Chapter 15. Analyzing the Analysts and Stock Pickers

In This Chapter

  • Accessing analysts' reports online

  • Evaluating analysts to determine which ones are worth listening to

  • Deciding whether stock-picking newsletters and Web sites are worth the money

  • Understanding the "whisper number"

  • Getting stock ratings from other investors online

When you're looking to make a big purchase, such as a car, house, or big-screen TV, you probably ask other people questions before making your decision. You might ask a friend or family member for his recommendation or consult with a magazine or Web site that ranks products.

Recommendations play an important role for some investors when picking stocks, too. Traditional brokers have long made it their business to recommend stocks for their clients to buy. And even before the hot dogs hit the grill, many family barbeques start sounding like an investment club meeting as everyone brags about their winners (and somehow fail to mention stocks they've lost money on). Many financial TV shows feature guests who can fire off stock tips.

Stock recommendations are impossible to avoid, so it's up to you to keep their value in perspective. There are smart ways to handle recommendations. In this chapter, I show you various online resources for stock recommendations as well as how to interpret them. You get a chance to read about different stock-picking newsletters and sites and how to evaluate them. And I show you some new online sites that reveal how other individual investors ...

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