The Herzfeld Group Resource Center
Links & HELPLINE


Resource Center for Investment Education


Intro from Paul Herzfeld:
This area provides the best free investment information I have found on the web. It can be used to check current information for most of the important markets I follow. Many of these sites are checked several times during the day, but a consistent daily checking will help you develop a good feel for the trends at work in the world today. Check out the Article of the Day for my choice of the most important piece of news about the economy.


Investing:
Information is the life blood of successful investing. The informed investor has to have two things: 1) the ability to put every new piece of information into a broad context of the overall economy and investment markets (the big picture) and 2) up-to-date, timely, specific facts about the economy, companies and markets.


I recommend that you review the web-based information on a regular basis if you want to stay informed. As time passes you should become more familiar with the material, and your understanding should grow dramatically.


I. General Knowledge of how stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments work can be gained by spending time at www.investopedia.com. Of special interest here are the many Articles that have been stored as references on such topics as Investment Basics, Stocks, Bonds, et.al. I would read a few of these articles, then move onto the other sites below. Return to investopedia after you have become more familiar with the overall landscape of the information you are trying to master. Gradually, it should all start making more sense.

II. A fine place to look at current news and information about specific companies, such as General Electric is www.yahoofinance.com. Type the symbol for the stock you want to study into the box at the center of the page. Once you have done this you can read all the news articles filed under that company, and do other research. Use the “buttons” down the left side of the page to delve into the many resources stored here, such as how the analysts on Wall Street rate this stock (“Analyst Opinion”).

III. The source for all official corporate filings with the SEC (the real information such as quarterly and annual reports!) is available at Freeedgar.com. I have taken you to the listings for General Electric, but you can type in any symbol in the box and view all the filings for any corporation.

IV. View broad stock market data at webs sites for the New York Stock Exchange, The NASDAQ, and Standard and Poor’s.

V. These days you have to know what oil, gasoline and natural gas prices are doing. Visit www.Bloomberg.com to view real-time energy market prices. The oil price quoted most often by the media is at the top and it’s called “Nymex crude”. Bloomberg is a wealth of free market data. The buttons on the left of the page provides access to many other markets prices and economic data. Check Consumer inflation trends, for instance. It’s important, but rarely discussed in clear terms. The dates in the middle of the page are links to prior months’ Inflation rates.

VI. The value of the dollar can affect investment decisions, but more importantly, it is a barometer of the health of the U. S. economy in many regards. A great site to take a real-time look at the dollar vs. the Euro and the Yen, etc is www.exchangerates.com. The table near the middle of the page tells us how many dollars it takes to make 1 Euro, for example ($1.20 on July 26, 2005).

VII. One of my favorite types of investments is called “closed-end bond mutual funds”. My clients typically will own several of these. In general these funds own bonds, pay interest and trade on the NYSE. Of course, they do have risk, but there is one feature they have that makes me feel much more comfortable about owning them: discount price. Very often, we can purchase these investments for 10-12% below what is called the “net asset value” (NAV). By doing so, we own assets that at the time of purchase are worth a dollar but only cost us 88-90 cents to buy! In retirement, shopping discounts are what make our dollars stretch further, and the same is true with our investments. View an array of very timely information about the closed-end mutual funds at www.cefa.com. Type in a symbol in the box at top left of the page called “Daily NAVs” and you receive up-to-date information about the fund you may own.

NOTE: Anytime you have questions about what you’re looking at in these areas or if the material raises a question about your portfolio, please contact me be email at: paul@herzfeld.net.