Last week, I covered how a new investor can use their life experiences to generate investment ideas. Let’s say I was SO INSPIRING that you have implemented it in your life, and now wish to take a more active role in obtaining investment ideas, instead of waiting for ideas to drop from the sky. Fret not, today I’ll be sharing the small tweaks I made to my day to expand the range my investment radar.
Do note that I have a significant US focus, so the tools I use are largely US focused.
That daily long and cramped train ride
Instead of wasting time on mobile games on the MRT, why not spend the time on investment podcasts? For me, I listen to CNBC’s Fast Money and Mad Money podcasts.
Fast Money is a TV talk show on CNBC, a business TV network, that airs daily immediately after the close of the US market. CNBC takes the show’s audio and turns it into a audio podcast available on iTunes for free. CNBC does not seem to officially support Android, but I’m sure you can find it on some Android podcast apps. The podcast is uploaded on iTunes daily at roughly 7.30 am or 8.30 am SGT, depending on whether Daylight Saving is active.
Fast Money is hosted by Melissa Lee and a panel of 4 rotating full time traders, most of whom run their own funds. They share their stock picks and trading ideas daily, as well as give their opinions on the day’s news and headlines. The discussion is usually more trading focused and not necessarily for long term investors. They also discuss more than just equities, with options and recently cryptocurrencies featuring on the show as well.
I listen to this podcast to get a pulse of the thoughts of the traders to look for short term mis-pricing caused by trading as well as maybe get a few trading ideas. Ideal for the US investor as it is very much US focused.
Mad Money is also another TV talk show on CNBC that airs immediately after Fast Money daily. It is hosted by effervescent business TV veteran Jim Cramer. Dubbed as “the Most Interactive show on Television” by Cramer, he livens up the show with his signature soundboard. For a sample of his work, take a look:
(I hear Stark Industries has since delisted from the NASDAQ)
I’ve watched and listened to Mad Money almost everyday since the first day I started investing back in 2013. He explains things with a retail investor in mind and gives recommendations from a mid-long term investment perspective, while doing it in a hilarious and over the top way where possible. He is also able to attract top CEOs on to his show for interviews (most notably Tim Cook from Apple), so it also enables the listener to hear directly from management. He simplifies investing and makes it fun, making it ideal for the newbie investor.
Mad Money is available on iTunes daily from 8.30 or 9.30 am SGT daily.
To track my portfolio from time to time
You’re tired of work, you’re bored, and you just want to see how you are doing on the market. For me, I use Yahoo! Finance and more recently, StocksCafe to track my portfolio.
I’ve been using Yahoo! Finance portfolios since I first started investing to show me a live status of my portfolio. All you need to do is sign up for a Yahoo! account, create a new portfolio, and input all your stock purchases into the portfolio and Yahoo will calculate your gains/losses automatically, which will also update automatically as the trading price changes. Do expect a 20 mins delay in price data for most markets except for the US market.
- Simple and free to use
- Extensive library of stocks to track
- Only able to track performance of your current holdings and doesn’t track your historical performance on positions that you have closed out. As such you cannot track your own portfolio performance over time.
Yahoo! Finance portfolios can be found here.
StocksCafe was initially created by a user who wanted to easily track and screen stocks for his own personal consumption. Now it is open to all who wish to use it for free, with people who donate to the site getting enhanced features.
I recently stumbled upon this site and have started using it to track my own portfolio. I’m currently using the free version, which i think is sufficient for now. If you start recording transactions from scratch, you will be able to easily track your XIRR, dividend income and relative performance to STI ETF. It even has a tool for expected dividends for current and future years. For portfolio junkies, it automatically computes your portfolio beta, Value at Risk (VaR) and expected shortfall and based on that information, even give you recommendations on stuff to buy to balance out the portfolio. StocksCafe also has a decent community of people sharing ideas and their own portfolios. Pretty cool stuff.
- Automatically computes XIRR and shows relative performance to STI ETF
- Automatically tracks your dividend income and include it in the XIRR computation
- Some other cool automatic tracking and recommendation functions.
- Currently only tracks SG, MY, US and HK stocks.
- Free users are limited to 30 transactions so can be prohibitive for frequent traders. I say try it out and decide if you are want to contribute.
StocksCafe is found here.
Weekday evening entertainment
With so many things competing for your attention, I usually devote about 1 hour of my evening daily to investment websites. I love reading news, blogs and research reports for ideas. For business news, I frequent CNBC as I prefer their style of reporting (more to the point I suppose) compared to Bloomberg. But of course feel free to follow any of the business news sites like CNBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, etc, for your news fix. Reading also familiarises you with Wall Street jargon and things that investors look out for in each industry.
For blogs, you can refer to my blog roll (on the side bar over there ->) for a list of blogs I follow frequently. They are fellow Singaporeans who are also on their own journey to financial freedom and they cover a range of topics in personal finance and investing. As such, they have a Singapore market focus and slant, which is great as I’m looking to move more into the Singapore market. I’m discovering more and more blogs as time goes by, so do regularly check my blogroll for an updated list.
Research reports from brokers can be a useful way to derive ideas to understand the companies that are currently on the radar of big investors. They can give a comprehensive analysis of each individual stock and their thesis on why the stock price should increase. I currently only have 1 broker that provides me with free research (DBS Vickers), so I visit their platform daily to read about their latest ideas. Do note that research reports tend to be biased so do not take them to be gospel.
By making small commitments and tweaks to your daily routine, you can expand the range of your investment radar and get more investment ideas. However, do remember that while these sources are informative and helpful, they are usually motivated by the sources themselves. Nothing beats doing your own homework and making up your own mind prior to investing. Blindly investing on someone’s recommendation (including a recommendation from me) is simply gambling.
PS. The podcasts, tools and websites specified above are tools that I use everyday and I’m in no way sponsored by them. The views I have are purely my own.