Please note that tax, investment, pension and ISA rules can change and the information and any views contained in this article may now be inaccurate.
Great places to find investment ideas and do research
One of the first questions asked by beginner investors is where to
find investment ideas. The choice is vast with more than 2,000 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and hundreds
Run an internet search for ‘investment ideas’ and you’ll be deluged with options. ‘Expert investment tips from £50 to £50,000’ and ‘Investment ideas for 2020’ are just a couple of the top entries we found when running the search for this article. There are many others. That can make it confusing trying to work out where to begin.
Most of the national newspapers write about investments and you can also find ideas in specialist investment websites and magazines. They are either presenting their own ideas or ones suggested by expert investors such as fund managers.
Since you are reading this, you have already discovered some
of the vast universe of help Shares provides to investors, from beginners right through to semi-professionals.
Without wanting to blow our own trumpet too much, Shares has been providing investors of all stripes with investment intelligence, data and education for more than 20 years. We’ve seen the best of financial markets, and the worst, and continue to act as a trusted source of investment help for thousands of people thinking about their finances and futures.
It is very important to understand that any investment idea you read online or in print, or find via a video, should be treated as a starting point for your own research. You should never buy something simply because someone else says to do so. Many investment ideas won’t be suitable for everyone and some will be suitable for no-one.
Investment ideas can come from anywhere, and the explosion of social media over the past decade has massively increased the amount of content you can access. Twitter can be particularly useful for finding out what’s going out with certain companies and help with investment strategy, education, and which parts of the market are looking interesting.
Many contributors are seasoned investors willing to share their experience. For example, @rhomboid1MF and @wheeliedealer are among the people worth following on Twitter, part of a community of investors offering great insight into the markets.
Sadly, there are also plenty of charlatans on social media networks and internet bulletin boards, often promising that you can make many times your investment back in months. We encourage you to switch on your own ‘quality control’ filter. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These are usually ways to get you to sign up to paid-for ‘tips’ services that fail to deliver nine times
out of 10.
HELP FROM YOUR ISA AND SIPP PROVIDER
Any decent DIY investment platform will provide you with investment food for thought, such as list of preferred funds and investment trusts. There will also likely be market commentary, thematic features and educational content. This should help to improve your knowledge and your investment research capabilities.
There are lots of online services designed for a range of different users and should appeal to everyone from occasional investors to the more active. Things like key company data, news, alerts, stock watch lists and portfolio tools are typically available for free from your ISA or SIPP provider or financial data providers such as Morningstar.
PAYING FOR INVESTMENT TOOLS
You may not be ready just yet, but in time you’ll need more analytical data, like screening tools and stock reports. For this extra analysis you’ll likely need to sign up to one or more of the online subscription services available, such as SharePad or Stockopedia for example, although there are others.
SharePad is an online service that works best on tablets, PC or laptop, although you can also access it on your smartphone. The software provides access to in-depth results and financial ratios for stocks listed on the UK and US markets.
Stockopedia is also an online service with a wealth of fundamental data on UK, US and European stocks. There are detailed reports on each of the companies and users can quickly screen specific parts of the market for shares that meet their required criteria.
Both offer a basic monthly or annual subscription, typically starting at around the £25 to £30 a month mark, with extra tools available if you spend more.
A LITTLE BIT OF RESEARCH GOES A LONG WAY
Starting to invest can seem daunting for beginners. It can seem as if there are a million things to learn, and the risk of losing money.
All investors lose out from time to time; it is a normal part of investing regardless of how clever or knowledgeable you may be, even the professionals.
But investing successfully is possible for everyone. You just need to invest some time as well as money in weighing up opportunities.
USEFUL PLACES TO FIND INFORMATION ON INVESTMENTS
• Company earnings forecasts: reuters.com – FREE
• Company announcements and news alerts: sharesmagazine.co.uk – FREE
• Company research: edisoninvestmentresearch.com, hardmanandco.com, progressive-research.com – FREE
• Charting tools: sharesmagazine.co.uk – FREE
• Investment commentary, newspaper columns – telegraph.co.uk (Questor), thetimes.co.uk (Tempus), thisismoney.co.uk (Mail on Sunday, Midas) – PAID
• Investment commentary, specialist magazines/websites – sharesmagazine.co.uk, investorschronicle.co.uk, stockopedia.com (Small Cap Value Report) – FREE/PAID
• Historical share price performance data: sharescope.co.uk (SharePad) – PAID
• Valuation ratios:
sharescope.co.uk (SharePad), stockopedia.com – PAID
• Stock screeners and ratings – stockopedia.com – PAID
• Fund, investment trust and
ETF data: morningstar.co.uk, trustnet.com – FREE
• Investment trust research: Quoteddata.com, trustintelligence.co.uk – FREE
(FREE – free to access (may require registration to use) / PAID – subscription required)