Today’s media is getting increasingly sloppy. Pumping out as much content as possible on the Internet is what many stock “news” websites do. The more stories they publish, the greater chances the search engines will rank one of them highly and funnel visitors to the website. Or, a story might go viral on Reddit or some other social media site and get visitors that way. Each story that is written is like a separate line into the water in hopes of catching fish. The more lines you have, the better your chances of catching something.
So, as a reader of stock news and updates from sites like Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Forbes, Wall Street Cheat Sheet, MarketWatch, Investors Business Daily, and others like them you need to pay close attention to the details to make sure you aren’t fooled. In other words, remember that every story you read could be just bait to get readers to the website and not really have that much credible information in it.
Take for example this article from Motley Fool. The date it was posted says May 6th, 2013 but as the comments from readers point out, it was really written earlier than that. The author states that earnings will be announced on May 1 which should have already happened if the article was written on the 6th. Knowing that, is the article really worth reading at all?
The goal of many websites like Motley Fool is really to get you on their mailing list buy enticing you to sign up for their free newsletter. Once you are on their list, they will then email you every day with more content which is designed to get you to buy things and spend money for more information on their site. It is the main way that sites like this make money so the more lines they have in the water, the more potential there is for them to generate income.
They target people who buy stock and bombard them with stock stories about popular companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The more popular the company (think Apple) the more stories they will post whether they really have anything new to bring to the table or not. Wall Street Cheat Sheet is the worst of the worst as their titles are all written to generate clicks by being outrageous.
So the next time you click on a stock story and start reading, take a second to see when the article was written and start paying attention to what you read and from who. Some stock “news” sources are definitely better than others.
Opinions are worth the price you pay for them it is said, and in the stock market game there are a lot of free “ideas” everywhere you turn. It really is a game the way analysts raise and lower their target prices for stocks and you can really be left shaking your head if you listen to too many of them.
Apple is by far the most talked about company on Wall Street and the speculation seems to be at a fever pitch after the stock has dropped from $700 to the low $500’s in recent months. Analysts who were falling all over themselves to keep raising their target price are now in a competition to see who can expose the latest reason the stock (and even the company) will die. It is a joke and a good read on this can be found right here.
Now days there are so many sources for stock information: television, Internet, magazines, newspapers, and radio. Most people presumably get most of their stock news from the TV and Internet and it is on those delivery channels that there is an overload of free stock picks from the “pros”.
How many different authority stock websites are out there? Dozens at least and they all have their “analysts” espousing their take on the market and individual stocks. In many cases, you can get their opinions for free and 9 times out of ten I would guess you, the everyday investor type, has no idea who these people really are or what their credentials are. Why then should you listen to them?
If you want to learn how to buy and sell stocks and be successful at it, you have to learn how to tune out the fluff and figure out which of these guys (analysts) really knows what they are talking about. The best way is to form your own opinion first and get your own ideas yourself, then go see what other people are saying about the companies you choose.
Analysts truly are a dime a dozen now and many of them will change course and go with the herd at the drop of a hat. To be an analyst all you have to do in the current environment is have a camera in front of you and rephrase what everyone else is saying. You have to be extra careful before you pull out your hard earned dollars because you believe one of the stock picks given to you by one of the current crop of analysts.