I’m often asked where I get my investment ideas for the Sizemore Investment Letter and what sources I read to keep abreast of financial news. The fact is, you can’t read everything that comes across your desk; there is simply not enough time in the day to get through it all. You have to prioritize and organize your reading list, or you’ll waste your entire working day reading information that is irrelevant to your investing. Let us not forget that time is money!
I created the list below to highlight some of my regular news sources. I hope you find them as valuable as I have in my investing career.
The Sizemore Investment Letter List of Recommended News Sources
If I could only read one publication, it would without a doubt be the Financial Times. The FT is the premier global financial newspaper for serious investors, and it covers the entire globe. Most newspapers, even the good ones, are at least half full of trivial fluff and local interest. Not the FT.
I started reading the FT when I was a graduate student at the London School of Economics, and I haven’t stopped reading it since.
If you want to know what is happening in the world, laid out in a clear, concise manner, you need to be reading the Financial Times.
For American financial news, it’s hard to beat The Wall Street Journal. I must admit, I am very partial to the Financial Times, but I do consider the Wall Street Journal a worthwhile read as well. In a typical morning, I read the FT cover-to-cover, whereas I skim the Journal for any relevant points that the FT might have missed.
Over the past several years, the Journal has had the best coverage of the housing/mortgage bubble and bust and on the ongoing pension crisis among American companies and state and municipal governments. For good, quality American business news, the Wall Street Journal is a fine source.
Barron’s is my favorite weekly financial publication. Much of the news will be repeated from daily sources like the FT and the Journal, but Barron’s has a lot of original reporting that makes it a staple part of my weekly reading.
Barron’s routinely polls money managers about their favorite sectors, and this is a contrarian indicator I use to watch for herding behavior. I also find the annual Barron’s Round Table to be a good source for investment ideas, and I enjoy the interviews that the magazine routinely does with fund managers.
The magazine is also busting at the seams with financial statistics. Barron’s is probably the best source I’ve found for data on closed-end funds.
My only complaint with Barron’s is that its overall tone tends to be quite bearish, but this is also a source of credibility. If the editors were a bunch of glassy-eyed optimists, they wouldn’t be adding a lot of value.
If you don’t have time to read the Financial Times daily (or even if you do), reading The Economist weekly is the next best thing.
I like The Economist for two primary reasons:
1. It is an excellent source for global news and analysis.
2. I find value in seeing American domestic news through the eyes of a foreign publication.
This magazine is certainly worth including in your weekly reading routine.
George Friedman’s Stratfor has been called the “Shadow CIA,” and for good reason. Friedman and his team report on news that you simply don’t see anywhere else. They have boots on the ground everywhere, and they make you wonder if the President of the United States himself gets has access to more complete information and analysis.
But more than just reporting what is happening, Stratfor will explain why. They explain world events in a coherent, intelligent manner better than any other source I have seen.
If you want to understand geopolitics, subscribe to Stratfor.
Money manager’s Ken Fisher’s column alone would make Forbes worth reading. Interestingly, most of the truly worthwhile content in Forbes tends to be in the last 5-10 pages. If you are on a tight research budget, this magazine could be eliminated, though at the very least I would recommend going to Forbes.com and subscribing to Ken Fisher’s columns via e-mail.
This list is a work in process, and I will be adding new titles in the near future. In the meantime, you can get caught up on your reading. There is enough of it to keep you busy for a while.