Basic Research: Magazines and Newspapers

Last time we were still talking about the basic points concerning research for buying stocks on the Internet. There’s a lot more we can discuss, but we’ll touch on more information as time goes on.

Instead, we’re going to take a bit of a sidetrack and talk about some other research sources you can use: TV, radio, print media. (Yes, print media. You remember what that looks like, don’t you?) Let’s take them one at a time and talk about how you can use the various outlets for information about how to choose stocks wisely.

First, there are publications — plenty of magazines and newspapers. If you go to your local newsstand, you will find literally dozens of personal finance, business and investment periodicals. In fact, I would suggest that you do just that: go to your closest newsstand and just thumb through some of the magazines displayed there. Some are very general; some are very specific.

Business Week, for example, deals with broad aspects of business, including the stock market. Individual Investor magazine, on the other hand, is specific to the stock market. It addresses how a single individual such as yourself (as opposed to big financial conglomerates like mutual funds and pension plans) can learn to buy and sell stocks and bonds wisely. And, in between, there are many other magazines that can at least start you in the right direction in terms of picking stocks to buy.

Remember, however, that magazines tend to be “old news” fairly quickly. Weeks may go by between the writing of an article about a particular stock and you reading it in the printed publication. Much can happen in those intervening weeks. So if you’re getting research from a magazine, check carefully (usually online) to confirm that the CEO hasn’t run off with all the profits of the company right after he gave the magazine writer the interview! (It has happened, incidentally.)

But magazines are a great way to go for general research into the trends of the stock market, stocks that are predicted to do well for any given year and a broad understanding of information pertaining to investing. You can read whatever you want, whenever you want, at your convenience.

Another source of information and research is radio. There are many programs on the airwaves with hosts and panels and interesting topics pertaining to the investment world. Find something you like — ask around. This is one of those pockets of information that you gather from asking people who are savvy about investing. “Where do you get your research information?” It’s a basic question that you can easily ask, and then you can follow what they say to see if you like the information yourself.

The last great media source of information about the stock market and investing is, of course, television. While many condemn television as an invasion of our privacy and corrupter of our moral values, there is much that is valuable on the small screen. This includes several investment programs that you will want to check out.

When I’m home and not out and about, CNBC is on in my home/office. It has become background noise to whatever else I’m doing. From the early hours of the day until well after the market closes (their programming is based on East Coast time), there are talking heads (some more appealing and interesting than others), interviews, interesting stock tidbits, plus a real-time “ticker” of market prices for stocks running constantly on the bottom of the screen.

There is so much information available on the TV version of CNBC (owned by NBC, which is owned by General Electric) that you could use what they give you and possibly never seek out or need another investment research site. (When I first started out years ago compiling a list of resource and research sites, CNBC was just beginning to be a solid investment entity. As I’ve grown in my knowledge of how to navigate the stock market, CNBC has matured too. I feel like we’ve grown together. The channel has become a friend, a source of information and knowledge.)

Check out if your cable or satellite provider has it in their lineup — which they probably do. CNBC has become so popular that you frequently see it in bars and restaurants during the day, sometimes muted, but always colorful and fascinating. It’s easy to watch and fun to learn from the station. I have even watched CNBC Europe when I’ve been “across the pond.” It’s kind of fun to watch it with a British slant instead of an American one from time to time. I think you should be able to justify a trip to Europe on this basis (i.e., stock and investing research) alone.

Bloomberg Finance channel also runs real time stock quotes, has talking heads and interviews and special segments all day long. Not as well known or glitzy as CNBC, it’s a good, solid source of information nevertheless. (The station is owned by Michael Bloomberg, the current Mayor of New York City. Throw that tidbit of information out at your next cocktail party and wow them all!)

CNN also posts financial information during the day, with stock market information regularly on screen. You can watch current news, but also know what’s happening with the market. Fox News follows suit to some extent.

So whether you read, listen or watch, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to spend all your time in front of a computer screen to become fully informed about the stock market.

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