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Know How to Find Information on Mutual Funds and Stocks

The Internet has facilitated a virtual explosion of information related to financial assets and investing. Many companies provide investing information on the Internet in hopes that investors who use the information will buy their products or use their services. Unfortunately, much of this information is biased, flawed, or even incorrect. So where can you find reliable mutual fund and stock information? There are a number of helpful resources that you can and should research before selecting your financial assets.


Good Sources of Information

Mutual fund monitoring companies: There are several companies whose entire purpose is to monitor the performance of various mutual funds. These companies usually provide information to subscribers for an annual fee. Mutual fund monitoring companies include Morningstar Mutual Funds and Lipper Analytics.

Stockbrokerage firms: The different types of stockbrokerage firms range from full-service brokerages to discount and online brokerage houses. Full-service brokerage firms usually supply investment data to their clients free of charge, while discount firms usually charge a fee. Stockbrokerage firms include companies such as Merrill Lynch, TD Ameritrade, Morgan Stanley, and Charles Schwab.

Fund supermarkets: Mutual fund supermarkets are brokerage houses that offer mutual funds from many different fund families. To compensate these mutual fund supermarkets for bringing in new customers, mutual fund companies rebate part of their management fees to the mutual fund supermarkets. Mutual fund supermarkets have large databases composed of the mutual funds they offer, and they make these databases available to clients. Mutual fund supermarkets include companies such as Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.

Financial Websites: There are a number of reliable financial websites that you can access without paying a fee. These websites include the following: www.Indexfunds.com, www.cnnmoney.com, http://finance.yahoo.com, www.fool.com, www.yahoofinance.com, www.MSNMoney.com, and aol.finance.com.

Financial publications: There is a great deal of information available in financial publications. Helpful magazines include the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Kiplinger’s, and Smart Money.

Libraries: Libraries also house a lot of helpful information. The Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University has a wealth of information—most of it online—that can help students analyze the various financial assets they are thinking of including in their portfolios.

Finding the Best Format for Information

Investors need to have access to accurate and current information. Although there are many good sources that offer financial information, the best sources are databases that are regularly updated and easy to search via the Internet.

One example of such a database is Morningstar.com. Morningstar provides both free information and subscription information to investors. Morningstar is just one of many available databases. Please note that although I am using this database as an example in this website, I am neither endorsing Morningstar nor implying that it is the best database; however, I do think that the information provided by Morningstar is generally sound. All of the Internet screen pictures for this section were taken from the Morningstar website at www.morningstar.com and the Premium Fund Selector Screener. This product is also available as a free resource for students enrolled in many colleges, including Brigham Young University. For help in using Morningstar on the Internet or from your local college, see Learning Tool 7: Using Morningstar to Select Funds.


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