“With all thy getting, get understanding” – Maclom S. Forbes
As noted in the “About This Blog” page, my commentary is not about daily market moves and the noise one has to experience on a day-to-day basis from all the TV, radio and Internet chatter that goes on. However, one does need to be educated on the business of investing and how the world economy plays a role in even the longest of investment time frames. And for those interested in pursuing a self-administered stock portfolio, a certain amount of education and access to resources is a must. Here are a few ideas that I have found useful over the years and would recommend:
Magazines: Forbes (as you know I’ve been a loyal and avid reader for over 50 years) provides twice-monthly editions with periodic specials on Mutual Funds, Investment Planning, the Forbes 500, etc. The publication is easy to read, offers intelligent reporting and commentary (Editor – Steve Forbes and Publisher – Rich Karlgaard) and features columnists with relevant investment ideas. For more generalized personal financial matters: Money (from Time-Life) and Kiplinger are good choices.
Newspapers: Definitely The Wall Street Journal and – for those with less time available to read this daily – Barron’s published on Friday afternoons with a week’s summation of critical news events, a wealth of detailed market data and interesting articles. Both published by Dow Jones & Co.
TV: For a daily dose of what happened during the trading day and related stories on the economy, I would recommend The Nightly Business Report (aka NBR) on PBS (although becoming a rehash of CNBC’s daily shtick) . Check your local listings. I also like Cavuto with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel (much better than most of CNBC’s “what should I be buying/selling tomorrow” offerings).
Radio: Bloomberg Radio – available in the New York area on channel 1130AM and nationally on SIRIUS-XM channel 119. Again, far superior to SIRIUS’s CNBC’s TV simulcast chatter.
Internet: Larry Kudlow’s Blog and Forbes.com are two I would recommend. Also as a subscriber to either the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s, you have access to WSJ.com and Barron’s.com. For more general financial advice, try SmartMoney.com. For daily updates, Google Finance, Yahoo Finance or Bloomberg.com.
Investment Advisory Letters: Value Line has the most to offer, but pricy. A long-time subscriber, this weekly has a wealth of information on the 1,700 stocks they follow and you have access to their online edition. The Dow Theory Forecasts is an alternative which features a Monitored List of stocks that they follow – also available online.
Books: Don’t let the name unsettle you – Investing for Dummies is a good start and the “Dummies” series also has more advanced titles concentrating on Exchange-Traded Funds and Dividends, for example. Two good text books: Personal Investing by Wilbur Widicus from McGraw Hill/Irwin; A Modern Approach to Graham and Dodd Investing by Thomas P. Au from John Wiley & Sons and Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel from McGraw Hill should also be on your list.
Annual Reports: In addition to the company’s website, the annual report is more of a marketing instrument than a financial resource. But don’t ignore it, either. In an effort for companies to become more transparent, they are now including (or even substituting) their annual SEC Form 10-K’s as part of the annual report – not easy reading, however. Gloss through the CEO letter (too optimistic for my taste) and find the “Management’s Discussion of Operations” in the back of the report for a more honest and fair depiction of what has gone on in the past year and hints of things to come.