7 months: $99.00
1 year: $179.00
Barron's is a weekly newspaper publication with two sections. The first section a lot of useful content like news, stories, interviews, and analysis. It has articles from a very diverse group of subjects, including: stocks, bonds, the economy, international markets, commodities, and options. The most useful content are the articles about stocks. That would be the interviews with fund managers and analytical articles on specific companies or industries.
The second section, which is inserted into the middle of the paper, has some useful content in the beginning of the section. This is comprised of their standard columns addressing specific niche areas. Some of these niches - like commodities and stock options - are not covered enough for someone concentrating in these areas. After these columns comes the stock tables and other market statistics. Stock tables are pretty useless these days and I would prefer they not even be published. The only thing of value the stock tables might have is the wide array of the less-popular economic indicators and stock indexes if you need those.
Because Barron's is so popular, many times you'll see some of the stocks featured in Barron's move a lot when the market opens on Monday.
Benefits of Barrons
Many people love to talk trash about Barrons and how the stocks mentioned every week probably don't beat the market. The following is a comment on a random investing blog and is a great example of this:
"Do not read Barrons, the weekly newspaper put out by the WSJ on Saturday. I've lost more money following those guys. Now I will not even look at it on the news stand."
Does this sound like an intelligent investor to you? Someone who buys a stock because someone in a newspaper mentioned it? Then loses money and complains even though they were the one who made the decision to buy?
These people miss the whole point of publications like Barron's. Like all investment publications, you shouldn't run out and buy a stock just because someone in Barrons recommends it. The role Barrons should play in your stock research is to educate you on issues related to different companies and industries. Barrons does an incredible job of analyzing various stocks. Their articles about specific companies are as valuable as any information that you'll get anywhere in print. It is your job as an investor to take the Barron's analysis and synthesize it with all the other information that you collect in order to make better decisions.
Some pople might point out that most of Barron's articles are short (many are only 1 page) and that magazines like The Economist or Forbes offer a more extensive analysis. But one of the biggest problems traders must face is to manage their time so they get as much research done as possible without wasting time by getting caught up in minutua. Sometimes the 5-6 page articles in BusinessWeek or Forbes delve a little too deeply into their subjects. If I am reading an article about Coke, I don't want to read a whole page about how they're having union problems at a bottling plant in Venezuela. A typical Barron's article, as well as Barron's as a whole, is basically an "executive summary" about a particular issue which offers a concise and easily digestable analysis.
The best thing about the Barron's articles is that they are not just recycled stories pulled off the newswire like you'll see in the WSJ. They offer analytical insight into a number of issues affecting a company as well as the markets view and expectations on things. After reading each issue of Barron's you will walk away with new knowledge about maybe 10 different companies. Even though you probably on't be interested in buying any of those stocks at the time, this amounts to 500 companies a year you will learn something about. And when the stocks of those companies do enter your buy zone (whatever that may be) at a later time, you will be more likely to notice them as well as have more confidence in your trades.
How to use Barrons
- Rip out the stock tables if you want.
- If you are a full-time trader then skip the first few pages of little news snippets and weekly wrap ups. If you are a part-time trader then you may want to skim these.
- Read all the articles related to the stock market. Skip any niches that don't relate to you like muni-bonds, options, or commodities. Although you may want to read stuff related to interest rates because interest rates affect the stock market.
- Skip the editorial pages at the end.
I definitely recommend reading Barron's every week if you are going to be a full-time trader. Although Barron's is a little bit on the expensive side it is sometimes frequently through the "Magazines For Miles" program by Delta Skymiles. I once bought a flight for $225 which gave me enough points for about $220 worth of Barron's.