Monthly Archives: February 2012
Posted by The Inside Investor
If there was a single tool that I would recommend for insider investors, it would be Twitter.
The reason is that Twitter can deliver an enormous amount of relevant content to you, but does so without overburdening your time with long articles.
There are many uses for Twitter. Individuals can use Twitter to keep their friends updated on what they are doing and thinking. Businesses can use it to engage with their customers.
Inside investors use it to deliver timely information about latest developments, news, articles, data, etc.
… I read a vast quantity of material every day, mostly on the markets, economy, and of course the precious metals. Of all the material I read perhaps three or four of them are “tweeted” by me to those that care to see what I am reading and what … those that follow these markets closely do not want to miss.
Prior to web 2.0 the “news” was updated by me personally each day except the weekends, believe me it took about an hour each day and it was painstaking work. After years of doing it, I simply got tired of it, but kept on as it was vital to those that came to the website. With the advent of Twitter I can do the same thing in one tenth the amount of time.
Bottom line is if you read a great deal in this space already then following what I post to twitter is probably not that valuable to you. If on the other hand you have very little time to spare and want what I think are the top stories of the day and want to scan them quickly then you might consider following my “tweets”.
This is very typical motivation for insider investors wanting to better reach out to their followers.
Others push Twitter even further, and use it to actually engage their followers and fellow inside investors in conversation. One famous example is the 16 hour Twitter war between Jim Rickards (@JamesGRickards) (of Tangent Capital and author of Currency Wars) and Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) (of Roubini Global Economics and Professor of Economics and International Business at New York University).
More practically, however, I find Twitter a very quick and easy way to get the latest insights and information regarding issues and investments that are of interest to me.
Unlike newsletters and reports each Twitter post, or tweet, is limited to 140 characters (letters, numbers, etc). Hence, by definition, tweets are easy to glance at and determine if the topic is worth investigating further.
Once per day I can glance over several dozen tweets, from the insider investors that I follow, in a matter of minutes. If I were to do the same with newspapers, newsletters or emails, it would take far longer.
Getting started with Twitter is easy. Simply go to twitter.com and create an account for yourself. Then visit The Inside Investor Blog’s Twitter page, @InsideInvestorB (using the @ symbol in this manner is shorthand for twitter.com/InsideInvestorB).
On my Twitter page you will see that I tweet about my latest blog posts, as well as other interesting bits of information.
You can follow @InsideInvestorB by clicking on the Follow button located near the top of the page. You will now get tweets from me without having to visit my page directly.
Looking at who I am following is a fantastic way to find other inside investors. When you look at their Twitter pages, you can then look at who they are following.
Remember, when you come across a Twitter page that is of interest to you, simply click the Follow button (you can later Unfollow any pages that you find no longer useful).
Very quickly you will find yourself following dozens, or even hundreds, of other people on Twitter. Each one delivering insights directly to you.
As if Twitter wasn’t useful enough, you are also able to install programs on your phone or computer to enable you to get updates in whichever manner best suits you and your lifestyle. For example, various phones and Mac OS X. Or, do a Google search for “Twitter client”.
To learn more about Twitter, I recommend a visit to fly.twitter.com.
Posted by The Inside Investor
Many of the best inside investors who are active on the internet will publish their own regular email newsletter or report.
These newsletters take many different forms, and are designed to deliver all sorts of different information.
Some of them will provide ongoing analysis and commentary on individual investment opportunities, others will deliver broad sector outlooks, and some will offer a big picture global perspective.
Almost all of these newsletters will require subscription payment (usually several hundred dollars per year), and can offer great value for money, especially if you subscribe to newsletters that align with your own particular investing strategy.
Many of the providers also offer free newsletters. Some of these offer one or two tidbits per edition, others will be abbreviated versions of the full newsletters, and others will be a separate service that complements the services of the insider.
These free newsletters can be a great way to test the relevance of the information provided by individual insiders.
I find it instructive to follow such newsletters (either free or paid variants) for several months (sometimes years) before acting on any information they provide.
This strategy enables me to evaluate the worth of the information, and the insider’s credentials, based on whether their insights actually deliver fruit in the market.
It’s easy enough to subscribe to these newsletters. Usually it’s simply a case of putting your email address onto a website. If payment is required, it is almost always done via credit card (or increasingly via secure intermediate payment services such as PayPal, which gives you an added layer of protection as your payment will not be going directly to a provider that you may not yet trust).
A brief word of caution with regards to such insider newsletters. A number of them are prepared for the purpose of making money for the insider.
One strategy is for the insider to talk up a stock that they already own, with the knowledge that their readers will then buy the stock and hence inflate its price.
This will deliver a short-term gain to the insider. Note that this is not necessarily a bad thing at all. I know of a number of newsletters designed to do this. I also know many of the investment recommendations are actually good picks. Hence the readers will often also make a gain.
The point is that you should always be mindful of the motivations behind the insider’s reports. Once you understand this, you can then make more appropriate decisions for yourself.
The good insiders, however, will disclose their positions when writing their analysis, and also indicate with several days advance notice their intentions for their own investment.
Having said this, however, there are obviously going to be newsletters whose sole purpose is to rip-off the readers. A good example are the so-called “penny stock” reports.
These purport to reveal amazing stocks going super cheap (a few cents per share). Of course, most of these are usually highly speculative (e.g. some types of mineral exploration).
As the readers buy into these penny stocks, and inflate the price, the insider will dump their holding having made an easy profit, and leaving the readers holding a potentially over-priced asset.
Unfortunately, a number of real estate reports are similar. Reports offered by some real estate analysis firms, banks, real estate agencies and developer groups are often motivated to talk up the market, and hence do not offer the objective information that is required for an investor like you or I.
With all of this in mind, I still like these newsletters, as they come to my email automatically and I can read them at my leisure and I almost always gain great information about the investment landscape.