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|1||Why Invest Online?||11|
|2||Assemble the Tools||17|
|4||Educate Yourself About Investing||39|
|5||Develop a Portfolio Strategy||57|
|6||Consider Investment Vehicles||77|
|7||Use Expert Research Resources||95|
|8||Investigate the Markets||109|
|9||Talk to Smart Investors||123|
|10||Use the Rest of the Internet as a Research Tool||133|
|11||Search the Internet||145|
|12||Prepare to Invest Online||163|
|13||Make an Online Trade||171|
|14||Advanced Trading Techniques||183|
|15||Locate Other Internet Investment Tools||195|
|16||Track Your Portfolio||207|
|17||Learn Analysis Techniques||215|
|18||Pick Your Analysis Tools||223|
|19||The Final Analysis||233|
|A||Using the Investor's Toolkit CD-ROM||243|
[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]
Getting online can be tremendously simple. It boils down to this: Get an Internet
account, fire up the browser, and go.
If you've yet to do any one of those things, read on.
To get to the Internet and World Wide Web sites, you need an account through a
commercial online service, such as America Online or CompuServe, or through a dial-up
Internet service provider, called an ISP.
The major commercial services provide excellent Internet access and have adjusted
their prices to be competitive with the ISPs. In addition, the commercial services
offer something that the ISPs do not--content. Each service provides discussion forums,
databases, and other features that are available only to its members.
Even if you already have an ISP, a commercial online service may be a worthwhile
investment. Besides the additional content, commercial online services organize and
categorize the most useful functions of the Internet into easily navigated menus
and icons. The amount of time you save searching for data may be enough to offset
the extra cost. In addition, commercial services are portable--you can access them
toll-free from most large towns and cities around the world.
Connection software is provided by the commercial services free of charge. Get
your software by calling the toll-free number listed in the following sections, or
from the disks that fall out of any number of computer magazines and junk mailings.
In addition, most personal computers sold today include the connection software for
at least one of the commercial online services.
America Online and CompuServe are the two most popular services available today.
Together they boast a user base of more than 10 million subscribers. (The World Wide
Web addresses, called URLs [Uniform Resource Locators], are explained later in this
FIG. 3.1 CompuServe offers a full range of investor services and forums.
America Online (see Figure 3.1) features an easy-to-use graphically oriented interface.
Its reputation as a fun, family-oriented service shouldn't detract from its substantial
offerings in the financial arena. Some of the services include the Dow Jones Business
Center, Stock Quotes, a Banking Center, a Brokerage Center, and a Mutual Fund Center.
A company research center will allow you to download information on user-selected
company stock reports, financial statements, earnings and estimates, and EDGAR filings
from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Contact AOL at (800) 827-6364, http://www.aol.com.
CompuServe was a pioneer in providing online services and is equal to the task
when it comes to offering financial resources. CompuServe still maintains a more
professional, business-oriented image than AOL. Its thousand-plus, business-oriented
resources help to maintain that image. On the downside, CompuServe's charging policies
tend to be on the pricey side. Contact CompuServe at (800) 848-8199, http://www.compuserve.com.
The definition of what a commercial service is and how it is accessed is constantly
changing. Competition has caused some services to readjust their focus. The following
services exist in a new, not-yet-fully-explored area between a simple ISP and a full-service
commercial online service:
Cheaper (usually), more flexible (sometimes), faster (at least, potentially),
and more accessible (unless you travel), Internet service providers are gradually
putting the commercial services out of business. ISPs differ from commercial online
services in lots of little ways. They tend to be local--except when, like AT&T
WorldNet, they're huge. ISPs tend to be less expensive because they do not provide
the additional information resources found on commercial online services.
What an ISP does give you is a direct gateway to the Internet.
At a minimum, your ISP should furnish:
To find a provider, check the local yellow pages under Internet Services or Computers--Internet.
Read a few local newspapers, watch a few TV ads, make a few phone calls. Every ISP
charges about twenty dollars a month for access, and the smaller providers may be
willing to negotiate.
The CD-ROM included with this book contains the tools to connect to one ISP: EarthLink
Network. See the appendix at the end of this book for instructions on using the Investor's
Toolkit CD-ROM to get online.
