call. Here’s how to find out about them.

BestCalls.com (www.bestcalls.com): the listings aren't as comprehensive as Company Boardroom's, but you can set up a portfolio and BestCalls will notify you by e-mail of upcoming calls. 

Company Boardroom (www.companyboardroom.com): A comprehensive listing of scheduled and previous conference calls. You can listen to archived calls for some companies going back about a year. They also list the expected date of the next earnings release, even if the conference call hasn’t been scheduled.

Seeking Alpha (seekingalpha.com): Unless you have nothing else to do, listening to many conference calls is impractical because most last at least one hour. You can save time by scanning a written transcript for the information you need. Seeking Alpha provides free transcripts of many, but nowhere near all, quarterly report conference calls.

Direct Investing
best investing sites index

Netstock Direct (www.netstockdirect.com): the place to find companies offering Direct Stock Purchase (DSPs) and Direct Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs).

BuyandHold.com (www.buyandhold.com): offers Direct Stock Purchase plans for at least 1,200 companies, whether or not the companies themselves have such a plan. New minimum monthly fee makes the service impractical for small investors. 

ShareBuilder (www.sharebuilder.com) offers Direct Stock Purchase plans similar to BuyandHold.com. No minimum monthly fee makes ShareBuilder the best bet in this category. 

Discussion  
best investing websites index

Board Central (www.boardcentralcom): You don't have to waste time checking out all the different message boards. Board Central lists all recent messages on 13 major investing message boards for any given stock.  

Board Reader (boardreader.com): Searches many more message boards than Board Central, but they can be any type of message board, not necessarily stock boards. for any keyword that you enter (e.g. Microsoft). A great resource, but you may have to sort through some irrelevant listings. It's best to search on keyword (e.g. Microsoft) rather than ticker symbols. Be sure to select the "Message Board" option (not Forums).

Investor Village (www.investorvillage.com): These moderated forms feature thoughtful comments by serious investors. You'll find no name calling or stupid remarks here. Start here before you try the other boards.

Raging Bull (www.ragingbull.com): a moderated forum, so there's no profanity here. That said, there is not much traffic compared to Investor Village and Yahoo, and the postings tend to be unsophisticated.

Silicon Investor (www.siliconinvestor.com): The Raging Bull apply to Silicon Investor as well. In the 1990s, both were the center of the universe for tech stock investors, but both remind me of faded, once-elegant hotels that have seen better days.

Yahoo! (quote.yahoo.com): Get a stock quote and then click on “Message Board” under “News & Info.” Yahoo’s boards have the most traffic of any boards. However, the discussions are mostly at 4th grade level. Also, they are not moderated, meaning that no one from Yahoo patrols the boards removing inappropriate material. So be prepared for anything. 

Economic Analysis
best investing sites index

Bureau of Labor Statistics (stats.bls.gov): best source for U.S. employment, consumer spending, and inflation data. 

Chain Store Age (www.chainstoreage.com): source for chain store sales data. The Weekly Leading Indicator report gives you a timely heads up on how retail sales are going.  

Conference Board (www.conference-board.org): source of consumer confidence survey information. 

Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (http://www.bea.gov): a good source for detailed U.S. economic data including Gross Domestic Product (GDP), personal income, corporate profits, balance of payments, and more.  

The Dismal Scientist (www.dismal.com): filled with the latest economic trends and reports. Originally a free site, Dismal now requires a subscription, which, starting at $60/mo, isn't very economic

Economagic.com (www.economagic.com): Provides a huge assortment of economic data, and even better, allows you to graph all of them.

Economic Cycle Research Institute (www.businesscycle.com): home of the Weekly Leading Index (WLI), developed by Geoffrey Moore, who according to the site, originally developed the monthly Index of Leading Economic Indicators for the U.S. Commerce Department. Since Moore’s new WLI uses fresher data, is should react faster, and a historical chart on the site (click on "view other charts") seems to bear that out. Another formerly free site that now requires a subscription, which costs $20/month for individual investors.

EconomicIndicators.gov (www.economicindicators.gov): features next release dates and links to the latest reports for 18 or so economic indicators such as new residential construction or retail e-commerce sales that are compiled by U.S. Government agencies. You can also signup to receive the reports by e-mail the day they are released. 

