Ahl's Best Investment Sites on the Web

These 16 investment web sites are the best sites you will find for practical, unbiased information about investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (ETF), American Depository Receipts (an ADR is a share of a foreign company traded on a U.S. exchange), closed-end funds, and exchange-traded income and debt securities. Information about stocks and open-end mutual funds is widely available, but you really have to search to find objective, useful information about other investments that you need for diversity like ADRs, ETFs, REITs, preferreds, and bonds. These links are a great place to start.
Finances are important

Stocks, Mutual Funds, Markets, the Economy, Personal Finance

* CBS Market Watch site has market news and commentary, personal finance tools (portfolio tracker, mutual fund finder, newsletter directory, etc.), newsletter summaries, Hulbert's ratings of newsletters, interactive charting, advisor recommendation summaries, timely news of new IPOs, intraday screener, analyst upgrades and downgrades, much more. Very comprehensive, easy to use and navigate, charts load fast.
* Smart Money Magazine site provides a portfolio tracker, unique map of the market (takes time and effort to understand this one) and market sectors, earnings news, market commentaries, bond market information (you don't find this many places), economic indicators, excellent on-line planning tools for retirement, taxes, etc., very comprehensive interactive charts (but slow). Stock and mutual fund screening and comparison tools available for a fee.
* You might not think of Forbes Magazine as a basic financial web site, but frequently their columnists, who are some of the best in the world, publish expanded lists of their research on line. For example, Forbes runs a piece on REIT stocks every year and the abbreviated table accompanying the article is good, but the on-line table lists smaller REITs which may have more potential for large gains. Also, Forbes' semi-annual mututal fund analysis is outstanding and, in some ways, better than Morningstar. Look for these lists under the "Home" tab in "Special Reports" and under the "Personal Finance" tab in "Funds." For some of the reports, you'll have to sign up for a free account.
* American Association of Individual Investors site provides investment education in the areas of investing basics, financial planning, retirement, comparing mutual funds, stock market investing, and improving your investment portfolio. The majority of the information on the web site is free. Especially valuable are the stock screens that employ a wide variety of criteria. Each one includes a screen overview, historical performance chart, and list of passing companies, which is available in printing or downloadable spreadsheet format.
* Fidelity Investments site provides lots of excellent research on stocks and mutual funds (you don't have to be a customer to use it). Has clearly-written articles on basic investing, retirement planning, estate planning, college expenses, taxes, how to build a bond ladder portfolio, much more. Very good stock research and analysis tools. Also has excellent tools for selecting, evaluating, and comparing mutual funds.
* T. Rowe Price is primarily a site to provide information on T. Rowe Price mutual fuunds. However, it also has the best FREE stock screening tool around. Most stock screeners, other than very simple ones, are premium (fee) services on sites like Smart Money but this very excellent screener is absolutely free. Okay, it's not the easiest to use and it's not very clear how to save and modify a screen, but, hey, it's free! Also, T. Rowe Price has some of the more conservative funds around; here's where to learn about them.
*Asset Management Comprehensive directory of Asset Management and other financial web sites.

Mutual Funds

* For information on open-end (standard) mutual funds, Morningstar.com is clearly the best place to start. The web site is loaded with information, although it does assume a knowledge of the basics, which they are happy to offer you for a price. Actually, that's the main downside to this web site: a lot of the information is available free, but unless you know what you're looking for, it's sometimes hard to ferret it out. And many times when you click on something that sounds right, you're told, "This feature is a benefit of premium membership" (which, at $12.95/month, ain't cheap). However, if you sign up for a free standard membership and persist, you can get a tremendous amount of excellent information. Look especially at the lists of "Standout Mutual Funds" in various categories. Oh, yes, be sure to have your pop-up blocker on when you use this site.

Exchange Traded Funds and Closed-End Funds

* ETF Connect has information on both index and closed-end exchange traded funds. Has excellent basic info on ETFs: differences between them and open-end funds, buying and selling, risks, performance, dividends, and tax issues. Also discusses preferred stock issued to leverage ETFs and closed-end funds, ETF sponsors, and specialists. Has in-depth info on each ETF including objective, performance, underlying index, top ten holdings, dividends, more.
* Exchange Traded Funds web site explains standard index ETFs, both domestic and foreign, has lists of all ETFs worldwide plus comprehensive, but concise tables of showing current ETF prices, volume, and NAV (net asset value). Also has current news, list of new offerings, and an excellent table of ETFs by classification (the web site is under construction and has no link to this table; you'll find it at http://www.exchangetradedfunds.com/ETFClass.html).
*Closed-End Fund Association provides lots of information, news, and tools for investing in closed-end funds.
* Closed-End Funds is not a web site, but a simple, one-page explanation of what a closed-end fund is. (Unfortunately, most web sites on closed-end funds are trying to sell you something and bury the useful data so deep that they are all but useless. The best basic pricing and financial data on closed-ends is on Morningstar.com)


* InvestingInBonds.com, a web site sponsored by the Bond Market Association, has by far and away the best information on all types of bonds: treasuries, municipals, corporates, and agencies. (But no info on foreign sovereign debt or Brady bonds.) Has basic info on bond investing, zero-coupon bonds, CMOs, CDs, much more. Plus the only comprehensive list of bond prices based on recent trades.

Preferred Stocks, Income and Debt Securities

* QuantumOnline.com is by far the best and most comprehensive web site on preferred stocks, exchange-traded income and debt securities, and convertible securities. Has outstanding easy-to-understand information on all types of income securities plus a huge database of every income stock and security traded on any U.S. exchange along with income tables, and dividend payment schedules. A truly outstanding web site.
* Preferred Stock Online has a humongous database of all preferred stocks with name, symbol, current stock price, dividend payment and yield, payment schedule. Use this in conjunction with the Quantum site when you're in the market for preferred stock. Has a short introduction to preferred stock investing.

ADRs (Shares of foreign companies traded on U.S. exchanges)

* The Depository Receipt web site sponsored by the Bank of New York has good background and educational information on American Depository Receipts (ADR) and American Depository Shares (ADS), as well as info on the most active issues, performance, and a very nice interactive charting tool. You can list ADRs by industry, country, or region and the lists show the issue, symbol, exchange (including NASDAQ bulletin board), industry, etc.
* Like the above site, ADR.com has news, market overview, and research as well as research and lists of the best and worst performers in total and by country. This web site, sponsored by JP Morgan, has some research not found on the Bank of NY site, although its lists do not show the trading exchange, a serious drawback.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)

* Nat'l Ass'n of REITs provides good basic information on REITs, how to invest in a REIT, how to find a suitable REIT, diversification benefits, dividends, REIT closed-end funds and mutual funds, and a database of both publicly-traded and private REITs. Site provides current share price and financial information through Yahoo Finance.

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