BusinessWeek Magazine Review
BusinessWeek is a general business magazine published weekly by McGraw-Hill that was first published in 1929. Their focus areas are listed below (the share of their content in each area is in parenthesis):
- Business (70%)
These are profiles of various businesses, business people, or the economy.
- Investing (10%)
These are articles that recommend analyze specific stocks, industries, or the markets in general.
- Personal Finance (5%)
Articles about topics like renting vs. owning a home.
- Non-business (15%)
These are articles mainly about social issues (e.g. the work place, the environment), politics, and technology.
BusinessWeek is a much lighter read than Forbes and Fortune because it targets the mass-market, rather than the business professional. As a result, many people dismiss BusinessWeek as not being a useful resource because they cater to people looking for the latest hot news. For example, whenever the Olympics role around, you can bet there will be a few articles about it. While their approach has it's downside, sometimes the popular stories are where the opportunities are. Forbes and Fortune, in their quest to differentiate themselves, sometimes seem to take pride in profiling overly-obscure business people.
Many professional investors have recommended that BusinessWeek should be used as a contrarian indicator. This is definitely true in some regards. If you look at the troubled companies they have profiled on their past covers, you will see many of their stocks were bottoming out ("Can Anyone Save HP?" on February 21, 2005, "Coca Cola: The Real Problem" on December 20, 2004). Beginning investors, many of whom rely too much on old news, would benefit from realizing this. And, to be fair, BusinessWeek does have their share of forward-looking articles that accurately predicted upcoming trends ("Coming Soon! The Consumer Crunch" on 11/26/07, "Hey Buddy, You Wanna Buy a Bridge?" on 05/07/07 about the coming privitization of public roads and bridges.)
Like other general business magazines, BusinessWeek tends to profile large companies, so the magazine is most useful to people investing in blue chips. And I think they tend to give more weight to consumer-oriented companies and industries ("The Poverty Business" on 05/21/07, "The Pet Economy" on 08/06/07, "The Organic Myth" on 10/16/06).
Like the other general business magazines (Forbes and Fortune), BusinessWeek gives you insight into a couple of different companies every week. I also like the Inside Wall Street column which features 3 stocks picks every week. Like any stock picks, you shouldn't take them at face value, but they are 156 concise and conveniently-presented ideas per year.