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Reading the Financial Pages for Dummies® by Michael Wilson

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Chapter 16. Using the Alternatives

In This Chapter

  • Revealing the manifold delights of getting your information online

  • Understanding why you shouldn't write off the printed media yet

  • Reviewing discussion forums and blogs – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly

  • Considering if analysts' opinions are worth having

Having now run through all the traditional channels of investment research, I think we've safely established that investing involves a whole lot more than merely understanding the figures. If you're going to pick winners – and, just as importantly, avoid losers that simply look like winners – you need to cast your net a bit wider. What are other investors saying about those shares that you're considering buying? Can you learn something from somebody whose views you might completely disagree with? You'll never know until you find out for yourself.

And that's where we come up against the first obstacle. One real downside to this data-intensive age we live in is that the sheer mass of available information can get on top of you. There you are, trying to reach a clear decision in a reasonably civilised fashion, and suddenly you find yourself completely swamped by the sheer volume of stuff that's coming at you. Newspapers, computers, and television programmes are simply bombarding you with data. The trick is to work out which information sources you find the most reliable, and then discipline yourself to stick to them.

All the information sources this chapter discusses are worth taking ...

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