Federal Reserve (www.federalreserve.gov): Here it is, the center of the economic universe. Click here to see the minutes of the discount rate meetings going back to 1996. Click here to see the legendary Beige Book reports describing economic conditions in each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts. 

FedStats (www.fedstats.gov): a directory of where to find economic statistics collected by more than 100 U.S. Government agencies. A good place to start your search for the amazing amount of data collected by the Feds. It’s fun to just poke around. 

Financial Forecast Center (forecasts.org): computer generated forecasts of interest rates, stock market indexes, retail sales, and much more. The six-month forecasts are free, but longer forecasts require a subscription. 

Financial Trend Forecaster (www.fintrend.com): home of the Moore Inflation Predictor, which claims a 90% accuracy rate for predicting the inflation rate one-year into the future. 

Gallup (www.galluppoll.com): Gallup measures investor optimism monthly. Many analysts use investor optimism as a contrary indicator. That is, high optimism levels suggest that the market is headed for a fall, and vice versa. 

InflationData.com (inflation.data.com): the place to go if you need monthly inflation data going back to 1914. 

Martin Capital Financial Newsletters (www.martincapital.com): monthly and quarterly market newsletters covering market and overall economic conditions. 

National Association of Home Builders (www.nahb.com): monthly housing market forecasts, plus the Housing Market Index. Check out the "Traffic of Prospective Buyers" component of the index for a look into the future. 

Stock Chart's Sector Rotation Model (www.stockcharts.com): displays the returns of nine major S&P sectors along with S&P's Sector Rotation Model that predicts which sectors should outperform in each phase of the economic cycle. Use the slider below the chart to go back in time up to three years. Click here for links to charts of just about any market, sector, country, or industry index. 

U.S. Courts (www.uscourts.gov) all bankruptcies must be filed in a Federal court. This is the place to find U.S. quarterly bankruptcy statistics.

U.S. Department of Labor (www.ows.doleta.gov): get the weekly unemployment reports here. 

Financial Bond Analysts
best investing websites index

Stock analysts’ advice may not be worth much, but there is one type of analyst—those that rate corporate debt—that shouldn’t be ignored. While stock analysts are mostly interested in growth prospects, bond analysts focus on a company’s financial health, and you should too! Each rating service’s grades vary somewhat, but “AAA” always indicates the highest quality, and any grade starting with “A” signifies reasonably high quality debt. Three letter ratings starting with “B” such as BAA or BBB indicate lower quality debt than “A” ratings, but don’t signal significant risk. Two letter “B” grades and lower signify “non-investment grade” securities.

A.M. Best (www.ambest.com): Not a bond rating service, Best rates the financial strength of insurance companies only. Best uses single letter grades and companies rated B or less are considered “financially vulnerable to adverse changes in underwriting and economic conditions.” 

Moodys.com (www.moodys.com) is the easiest place to find bond and corporate credit ratings because you can look up the ratings using the corporation’s stock ticker symbol. Use the Quick Search box (upper-right) and scroll past the Research Links to the Current Rating List.

Forecasting Future Market Direction
best investing sites index

Comstock Partners (www.comstockfunds.com): Who predicted the top and ensuing plunge back when the markets were soaring in early 2000? Charlie Minter and Marty Weiner, co-managers of the Comstock Partners value funds did. Check their widely-followed Daily Comment for their current take on the market. After reading the current column, you can peruse the archives to see earlier predictions. 

Financial Forecast Center (www.forecasts.org): The center, run by Texas-based Applied Reasoning, Inc., uses computer models to predict the direction of most market indexes, interest rates, oil prices, currency exchange rates, and a variety of other economic factors.The center charges for its long-range forecasts, but you can see its month-end forecasts, going out six months for free.

Martin Capital Composite Indicator (www.martincapital.com): Click on Stock Market Analysis, then click on Composite Indicator): predicts market direction based on a combination of technical and economic indicators. Martin also has charts of popular market indicators 

Fundamental Analysis Tips  
best investing sites index

MSN Money Ownership Report (moneycentral.msn.com/investor): Here’s the place to find the names of everyone holding five percent or more of a firm’s shares. Also lists top institutional and mutual fund holders. 

Prudent Bear (www.prudentbear.com): supposedly oriented for bears and short sellers, but everyone should read the information here (all investors should learn how to analyze stocks the way short sellers do).  

More of the Web's Best Investing Sites
continued on next page

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