to sit down for a polygraph test, due diligence falls into your lap.
Luckily, you can also do further research on the Web. Sources on the Internet include DailyStocks, which is literally crammed with links to financial publications and journals. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (www.sec.gov) is the government repository for company filings. And, finally, you can write to investor relations at any given company to receive both an annual report and a copy of its 10-K filing.
Put together the screening capabilities the pros use and good research to back it up, and you should be well on your way to becoming your own successful portfolio manager.
Mutual Fund Screens
Fret not, mutual fund investors. The same screening power that places the entire stock market in your hands is also available for mutual funds. If you’re lazy–or looking to conserve your Web-crawling stamina–you needn’t look any further than the very same DailyStocks site (www.daily stocks.com) we listed for stock screens. There, at the very top of the site, you’ll find a list of search engines, including one for funds. Click there, and a new window appears listing three fine fund screens in the left-hand margin: FundFocus (also accessible at www.fund focus.com), SmartMoney (www.smartmoney.com) and Morningstar (www.morningstar.net). The three sites cover a number of key questions.
FundFocus tells you how long the fund manager has been around; what the fund’s average annual return is over a given number of years and what the fund’s expense ratio is. FundFocus is also a great launching spot, where you can fiddle with a number of criteria and research the funds you choose after screening.
SmartMoney’s site offers a lot of criteria choices under the categories of Performance, Grades, Volatility, Profile, Expenses and Family.
Morningstar’s site presents a battery of simple screens for beginners to use, although more advanced screens require a subscription to the service.