Monday, April 15, 2013

ValueLine & Morningstar: Money Smart 2013

Using ValueLine and Morningstar to Monitor Your Investments

Whether you hire a investment professional or manage your portfolio on your own, monitoring the status of your stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments is certainly necessary. The more you know about your current financial status, the better financial decisions you will make going forward. Watching the market can be time-consuming, and at times (many times) unnerving as you watch IRAs and stock prices fluctuate, and getting some perspective on the broader situation will help as you make decisions. The GDL Business Center has many such resources, including the Wall Street Journal, business magazines such as Bloomberg, Inc., and Forbes. Located in the business center you will also find several investment newsletters, including the Fidelity Monitor, Kipplinger Letter, and Dick Davis' Investment Digest.

In addition to these print sources, the library subscribes to both ValueLine and Morningstar, investment resources that offer advice and perspective on stocks and mutual funds.

Previously delivered in print format, the library now has online access to ValueLine, which means that with a valid library card and PIN number, you are able to access this resource anywhere an internet connection is available from the Personal Finance page of our website. If you access the resource from outside any of our branches, the site will prompt you to enter your barcode and PIN after clicking "View this Resource."

Updated every Monday at 8:00 AM ET, ValueLine has several different informational reports available:

1. Ratings & Reports: Here you will find detailed reports on 134 companies, especially important if you are looking to invest in their stock. These reports contain historical and current stock data and ValueLine's commentary on the company's performance.

2. Selection & Opinion: This resource contains ValueLine's view on the market overall, and contains additional economic commentary for the week. 

3. Last listed is the Summary and Index, which is helpful for an at-a-glance view of a stock's performance; companies are listed alphabetically. Near the end of this report ValueLine has listed industries by their timeliness, and then corresponding stocks in those industries, also listed by timeliness. Listed last in this Summary section is a group of stocks ranked 1 (the highest) for performance over the next 12 months. See a snapshot of today's report below:

The other online resource you will find helpful as you review your investments is Morningstar, the organization known for its ratings of stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds (ETFs). 

 Morningstar offers comprehensive stock and fund information, with analysis, and suggestions for the types of funds you might consider depending on your particular situation. You can search morningstar several ways. If you know the ticker symbol for a company or fund simply type that in the header search box on the right side of the screen. For other searches by name, or fund type, use one of the "screens." Think of Morningstar's screens as just that, the ways you sift out exactly what you need and nothing that you don't need. Take a look at the stock screen below:

On the initial Morningstar screen I chose screen for funds, then "Fund Name" (viewable behind the screen function above, from a long list of searching options. You can then begin by typing a firm (MorganStanley, Fidelity, Vanguard, Merrill Lynch) and search for the fund you're looking for. After you've entered the name, be sure to click the button on the bottom right to view results. 

As you can see from the screen clipping from my search for funds that include the word "Fidelity," the resulting list contains the dates of the last report, the type of fund, the star rating, and total assets. Clicking on the link to any of the funds listed will direct you to the full Morningstar report.  

GDL wants you to win with your money, so check out these trusted sources for financial information today. Don't forget that Money Smart Week is next week, April 21-27th; please join for a special presentation on Tuesday, April 23rd, 6:45 PM, at our Grand Blanc branch. Click on our calendar of events to make your reservation today!

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