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BRASS Business Guide - FINANCE & INVESTMENTS: Frequently Asked Questions

Sponsored by the BRASS Education Committee.

Question 1

I am a beginning investor and I need to find some places where I can get some really practical advice about getting started. Can you recommend some resources where I can get hands on tips about some of the opportunities and pitfalls of investing on my own?

The Internet is a great resource for people to gather information about investing. Advice and tips for beginning investors can be found all across the Internet. A few of the better ones include:

Question 3

Where can I get more detailed information about a company's stock and the industry it belongs to?

A number of good sources are available that will profile individual stocks, dividend potential, and provide industry analysis. Some of these sources would include:

  • Mergent Dividend Record (New York: Mergent FIS).
    Formerly Moody's this source is one of the best dividend sources available. It provides information on dividends, splits, mergers, and other earnings information for nearly 30,000 North American securities.
  • Mergent Handbook of Common Stocks (New York: Mergent FIS).
    Another former Moody's product that profiles stock performance, trends, prices, and prospects for about 1,000 companies that trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys (New York: McGraw Hill).
    This source is available in a number of different formats (e.g. S&P NetAdvantage) and provides an excellent synopsis and analysis of a number of key industries. Important figures, past performance, trends, issues, and future prospects are profiled in considerable detail. S & P has long been a respected source for one stop industry information.
  • Standard & Poor’s Stock Reports (New York: McGraw Hill).
    This source is also available in a number of different formats and profiles more than 10,000 publicly traded stocks.
  • Value Line (New York: Value Line Publishing).
    Value Line is available in a number of different formats, and contains overviews of different industries.

Question 5

Where can I get information on bonds?

A number of good sources are available for researching bonds, and some of them would include:

Question 7

Where could I go to find magazine and newspaper articles about possible investment opportunities?

A number of places will allow you to search for articles that would talk about investment related issues. A few would include:

  • ABI/Inform (UMI: Proquest).
    Perhaps the best and most complete index to the business literature. ABI covers about 1000 periodicals many of which are covered full-text. Both research orientated and popular business publications are included in the coverage. Finance and investment industry journals are extensively covered in this index.
  • Factiva (Dow Jones).
    One of the best sources for investment trade news and information. Users have full-text access to numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers as well as journals and newswires. Company and market information, including analyst reports, are part of the content as are charting tools and screening functions.
  • Nexis Uni (Reed Elsevier Inc.)
    LexisNexis is an excellent source for business trade literature as well as local and national newspaper coverage, including full-text access to the New York Times. The Industry and Trade news section covers the finance/investment industry very well.

Question 9

Is there something that lists a variety of sources that can be used to research the finance/investment sector?

Bibliographies and literature guides are excellent places to begin or expand a research project. They can provide a framework on which to build a body of research. A few bibliographies that may be of help:

  • The Basic Business Library: Core Resources and Services, 5th Edition (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012)
    Provides a core list of current business resources, both print and online.
  • Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research, triennial).
    A common title for most library business collections. This source talks about available sources in the finance/investment area by type of resource such as directories, dictionaries, and handbooks.
  • Strauss's Handbook of Business Information: A Guide for Librarians, Students, and Researchers, 3rd Edition (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012).
    Provides strategies and sources for business reference including research basic areas such as company information and for specific fields of business.
  • Making Sense of Business Reference: A Guide for Librarians and Research Professionals (Chicago, IL : American Library Association 2013).
    Covers business reference strategies and sources for topics ranging from marketing, to industry information, to investment research.

Question 2

Where can I go to get a quick quote and current analysis of a particular stock?

The places where one can go to get current stock information is almost limitless. A few of the possible places include:

Question 4

How can I get information on publicly traded companies?

A vast amount of information about public companies is available to potential investors. A few places to look might include:

Question 6

I am thinking of investing in mutual funds, where can I go to get information about it?

Mutual funds are a popular investment and savings device and a number of tools can provide information and analysis of different available funds.

Question 8

What are some of the principle magazine, journal, and newspaper titles that would deal with finance/investment?

The number of available publications is almost limitless. Some of the more commonly available titles include:

Question 10

The world of finance/investment has all sorts of strange terms. Are there good dictionaries and handbooks that define the lingo that is used in this area of business?

The terminology of this field can be daunting. A number of sources are available that might be of help a few recent examples would include:

  • Barron's Finance & Investment Handbook (Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron's Educational Series, 2014).
    A comprehensive guide that includes a large glossary, directory, research bibliography, and guide to personal investment.
  • A Dictionary of Finance and Banking, 6th Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).
    A good basic dictionary for finance and the related field of banking.
  • Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms (Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, 2014).
    More than 5,000 terms related to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, banking, tax laws, and transactions in the various financial markets are presented alphabetically with descriptions.
  • Wall Street Lingo: Thousands of Investment Terms Explained Simply (Ocala, FL: Atlantic Publishing Group, 2007).
    A dictionary of terms organized by subject for those interested in words that are commonly used at the stock exchange.

Question 11

How do I reach people and professionals within this industry?

The finance/investment field has a large number of associations and organizations that represent investors and professionals and all levels. A few examples include:

  • Encyclopedia of Associations (Detroit: Gale Research).
    This standard directory has a large list of associations that pertain to the finance/investment area.
  • The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), 1735 K St., NW, Washington DC, 20006, (301) 590-6500, http://www.finra.org/index.htm FINRA oversees over 5,000 brokerage firms, about 172,000 branch offices and more than 676,000 registered securities representatives.
  • Investment Company Institute, 1401 H St. NW, 12th Fl., Washington, DC 2005-2148, (202) 326-5800, http://www.ici.org
    An association of investment companies that serve as a clearinghouse for information about mutual funds.
  • New York Society of Security Analysts, 1540 Broadway, Suite 1010, (entrance on 45th Street), New York, NY 10036, (212) 541-4530, http://www.nyssa.org
    An association of stock brokers and investment professionals that work in New York based trading houses.
  • Security Traders Association, 1115 Broadway, New York, NY 10010, (646) 699-5996, http://www.securitytraders.org
    The professional and trade association for licensed stock and security traders.

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