Where can you find the smartest, savviest takes on the markets and the economy? Here are some good bets
Recent events—especially the Federal Reserve's surprising moves in helping JPMorgan (JPM) acquire the scraps of Bear Stearns (BSC) to prevent a massive market meltdown—have been great fodder for the growing community of financial bloggers. Indeed, over the last three years or so, some financial blogs have gathered a big enough following to make money from advertising by using tools including Google's (GOOG) AdSense.
Though many investors still rely on the mainstream financial media—and their own advisers—for information and advice, there are plenty of blogs that offer very good analysis and discussions. If you're dipping your toes into the financial blogosphere for the first time, start with portal SeekingAlpha, which calls itself a "one-stop shop" for stock research. Tom Taulli, an author, blogger, and dealmaker, says he uses SeekingAlpha's conference call transcripts regularly. Another good destination for stocks is AOL's BloggingStocks, which is updated several times a day with analysis of companies from various writers.
Media vs. Independent Blogs
Other media companies now offer must-read blogs by seasoned journalists covering the financial markets, deals, and the economy, such as Herb Greenberg's MarketBlog and The New York Times' DealBook. They also provide a forum for discussions and often point to independent blogs that offer strong opinions and analyze news events.
Independent blogs differ from mainstream media blogs by being more outspoken and usually sarcastic, while decorating their posts with cartoons, videos, and charts, along with music and book recommendations—giving them a unique personality. Infectious Greed by venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky is a fun read covering a wide range of topics including technology, hedge funds, the Federal Reserve, and market risk.
Stock investors have plenty of independent blogs to choose from.
Jon Ogg and Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. deliver both financial news and straight-talking stock analysis. Paul Hickey and Justin Walters at Bespoke Investment Group's Think B.I.G. stay on top of market movements and illustrate their analysis with easy-to-read tables and charts (it also has a subscription premium research service).
For day traders, TraderFeed by author Brett Steenbarger follows historical patterns in markets, adding dashes of psychology and self-help. McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. called Carl Futia's blog "one of the best technical investing and financial forecasting blogs."
Investors that like to delve into financial statements should enjoy 10Q Detective by David Phillips, a former equity analyst who sprinkles in "trader alerts" along with analysis of companies' SEC filings. Other blogs in this realm that have been going strong for years: Michelle Leder's Footnoted.org and highly regarded accountant Jack Ciesielski's The AAO Weblog (now only his newsletter subscribers can view all of his posts). Both of these blogs landed on our top 10 financial blogs list back in July, 2005 (two other blogs on this list are no longer active: Asset Allocator and Wealthy Blogger).
If you follow the economy (who doesn't these days?), check out Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis. Mike "Mish" Shedlock is not an economist—he's a registered investment adviser at Sitka Pacific Capital Management who likes to dig into economic data. He has been following the subprime mortgage meltdown and how the Federal Reserve has helped bail out financial companies.
In a recent post, he dissects some adjustable-rate mortgage, housing, and interest rate charts, and offers his take on where and when the "mortgage-rates-reset time bomb" could hit. Another independent econoblog that's widely followed is Calcuated Risk.
Interestingly, according to a public relations firm that represents a large network of financial advisers, many of them don't read blogs. But that shouldn't stop you from gathering intelligence from respected blogs to become a better informed investor.
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