Theresa Carey's Online Investing Web Tour

Thanks for attending my June 3 1999 presentation to the Tokyo PC User's Group. Here are the websites I mentioned during the talk.

 Sites featuring great investor education material

  News and Information

 Online brokers in my Barron's "Top 10."

 Mutual fund research

 Stock research

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Investor Education

Quote.com's (www.quote.com) Investor Education Center includes resources from both Quote.com itself and links to targeted websites. Interactive tools, columns, tutorials and a section devoted to women investors are among the features offered to novice investors. It's pretty basic at this point (June 1999) but is being updated constantly.

Thomson Investors Network (www.thomsoninvest.net) has an Investor Education Center that dates from late 1998, and includes articles, calculators, glossaries and reference guides. The information isn't updated as often as I'd like, though.

The stock exchanges have some great information on their inner workings. Have you ever wondered what happens to your order? Check out the New York Stock Exchange's site (www.nyse.com) or NASDAQ's (www.nasdaq-amex.com) for tutorials that tend to be a bit dry, but they cover the bases. Options traders should definitely take a walk through the Chicago Board Options Exchange site (www.cboe.com), which has a terrific FAQ that even explains things well for the non-options trader. Check out the Options Toolbox at the CBOE site for a real treat.

One of my favorite sites for the neophyte investor is Armchair Millionaire (www.armchairmillionaire.com), which is a joint venture of Quicken.com and iVillage. This will give you insight into the investment style that best fits your current financial status and outlook towards risk. Subscribe to their weekly newsletter for additional information, and be sure to walk through their "Five Steps to Financial Freedom" tool, with its objective of building a million-dollar portfolio.

Investorama (www.investorama.com) has not only a great Web directory of investing sites, which is updated regularly (thanks, Doug Gerlach!) but also tutorials and links to other, fairly obscure, educational links.

If you're curious about technical analysis, be sure to visit the Equis site (www.equis.com), publishers of the terrific MetaStock programs. "Technical Analysis from A to Z," a book written by Equis' founder, is abridged on the site and is a good read.

Here's a small plug for my publisher, Dow Jones. The Dow Jones University can be found at dju.wsj.com and is full of well-designed online courses on a variety of subjects -- fundamental analysis, introduction to investing, etc. Each course costs $49 though. Oh well, not everything can be free!

Got a 401(k) program? Take a look at Ernst and Young's "Bright Future" planning tool (www.ey.com). It suggests but doesn't come out and strongly recommend specific assets, but it's worth a peek.

If you're interested in dividend reinvestment programs, the Drip Investor (www.dripinvestor.com) has tools and resources, as well as weekly commentary on the hows and whys of DRIPs.

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News and Information

One of my favorite portals is snap.com (www.snap.com) which you can customize to show your portfolio and watch list every time you fire up your browser. It keeps tabs on the companies on your watch list, and displays news articles of interest when you click on the ticker symbol. And it's free. Not a bad deal. I'll tell you more about the goodies here in the Stock Research section below.

ABC News (www.abcnews.com) is updated every 20 seconds, or so it seems, and provides a wealth of company news. Be sure to check out the MoneyScope Java applet that displays and graphs stocks, indexes and mutual funds.

CBS Marketwatch (cbs.marketwatch.com) is a terrific, well-designed, focused news and information site. It also includes a nice portfolio tracker and stock screener.

Microsoft's Money Central (www.moneycentral.com) costs $10 per month, but my colleague Kathy Yakal ranks it #1 in the Barron's Top 10 two years running. I trust her judgment, plus I agree with her that this is a terrific site. It's got a terrific portfolio tracker and the charting tools are great. There are some free services, but the best research tools are reserved for those who pony up the 1200 yen monthly.

TheStreet.com (www.thestreet.com), which runs $9.95/month, has interesting market commentary by James Cramer and his staff. Good editorial content, along with stock and fund charting.

Yahoo Finance (www.yahoo.com) pulls together the best of the financial news posted on other sites. This is a good place to bookmark, then let it point you to the other sites with recently updated content. Nice portfolio tracker too.

ZD Interactive Investor (www.zdii.com) features breaking news with links to current stories as well as snapshots of market activity and company profiles.

Yet another plug for my publisher. The Wall Street Journal Interactive (interactive.wsj.com/) which includes Barron's Online, is $49 per year but it's worth it! You can get in on chats with WSJ, Barron's and Smart Money writers (including Yours Truly) and read all the editorial content of the various Dow Jones publications way before you can find them in print here in Tokyo.

