Use the Free Investment Resources in Your Community
Many investment clubs and individual investors have come to depend on Value Line stock research analyst reports as a way to do fundamental stock research. How can you obtain this valuable investment analysis at the lowest cost possible, or even find it free, and what types of information can you expect to find in Value Line stock research reports?
How to Get Value Line Stock Research Reports
Value Line is a subscription service. However, they also provide some free research reports. If you go to ValueLine.com, you will see a list of Quick Links on the home page. At the bottom of the Quick Links is a link to their Free Value Line Reports for The Dow 30. If you go to that page on the site, you will find a list of 30 major companies listed on the Dow; from there, you can view free copies of their research reports for the listed companies. Among the names on the list are 3M Company, Alcoa, American Express, Caterpillar, Disney, Home Depot, Kraft Foods, IBM, Verizon, Wal-Mart and twenty others. For the beginning investor who wants to buy stock in large, well-established corporations, this list may contain the names of all the companies that initially interest you.
There is a wealth of information available in this stock research. If you want to make sure you are getting the most out of it, you may also want to purchase a book that explains what everything means. Several are available from Amazon:
Eventually, you will probably decide that you will want information on a larger number of stocks than are available on their free list. In this case, you could consider subscribing to the Value Line 600. Each month you will receive updated stock research reports on about 200 well-known, established companies that have historically been considered stable investments for individuals looking for safe growth stocks. Some investment clubs subscribe to this shorter version of their research.
If you want to see the full, multi-volume set of research reports on all the companies that are analyzed by Value Line, you may want to do some of your research at the library. Many libraries subscribe to the full size set, which covers thousands of stocks. Value Line also provides reports on mutual funds and other investment products. Although your library will not allow you to check out these valuable research tools, you can go to the library and use them there. You may want to call your local library ahead of time. Only about half the libraries in the county where I live subscribe to Value Line. It is also possible for a private individual to subscribe to the full set of Value Line research reports, but it is expensive, and may not be worthwhile for the average individual investor.
What Information is in these Research Reports?
Value Line stock research reports have a chart at the top of the page, usually going back 10 years or more. This gives you the opportunity to see how the stock has done during the previous decade. Across the top of the chart, you will see the name of the company, the exchange where it is traded, and the stock symbol. You'll also see the price at the time the report was published, the P/E ratio, and the dividend yield. Going down the left side of the chart, you will see how the stock is ranked by Value Line for Timeliness and Safety. A score of "1" in these areas is the top score. A "5" is the worst. Three means the stock is average. Below the chart you will see the financial numbers for the past 15 years, including the earnings per share, dividend per share, book value, sales and much more. There is also a box showing you the amount of debt the company is carrying.
Below the statistical information, you will find a box that describes the corporation's business. For example, 3M Company has six business segments that are: Industrial & Transportation (31%), Display and Graphics (14%), Health Care (19%), Consumer and Office (15%), Electro and Communications (9%); Safety, Security & Protection (12%). Often the information in this box will surprise you. The company you are researching may be more diversified that you realized.
Under this box you will find a two-column analyst's summary about the company. It will tell you what has been happening with the company in the recent past, and what is projected for the future. They always end their stock research report with two or three sentences stating whether or not they would recommend the stock, and for whom. For example, is this a stock well-suited for conservative buyers or a better choice for investors who have a higher tolerance for risk?
For investors who are interested in reading lots of statistical information about a company before purchasing the stock, they will find that Value Line's stock research reports are an invaluable source of recent and past information on a company.
When you combine their reports with the current, daily information that you can obtain from online stock research websites such as Yahoo Finance, you will have most of the necessary information you will need in order to make informed investment decisions.
Getting Value Line Online
If you do subscribe to The Value Line 600, or one of their other publications, you can also see their stock research reports online, often before you receive them in the mail. This is very convenient if you belong to an investment club. Everyone in the club can quickly and easily look up the research reports for the companies that each member is following, without having to wait to pass around the printed copy of the Value Line research reports.
Combining Value Line with Other Stock Research Tools
Value Line stock research reports are updated and printed every three months. As we all know, a lot can happen in the stock market in a three month period. Although these reports are an excellent way to get a general overview of the company, including their history as well as recent developments, it is always a good idea to supplement your Value Line research with stock research websites that can provide you with current information on a stock.
It is also interesting to compare Value Line's predictions to actual events. For example, if a Value Line report from two months ago predicts a stock should be increasing in value, you can look online to see if that has happened. For help in finding websites with current information, you may also want to read, "How to Find Free Stock Research Websites."
Choosing Your Investments
Once you have used the information provided by Value Line to get an overview of a company, and compared that information to the research available online, you should have a pretty good idea if this is a stock that interests you. If you do purchase the stock, continue using Value Line and the websites to follow the stock so you can decide if it is performing the way you hoped. If you work with a brokerage firm, always ask for their opinions and research as well, if it is available. Remember, there is some risk with even the most stable investments, and money invested in the stock market is not insured. Diversification, or holding a variety of different stocks, is one way to protect your assets. However, never invest money in the stock market if you cannot afford to take a risk.
If you are interested in investing, belonging to an investment club, or getting information on personal finances, you may also wish to read some of these articles:
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