by John Bajkowski
|COMING NEXT ISSUE:|
|Annual Hardware Buyer's Guide|
We all have our favorite Web site that we fall back on when performing our everyday portfolio monitoring and researchthat one site that you visit first to check up on your holdings or check out a prospective stock pick. Chances are that you have been going back to this site for some time without really knowing if there are any other sites that might better fit your needs.
Change is not easy. It takes time and effort simply to see if anything exists that would better satisfy your needs. And then it takes even more time to switch your information over to the new service and learn how to use it.
Our product comparison this issue simplifies the process by looking at the current comprehensive investment Web sites. These all-encompassing sites try to meet the complete data and analysis needs of the typical investor by supplying quotes, news, portfolio tracking, and stock and fund research.
Once you settle on a good comprehensive site, there is no need to shop around. However, the key is finding a site that matches up with your interest, in the hope that the site maintains or improves its offerings over time.
As the comparison reveals, not all comprehensive sites go after the same type of investor. CBS MarketWatch and Wall Street Journal Interactive focus more on news and portfolio tracking rather than in-depth stock or fund analysis. As expected, Morningstar has a strong collection of mutual fund data and analysis tools, but it also has a powerful and enlightening portfolio tracker and has beefed up its stock data to offer a very well-rounded site. Its now well-balanced enough to earn it a Top Pick ranking along with CNBC on MSN Money. We hope that you find the comparison useful and are able to locate a site that meets your needs.
IBD Stable 70
Wayne Thorp presents an interesting growth stock approach in this issue. The IBD Stable 70 screen was developed by the editors and analysts of Investors Business Daily in an effort to provide a less volatile growth approach suited for up and down markets. Investors Business Daily presents its Stable 70 list annually, but using a screening program you can run the screen whenever you need to fill a spot in your portfolio. The screen focuses on growth stocks that have a record of fairly consistent and predictable earnings growth.
This issues On the Internet focuses on sites and services that provide information on stocks with dividend reinvestment plans (DRPs). A bear market and recent tax law changes have pushed investors to reexamine the benefits of investing in stocks that pay dividends. Stocks that offer dividend reinvestment plans go one step further and allow shareholders to invest their cash dividends back into company stock. DRP plans offer a cost-effective and automatic way to reinvest your cash dividends.
One option not addressed in the article is that some discount brokerage firms, such as Charles Schwab, also allow their customers to reinvest cash dividends even if the company does not offer a DRP program. Basically, you can have your broker automatically reinvest the dividendand they will even hold fractional stock shares in your account. If DRPs interest you, it may be worthwhile to contact your broker and see if they offer this service.