Guest Author - Tony Daltorio
There are numerous sources of information today for the investing public. They range from television to newspapers to magazines to the internet. They are so numerous that not even a professional would have the time to go through them all on a daily basis. I will give you my thoughts on many of the major media sources. My thoughts,while irreverent at times,hopefully will give you a starting place on where to look for useful information and where not to.
The most prominent media outlet for financial news is of course the three major financial networks-CNBC,Bloomberg,and FOX. I believe that the best of the three is Bloomberg. They seem to have a more balanced approach with more time devoted to all of the financial markets,not just the stock market. Also there is much less 'cheerleading' on Bloomberg. The worst of the three by far is FOX. Their air time seems devoted to all fluff,all of the time-nothing for investors there.
CNBC is of course the most watched of these networks and to me the most 'dangerous'. I always tell people that if they base their financial decisions on what they see and hear on CNBC,they will surely go broke. CNBC does too much 'cheerleading' and doesn't ask tough questions. Such as-"excuse me,fund manager Z but if people followed your prior advice they would have lost money.Why should they listen to you now?" In my opinion,they do a poor job of letting the public know that many of their guests are doing what is called in the investment industry "talking their book". In simple language,guest X works for Wall Street firm Y,and is on CNBC saying that the stock DOG is just wonderful and their top pick,etc. Meantime,Wall Street firm Y has tons of stock DOG that they are looking to unload and gladly sell it to unsuspecting CNBCers.
The next most prominent media outlet are the financial newspapers-the Wall Street Journal,Investor's Business Daily,and the Financial Times. The Wall Street Journal is the daily bible of Wall Street and I know many professionals who read it faithfully daily. I do not! I feel that it is of not much value to investors and it reminds me a bit of the old Soviet paper Pravda. It spouts the Wall Street 'party line' nicely but does not provide much useful information. Next is the Investor's Business Daily. I'm sort of neutral on it. It's ok but I feel that there is a bit too much emphasis on short-term trading. There is much in there on relative strength indicators,etc. which is great for traders but I am more of a long-term investor so that information is not of much use to me. To each their own I guess.
The paper that I read daily is the Financial Times. It is based in London but their US edition is what is distributed here in the US. It gives a wonderful global perspective on all of the financial markets. I believe this is extremely important in today's global economy. I found that it has helped me with my investment decisions and allowed me to be ahead of the curve in comparison to most US investors. That is a good way to make money-jump on a trend before most people do,then jump off of the trend when Wall Street 'discovers' it.
Magazines such as Forbes,Fortune,Money,Smart Money,etc.are fine but by the time the investing information gets to print it is 'old' news and not really of much value. There are many online outlets for financial news. If you are looking for just news or data,there are a number of excellent places you can go. These include Yahoo Finance,Google Finance,Bloomberg,and Reuters for more of a global perspective.
Finally there are the financial research report service companies such as Morningstar,Value Line,etc. I feel that Morningstar does offer some good information. With all of the hundreds of mutual funds and ETFs out there,they seem to do a nice job of pulling together information. I would use them for information more than their picks. Most firms have a poor record of making picks. I remember reading a report several years ago from Value Line about copper companies. They suggested to avoid these companies and that they saw copper sitting at 70 cents a pound or lower as far as the eye could see. Well they had bad vision because copper soared to $4.00 per pound and copper companies stocks went up like a rocket ship. My experience has been that most Wall Street research,to put it kindly,is shallow and of poor quality.