Investment Sites: The Three Free Websites I Use Every Day in My Research
by Mark Skousen, Chairman, Investment U
Monday, April 24, 2006: Issue #529
If you are like me, you need to keep up to date every day if you want to be a successful investor. “The used key is always bright,” says Ben Franklin.
For me, there are three must-read investment sites I check every day to stay on top of all things financial. All three are free, and you don’t even have to give them your e-mail address.
My Top 3 Investment Sites:
1. Yahoo! Finance
Yahoo! Finance, especially the “message boards,” is a superb resource. Now, I know you must be thinking, “Skousen, you’re crazy. Don’t you know that message boards are constantly manipulated by speculators and schemers?” Actually, that used to be case, but no longer.
While all message boards contain some noise and disinformation, there are always several participants who are knowledgeable and often quite insightful. I also find it useful to know whether they are “bullish” or “bearish” on a stock or other investment, and they are often the first ones to know why a stock has jumped suddenly, or collapsed.
Yahoo Finance also offers a great service to link you to articles by major suppliers of news and recommendations. No need to subscribe to sites like Business Week, MarketWatch, Fortune, or even The Wall Street Journal. If a major news outlet says something about a publicly traded company, you can usually read the article through a link at Yahoo Finance. And if it’s a pay service, such as the Motley Fool or The Wall Street Journal Online, you can often get details from the message boards.
Finally, Yahoo Finance has made life so much easier for fundamental and technical traders interested in specific stocks, funds, ETFs, etc. You can pretty much get everything you need to know about a company, including insider stock transactions, historical charts, dividends and distributions, even the major holdings of stocks in mutual funds.
Moving on what’s the latest on all things precious?
Where’s the best place to get up-to-date prices on the precious metals? If there’s one drawback to Yahoo Finance, it’s that it does a poor job covering commodity prices, which are booming right now. For that, I love the new Kitco site.
Kitco provides several great benefits on its website, all free of charge:
- It gives you minute-by-minute pricing of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
- It also covers the base metals, including copper and uranium, which are also hitting new highs.
- Kitco offers news and commentary on commodities, inflation, Fed policy, and anything that might affect the precious metals.
- It also includes commentaries from gold bugs that you don’t read anywhere else (beware that they are ubiquitous doomsayers).
The best site for economic statistics?
My third favorite is Economagic, the best website around for the latest statistics on interest rates, inflation, housing starts, GDP, and other macroeconomic data. It even includes the notorious M3 money supply figures, which the Fed no longer publishes.
Economagic also allows you to create your own charts of these data, letting you compare interest rates with inflation, GDP growth, and other statistics. I use this source all the time in preparing papers and talks on economic issues.
For example, here’s a chart I created from Economagic which shows why the Fed is determined to raise interest rates. The blue line is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and the red line is the Fed Funds Rate, since 1990.
As you can see, the Fed has been raising rates to catch up with core CPI inflation. According to the chart, CPI inflation has recently begun to taper off, which is why there’s been talk that the Fed will soon stop raising rates. However, based on recent price action of gold, which is the best forecaster of future inflation, we may be in for another round of interest rate increases.
What Are Your “Best-Kept Secret” Investment Sites?
If you frequent a must-read investment / financial website, and would like to share it with other Investment U readers, send us the Web address at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Good investing, AEIOU,
Today’s Investment U Crib Sheet
Here are my top three FREE investment sites:
Today, we’ve looked at core CPI and how the Fed uses it as a factor in adjusting the Federal Funds rate and that gold is the best indicator of inflation. Ultimately, the price of gold tells all – when it declines, it means less inflation down the road. When gold goes up, it means more of it ahead. Be sure to check out Investment U #494, Gold as an Inflation and Market Indicator: Where to Put Your Money When Prices Edge Higher, and get the four forces behind gold’s surge.