Being a smart investor means keeping up with current events and how they might impact the stock market. In today’s environment, we have news available to us 24 hours a day, on television, computers, and probably most importantly, smartphones.
Even if your investments are focused on companies in one country, the connected global economy can mean that events across the world can impact the stock market. Or you might find that local regulations and changes can impact much larger, national companies. The difficult part is sorting through all of the available news to get to the updates that are most salient to your life. To keep up with the stock market, use these six means of keeping up with news on the go.
There are thousands of news websites you can follow or subscribe to in order to stay informed. Many also have social media presences and daily, topical newsletters you can subscribe to. You can choose homegrown sites or English-language news sites from around the world.
The most important stories will be listed first. Examples of sites that offer 24/7 news coverage are CNN, BBC, The New York Times, Reuters, and The Globe and Mail.
Sites like Google News and Street Sleuth gather news and financial data from all over the web and organize it for you. The major benefit of these sites is that you can discover new online sites and blogs that you may not have been aware of before, particularly those focusing on international news and markets.
Several news websites give you the option of downloading a program to your computer that runs a news ticker along the top or bottom while you are working. If you are an active trader, this news feed often appears on your brokerage trading pages.
You can customize many of these tickers to only include certain types of news, such as business or celebrity news. This allows you to passively monitor news headlines while you are working on something else. Clicking on one of the ticker headlines will bring you to the news site for the full version of the article. On Investopedia, you can create your own watchlists for the stocks and ETFs you want to follow and we’ll send you e-mail alerts when there is news on the companies you care about.
If you prefer hearing your news and current events rather than reading them or, for example, if you have a long commute, you can load up your smartphone with audio updates of breaking news and investing trends and listen to them on your own schedule.
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News podcasts can include replays of interviews and newscasts, or they may be a daily or weekly summary of recent events. These are usually better for longer-term investments, as the delay between the news, recording, releasing, downloading, and listening is well beyond the time allotted to make a quick trade. Many of these podcasts focus specifically on financial news.
If you want to get all the news about a certain subject regardless of the source, you can sign up for a service that provides customized alerts, such as Google Alerts or Feedly. You select the subject or keywords that you want to follow. Using a combination of algorithms and AI, these sites then constantly scan multiple spots on the internet for news relating to those topics. Places that these sites can include news websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media.
For example, if you want to keep up on the ongoing drought around the world and its impact on food prices, you can set up an alert on the keywords, “drought food prices,” and you will get updates on articles with those three words in it. You can also restrict your alerts to certain types of content, such as images, video, or news.
For Google Alerts, you can set your preferences to get updates as they are found or in a daily journal format. Feedly allows you to see your topics in an online account or through their app. These alerts can be used in combination with any of the news sources listed above to keep you regularly informed about breaking news and important changes that may impact your investments.
Many companies will release important news on their social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can follow these accounts for updates and changes that may impact your investments.
You can also use social media to follow experts in finance, the stock market, or specific industries where you invest. Often, these experts will predict changes or notice trends before any information is released by the companies themselves.
Listen in on Conference Calls
Don’t be intimidated. Call up the investor-relations representative at the company you own stock in to see if you can listen in on the company’s year-end conference call. You can also check the company’s investor-relations section on their web page, which will often provide information on the date of the next call along with a link to listen to the call online. Because of Regulation Fair Disclosure and the focus firms have these days on disclosing information to both individual and institutional investors at one time, many firms will allow individual-investor participation if the investor requests to participate in advance so that the company can arrange to set up a separate line.
What you are listening for in this call is what management says about the company’s future, but also the way in which they say it. Do they believe what they are saying? Are they enthusiastic or merely going through the motions? This information may provide you with the desire to either buy more shares or to liquidate your position entirely.
The first part of the call will go over the company’s financials for the time period along with any other pertinent developments. This is then followed by a question and answer session, generally with analysts, which is often the most important part of the call since you can see how management reacts to these tough questions.
Determining when your information is the most valuable can help you cut down on the hours you spend sorting through reports and financials. Summer months are typically weak months in the market and purchased stocks may wane. September and October are also historically difficult months—and year-end tax-loss selling can depress stocks even further. If you are satisfied that the stock you own or wish to purchase is on solid footing, you can continue with your purchases, but make sure you consider seasonal factors when trying to time a purchase or a sale.
Being an investor doesn’t mean that you have to read the Wall Street Journal each day or constantly check your mobile phone’s stock trading app. But if you hope to fare as well or better than the market average, in the long run, managing your time as you manage your portfolio can make the most sense (or cents).