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The Top 10 (or is it 12?) Online Brokers from Barron's ("Growing Pains," March 15, 1999)

Subscribers to Barron's Online can read the whole story, but here's the list of the top ten brokers from the aforementioned article. I ranked 22 brokers based on their trade execution, ease of use, reliability and range of services, amenities (including reports and proprietary research), and commissions. This year's report gave additional weighting to execution and reliability, while downplaying the commissions.

1. DLJ Direct (www.dljdirect.com). The #1 ranking this company received from Barron's and Gomez Advisors (www.gomez.com) resulted in huge sign-up problems. They still have fabulous services; if you can get a U.S. address, this is a good way to go.

2. Discover (www.discoverbrokerage.com) These guys were #1 for 3 years running, dropping to #2 this year because they started charging for things that were once free, and their reliability has slipped a touch.

3. National Discount Brokers (www.ndb.com) Their new site is fantastic.

4. Web Street Securities (www.webstreetsecurities.com) Great spot for peripatetic traders.

5. Datek (www.datek.com) -- but I downgraded Datek after their money-handling scandal of May 1999, and they are no longer officially in the top ten ... which is why I'm putting 11 brokers on this list!

6. E*Trade (www.etrade.com) which I'm considering downgrading now due to constant server problems. They swear they're going to clean up their act.

7. AB Watley's Ultimate Trader (www.abwatley.com) which is a separate, non-web-based program you use to log directly into the trading network. Pretty cool, though I'm a little worried about the company's own financial stability since they've expanded a lot and are highly leveraged.

8. SureTrade (www.suretrade.com) sneaks into this spot by virtue of its incredibly cheap commissions ($9.95 for limit orders). It's got some nice goodies for its customers, but is pretty thin on the research end.

9. Charles Schwab (www.schwab.com) is packed with research and has a lot of different instruments you can trade, including a great Mutual Fund Center. But -- and you knew there was one of those coming -- they're crashing a lot now as they upgrade constantly. It's like changing a tire on a car that's speeding down the Shuto at 180 km/hour.

10. Muriel Siebert (www.siebert.com) is run by one of the people I respect the most on Wall Street. She's got a great sense of customer service. Once her site starts adding more real-time updates, I'm sure she'll climb in the rankings.

11. Quick and Reilly (www.quick-reilly.com) and Waterhouse (www.waterhouse.com) are tied for this spot.

 

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Mutual Fund Research

Among the online brokers, DLJ Direct and Schwab have terrific mutual fund screening and selection tools. Another good place is mutual fund giant Fidelity (www.fidelity.com) and its competitor Vanguard Funds (www.vanguard.com). The best research tools on these sites are restricted to customers only, but there are still some tools you can use for free. The screening tools available at Fidelity's site are almost worth buying a $5000 worth of their Aggressive Growth Fund to use!

If Canadian companies have caught your eye, the Mining Company (investingcanada.miningco.com) is worth a look. It includes tax strategies and profiles for investors in Canadian companies as well as mutual fund analysis.

Morningstar's mutual fund rankings are great too (www.morningstar.net). Many of the site's resources are available only to subscribers ($99/year for premium membership) but it's got great fund research tools as well as stock rankings. It's the online equivalent to several of the CD-based screening programs Morningstar has sold over the years, and as such is well-priced.

 

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Stock Research

Company Sleuth (www.companysleuth.com) lets you set up a 'spy list' so you can keep tabs on news, SEC filings, patents granted, and a wealth of other information on as many companies as you'd like. It includes a daily email update.

The Multex Investor Network (www.multex.com) is a distributor of about 200,000 research reports from 200 or so brokerage firms, investment banks, and independent research providers.

For day traders, the Pristine Day Trader (www.pristine.com) is hard to beat. It'll run you $125 and up per month, but for that you get a daily newsletter providing outlook and strategies, an alert service, and access to the Real-Time Trading Room.

S&P Personal Wealth (www.personalwealth.com) utilizes a detailed portfolio to recommend an asset allocation strategy as well as specific securities. It'll run you $9.95 per month for a subscription.

Snap's (www.snap.com) stock research tool has a nifty feature that you can get for free. If you look at a particular company, you can get links to its competitors. This comes in handy when you're researching a particular market sector, allowing you to look around and find the best-performing companies in the sector you've chosen.

Fidelity and Morningstar, as mentioned above, also have excellent stock research tools.

Among the online brokers, DLJ and Discover have good stock screeners.

 

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