NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Investment Group Minutes
Dale Oliver, June 98
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We had about a dozen attendees at May's not-so-round table investment forum, which gets together right after the regular NWA-PCUG meeting. Although we kept the agenda quite informal, an impressive amount of helpful information was shared. Ideas likely to be of interest to others are recapped in this article.

Jim and Pat Kennedy mentioned that they like to use the free Internet-based stock alert service from Lycos. It has a number of parameters that you can set to receive on-screen alerts regarding fluctuation in share prices, etc. Check it out at www.stockfind.newsalert.com. Another product they mentioned using was StockVue, which is free software available from Alpha Microsystems at www.stockvue.com. StockVue received ZD Net's Editor's Pick award. Also check out myTrack at www.mytrack.com, which allows you to choose between 15 minute delayed or real time quotes. Jim and Pat have just begun using the award winning TC 2000 stock tracking system which features daily updates, and plan to keep us informed of their experience as they become more familiar with it. The PointCast desktop newscast software now has a new version available for free download at www.pointcast.com. It is version 2.5 and is worth downloading.

Al Crispin likes to use the R.J. Forbes Group for stock trades. Their pricing is $13.95 for phone orders and $9.99 for Internet orders. You can read more about them at www.forbesnet.com. Al also uses the Investor's Fast Track mutual fund tracking software and has been very pleased with the products and service he's received. Although this is not a free service, Al says that he has gotten at least fifty times his money back from using the system. Fast Track is located in Baton Rouge and can be found at: www.moneymentor.com/z_invfst.html. Also, the excellent Morningstar mutual fund tracking service is now available on computer (in addition to the familiar large binder format) at the Springdale Public Library. Ask for Brian Davidson when you go there, since he's the most knowledgeable about the system.

Bob and Sharon Frye have found that they can bypass their institutional brokerage companies and call B.H.C. Securities directly. They have found a telephone number which allows them to deal with someone right off the trading floor who executes very timely trades, and they don't have an excessive bid/ask price spread. They prefer telephone trades for heavy trading days, limit orders and stocks with rapidly moving prices. Bob also suggests looking at the different formats of year-end reports, 1099s, trade slips, etc. from a variety of brokerage companies. He prefers dealing with brokers whose documentation is well formatted and easy to understand, pointing out that there is a sizable disparity between the quality of documentation between companies.

Betty Davis mentioned that Gomez Advisors has an excellent Internet broker scorecard that rates about 70 different on-line brokers on a number of different criteria. This is a nicely designed and informative site which can be found at www.gomezadvisors.com. Betty mentioned that this is where she learned about DLJdirect, which she has been using to do trades for several months now and has been quite pleased. DLJdirect can be found at: www.dljdirect.com.

If you are interested in further information regarding online brokerage ratings, another site worth checking out is SmartMoney Interactive's "Best and Worst Online Brokers" article. Read more about it at: http://www.smartmoney.com/si/brokers/online/index.cfm?story=stack.

Be sure to attend next month's investor roundtable. Charles Blanchard will lead the discussion on stock charting. Several May attendees mentioned that they hope to pick Charles' brain about the MetaStock technical analysis and charting system he uses. In the meantime, you may want to check them out at www.metastock.com.

Happy investing!

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