Being a successful long term investor requires an intimate and broad based understanding of how the world works. However, this is easier said than done. No one can develop such an understanding overnight, but in this article, I wanted to address a necessary pre-requisite to developing such an understanding: Reading the news.
A lot of intelligent people, including Warren Buffett, have touted the benefits of reading. I can’t guarantee you that reading the news will make you Warren Buffett, but what I can guarantee you, is that if you don’t read the news, you will never become Warren Buffett.
And on that sombre note, let’s dive into the list of news sources that Financial Horse uses.
Note that this list reflects my personal preferences. There are many great news sources that didn’t make this list (eg. New York Times, Wall Street Journal etc). That doesn’t mean they are not good, it’s just that I don’t use them personally.
Broadsheets are the typical, mainstream newspapers that most people get their news from. Given how prevalent they are, you absolutely need one to build your news foundation.
Bloomberg – Bloomberg used to be my favourite business news site. Period. They had short, bite sized articles, they covered almost all newsworthy business news, and best of all, they were completely free. Then they enacted a paywall limiting free customers to 10 free articles a month. That was a horrible day in my life. These days, I still glance through their homepage to see if anything catches my fancy, but I use it a lot less. They have a promotion now at S$9.99 for 6 months, and S$34.99 a month after, but at that price, they’re a lot less attractive.
The Business times – The BT is a great source for Singapore business news (the only one in fact). If the only stocks you buy are Singapore stocks, then this is a great resource. Fortunately most of their articles are free, so while there’s a paywall for premium articles, the free edition is good enough for me. A monthly subscription is S$29.90, which is worth getting if you really like it, but it does seem pretty steep just to access the premium articles.
A word of caution, BT is a bit too Singapore focussed for my liking, so I would be wary of using them as my only news source.
Financial Times – Bloomberg’s erection of the paywall accelerated my hunt for alternative sources of business news. I eventually settled on the Financial Times. Their quality of reporting is absolutely amazing, and their articles are far more in depth than Bloomberg and BT (at least for me). They also have very strong reporting for international news.
A monthly subscription is required to read the articles, but there is a promotion where you can get 4 weeks access for S$1 (don’t forget to cancel before the 4 weeks is up, otherwise they charge you S$80 plus a month). I’m still cycling through spare email accounts to enjoy this promo, but once I’m done, I intend to pay for a subscription. It’s about S$6 a week if you take a yearly subscription, which is pretty alright. It’s quite good value for money too since the free account restricts you to about 3 articles a week.
One drawback with the Financial Times is that it’s a bit too global focussed for Singapore investors. Which is why I like to balance it out with the Business Times and Straits Times.
Straits Times – The quintessential Singapore newspaper. I rely on this for more general, Singapore related news. There’s nothing much to say here, it’s everything you expect from the Straits Times. My family subscribes to this so I have access to the premium articles, and occasionally there are great articles that catch my eye.
Like Business Times, the free edition is actually pretty good, so there’s not much need to sign up for a paid account unless you really want access to the premium articles. If you do, the digital access comes at S$14.90, which is one of the cheaper ones on this list.
The Guardian – The Guardian has great news reporting standards and is completely free of charge. I can’t stress how much I like this broadpaper, so do check it out if you haven’t already.
The problem with the Guardian is that they are a British paper, so the news is a bit Europe centric. I still read it because I used to live in London when I was younger, but I get that not everyone is equally enthralled by news on the NHS. It’s a bit of a personal preference, so feel free to skip this.
Too much mainstream news is not good for the soul. Sometimes you need to loosen up and see things from a different perspective.
Zero Hedge – When it comes to contrarian perspectives, there is no better site than Zerohedge. This perma-bear site actually boasts a very sophisticated readership, with many finance professionals turning to this on a daily basis. As with everything you read on the internet, take their articles with a pinch of salt, and you’ll be all the richer for it.
Wolf Street – I really like this guy as well. He’s another perma-bear, but his insights and research are truly unparalleled. Read his articles, critically analyse his thesis, and you’ll be surprised by what you can learn.
Blogs are a very rich addition to this genre. They give a voice to the common man, a voice that he would not have had for the internet. If you find a guy who produces quality content, and where you enjoy his style of writing, stick with him, because there is much you can learn.
Investment Moats – Investment Moats is run by Kyith Ng, and is just about my favourite finance blog in Singapore. All his articles are meticulously researched and offer great insights. There’s a dearth of quality finance blogs in Singapore, and I am grateful to Kyith for doing his part.
Seedly Facebook group – The Seedly Facebook Group is not really a blog per se, rather it’s a finance minded community. But still, I am very impressed by what the guys at Seedly have done. The crowd-mind is smarter than any one individual can be, and this is very true over at Seedly.
Financial Horse – Have you heard of this guy? I heard he’s awesome.
I won’t go in-depth into the US blogs, because they are probably less relevant for Singapore readers. Nevertheless, I have listed my favourite below, do check them out if you are keen (arranged in no particular order).
Researching a stock
Before I ended off, I also wanted to touch quickly on the sources and procedure I use when researching a stock:
Yahoo Finance – I always start with Yahoo Finance. Their summary page gives me a quick overview of valuation metrics such as market cap, P/E, Forward P/E, EV/EBITDA, etc.
Seeking Alpha – For US stocks, I like to check out Seeking Alpha to seek what the general sentiment is like around a stock.
DBS Research – For Singapore Stocks, I usually just google them to see what other bloggers are saying, and if there are any quality analyses. If DBS has a report on it, those usually give a great overview of the counter.
Quarterly Presentations – After that, I like to download the latest investor presentation form a quarterly earnings, as I find that it gives a nice, broad overview of the stock.
Quarterly financials / Annual report – There is no shortcut to research. The quarterly financials come next, followed by the annual report.
So there you have it! A summary of all the news sources that I use to enrich myself. Did I miss out any source that you feel strongly about? Leave a comment below!
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