Everything You Need to Know about
E-Trading

By NATHANIEL WICE and DAN ERCK

Best Overall Sites
Tracking Investments
Getting New Investment Ideas
Research to Make Investment Decisions
Making Investments

You don't need the Web to trade stocks. And chances are that your full-service broker doesn't even have Internet access. But then again that $250-a-trade broker also probably can't track the up-to-the-minute value of your portfolio, flag a technical breakout from the 50-day moving average of your favorite drug stock, sip from the burbling brook of gossip that runs through the financial markets or filter high-growth tech stocks that are more than 25% off their 52-week highs. Ah, but you, equipped with the lowliest, Net-connected PC, can: the Web gives all of that (and so much more) to you. Here's our list of the most important places for the e-trader to visit.

Best Overall Sites

1 Yahoo! Finance (http://quote.yahoo.com) Our favorite. Take 60 seconds to set up a free portfolio and you'll see why. Most investing sites have their own version of Yahoo's basic stock-price quotes; none keeps more data so close at hand. Crucial research and charts are a click away, and they load fast. "Recent News" links at the bottom of the main portfolio screen track breaking stories elsewhere online; the message boards have more stock gossip than the Wall Street subway platform. Missing: real-time quotes.

2 Interactive Investor (http://www.iii-asia.com) Equity prices from six stock markets, including Hong Kong, with historical graphs. News from around the globe, plus prices on more than 6,000 mutual funds. Free advice from a panel of Asia experts and access to a discussion group on investing in Asia make this site a good starting place. Plus, unlike many sites in Asia, it's free.

3 MSN Investor (http://investor.msn.com) Homepage contender for U.S. investors--and those who invest in the U.S. While the site draws on a lot of the same info sources as Yahoo (Yahoo is faster since it has fewer graphics), Investor's presentation is far prettier. After a special download, you can click around in the chart graphics, overlaying comparative performance and zooming in and out on the time frame.

Tracking Investments
Someday, newspapers will finally chuck their endless pages of tiny-print stock quotes. They're already archaic, thanks to Web-based stock trackers--a must even if you don't use an online broker.

QUOTES/PORTFOLIO TRACKERS

Wall Street City (http://www.wallstreetcity.com) Great for free real-time quotes, with loads of information sites. Get ready to register.

Financial Interactive Services Hub (http://www.infront.com.sg) A good starting point for the Singapore exchange, though you'll have to pay for real-time quotes ($6 per month). Track regional indices and your portfolio too. Drawbacks: lousy navigation and poor design.

DLJdirect (http://www.dljdirect.com) Free quotes on options, even for noncustomers. A handy backup for U.S. markets if your portfolio tracker chokes on the symbols for stock derivatives.

Netvigator Financial Express (http://nfx.netvigator.com/premium_app/eng/index.html) Top-quality research for the Hong Kong market and up-to-the-minute news and quotes. But it's not free: plan on spending $50 to $64 per month depending on which services you choose.

Getting New Investment Ideas
The facts may sometimes get fudged in the flow of chatter, but all these sources can light a fire under an overlooked Net play or throw cold water on an overextended run-up.

ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

Silicon Investor (http://www.siliconinvestor.com) SI is the monster message board for stocks on the Web. Lurk for free, but pay to post. This is the real thing--insider info has prompted sec investigations. 

Raging Bull (http://www.ragingbull.com) Another gathering place, as the name none too subtly suggests, for wild wild Web traders. Special thanks for the "ignore member" feature.

NEWS

CBS MarketWatch (http://cbs.marketwatch.com) This Web-only service really boogies on Web and tech stocks. Hype here can move Net stocks.

The Asian Wall Street Journal (http://awsj.com) Capitalism's paper of record breaks lots of stories first on its website.

Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/bbn) Blazing fast, with regular updates on Asian markets nearly real-time (for the whole enchilada you'll need to spend big bucks for a desktop terminal).

TheStreet.com (http://www.thestreet.com) The Street's news staff members round out colorful intraday dispatches from trader (and site co-founder) Jim Cramer

Research to Make Investment Decisions
Every now and then, there's more to stock picking than piling into the latest .com momentum issue when a CEO struts on CNBC. Here's where the real homework starts.

COMPANY PROFILES

Investor Relations Asia (http://www.irasia.com) Free research on hundreds of listed companies on many Asian exchanges, including press releases and annual reports. Contact info for fund management companies and brokerages.

Hoover's (http://www.hoovers.com) Full profiles available for a monthly $14.95 fee.

Thomson Investors Network (http://www.thomsoninvest.net) The Investext summaries of brokerage research reports make tin rock ($34.95/year; free 30-day trial).

ANALYST RECOMMENDATIONS

I/B/E/S Check here to find buy/sell ratings tracked by Institutional Brokers Estimate System (http://www.ibes.com), available free through Quicken.com.

Zacks (http://www.zacks.com) Here's a tally of broker recommendations, upgrades and downgrades for U.S. markets; data is also available via Yahoo! Finance.

CHARTS

Big Charts (http://bigcharts.com) Chart heaven for U.S. securities. Service is licensed widely, including Zacks (see above).

SECTION FILING AND OTHER FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

EDGAR Online (http://www.edgar-online.com) Edgar's got public files from the U.S. sec (http://www.sec.gov), which you can also get from Yahoo! Finance's sec links. Edgar's "Today's Filings" requires a $29.85/quarter subscription.

Making Investments
When you get right down to it, this is what it's all about. Choose wisely, and then get ready to rock 'n' roll.

Boom Securities (http://boom.com) Hong Kong's first online securities broker, with English and Chinese versions, has grown up during the past year. A Reuters newswire, real-time quotes and, soon, access to U.S. markets. Throw in a portfolio tracker for good measure. You'll need just over $1,900 to open an account.

Celestial Asia Securities (http://www.cash.com.hk) Open an account with $650. Real-time access to account balances, plus a network of six branches if you need a little hand holding. Trading is limited to the Hong Kong market, but plans to expand regionally are afoot.

Polaris Securities (http://polaris.sinanet.com) and Dashin Securities (http://www.dashin.com.tw/winter) in Taiwan. It's a crowded marketplace, with more than 30 sites bidding for your bidding. These two have won kudos from investors.

Development Bank of Singapore (http://www.dbs.com.sg) Access to markets across the region, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Fantastic research too. The catch: a minimum initial investment of nearly $30,000.

Fraser Direct (http://www.fraserdirect.com.sg) in Singapore. Nice, easy-to-use navigation. Good all-around site for investing on the Singapore exchange. Plus, you only need about $600 to get things rolling.
 

Sources: TIME-Money 12 July 1999

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