The major Internet service providers include:
Having trouble getting started with your new software? Harass your new ISP morning,
noon, and night until you're online, trouble-free. Make him earn his twenty-dollar
Among the pieces of software included with your start-up software will be a thing
called a Web browser. It's very likely that your Web browser will be called either
Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Your first act as an online investor will be to browse (you've heard it called
surf) investment sites. Install the browser as your provider directs, open it, and
in the Address or Location box--the only space on the page where you're allowed to
type something--type this: http://www.etrade.com Press the Enter key, and you'll
be transported to the home page for E*TRADE Securities (see Figure 3.2).
You'll notice that a home page, also called a Web site or simply a page, looks
something like a magazine cover. The line you typed is called an address or an URL--pronounced
Earl and short for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs are keys to finding every page
on the World Wide Web.
FIG. 3.2 The E*TRADE home page.
Entering URLs looks a little tricky, but it's actually quite simple. Ninety-five
percent of the Internet addresses you run across in your life will begin with the
designation http://. Another 4.5 percent will begin with ftp://. If you run across
the other half percent, you'll probably be looking at things so obscure they don't
really bear a closer look.
DUKE OF URL
Throughout this text, we designate URLs in this manner:
Page Name http://address.domain/filename
You can manually copy the names from the text to your Web browser, or you can go
directly to the pages from hyperlinks on the CD-ROM that came with this book. A hyperlink
is an underlined, highlighted term on a Web page. The appendix at the back of this
book explains how to use your CD-ROM.
As a rule of thumb, the HTTP designations in- dicate an address for a graphically
enhanced, magazine-cover-like World Wide Web page. The FTP designations, on the other
hand, indicate ugly, nongraphical, nonviewable files that you nearly always download
to your own computer--at which point they might get installed and become quite pretty
after all. FTP is the method by which you will do virtually all of your Net file
transfers. When you need a file or a piece of software, chances are good that you
will use FTP to get it.
Don't know the complete address for a home page? Most corporate Web page addresses
in the United States take this form:
If you type in Web addresses without the trailing file names, your browser will attempt
to open the default home page for that site, if it can. This trick frequently lets
you find Web sites without doing a tedious search. As long as you know--or can guess--the
key word of the address, you're in.
As you slide your mouse pointer around the E*TRADE home page, you'll notice that
it sometimes changes shape. When it points at certain elements on the page, called
hyperlinks, it turns into a pointing finger (see Figure 3.3).
FIG. 3.3 Your browser software gives you the power tosurf the Web.
A hyperlink is a quicker way to get to another page. Click a hyperlink, and it
will automatically enter the URL for you, saving you the trouble of typing. Most
hyperlinks appear as underlined text, but as you'll see on the E*TRADE page, they
can also take the form of pictures, clickable buttons, logos, and menu bars.
To see a menu of other things you can do with a hyperlink, position your mouse
cursor over the hyperlink and click the right mouse button.
To navigate your Web pages, you have three tools:
FIG. 3.4 The toolbar buttons help you move through Web documents, go to your
home page, search the Web, and more.
Once you're comfortable with the whole Internet thing--or at least the World Wide
Web portion of it--you're ready to graduate to something more complicated.
The most basic of services provided by ISPs and commercial online services is
e-mail. E-mail is simply electronic mail sent and received over the Internet. Until
recently, e-mail was strictly text based. Now it's possible to format e-mail and
attach audio, graphics, and additional files. The final section of Chapter 2, "Assemble
the Tools," explains where to find a good e-mail reader.
These are discussions and information exchanges conducted via e-mail. Discussions
are limited to a particular subject, carried on among a group of subscribers. Subscribers
e-mail their responses to the mailing list, and the list is then automatically mailed
to all subscribers. Some mailing lists are read-only, meaning that the discussion
is more of a lecture. Chapter 10, "Use the Rest of the Internet as a Research
Tool," describes investment-oriented lists, and explains how to subscribe.
UseNet newsgroups are open forums for public discussion. Newsgroups can be an
effective way to engage a wide variety of people in on-going correspondence concerning
virtually any subject. The last section of Chapter 2 describes the software you need,
and Chapter 10 explains how to locate and participate in investment-oriented newsgroups.
Files--data, graphics, audio and software--can be transmitted over the Internet.
The method used to upload, or send, and download, or receive, files is called FTP,
short for File Transfer Protocol. When we direct you to an FTP site, you'll be downloading
a file. Files are stored on a remote site. When you want the file, you enter the
URL, which begins with the designation ftp://, in the Address or Location box of
your browser. Your browser will automatically download the file to your computer.
FIG. 3.5 Drop the pull down menu to access alternate menu options.
FIG. 3.6 Scroll bars offer a quick method for moving through Web pages.