Wall Street Journal review
The Wall Street Journal
1 year: $99.00
6 months: $59.00
is a daily newspaper published by Dow Jones and is the most famous financial publication on the market. It has 3 sections:
Section A has the business news. This section will usually have 1 or 2 articles worth reading. The rest of the articles will be company news items that you won't care about. You will also get a decent amount of completely irrelevant political articles.
Section B is a lifestyle-type section which has articles on consumer products, technology, careers, and other stuff. This section's articles have no relation to investing. The articles are interesting though, so if you read them you should consider them as personal reading. The only value I could think of relating to investing would be to keep current on new products for consumer tech companies like Apple or a new menu item at McDonald's, but that's a stretch.
Section C is the investment section. One would expect this section to have a lot of useful content but it manages to disappoint. The front of the section has only about two to three pages of articles and there are usually zero to two articles worth reading within the section. After that you get to the stock tables and daily market summaries which is completely stale information to serious investors.
The Wall Street Journal is very overrated when it comes to improving your investing results. The only reason it so popular is because it has such a long history and strong brand. Not only does the WSJ have the highest ratio of irrelevant content but the content that actually is relevant is completely generic. Most of the relevant content is comprised of recycled news releases and earning releases which are a day old, which makes reading the Wall Street Journal a lot like eating Thanksgiving leftovers every day.
The WSJ has so little value-added content that I consider it to be basically nothing more than "ignorance insurance" - something people read so they won't be completely clueless to what's going on in the business world. In that sense the WSJ is no better than the business section of the New York Times, which is why I've never thought of Wall Street Journal subscribers as real investors. Whenever I worked in an office, I would see the guys in suits walking in and out of the office with the Journal tucked under their arm. You could just tell they were the kind of guys that made decent money at their jobs but dumped it all into mutual funds and did very little intelligent investing. In early 2007, the WSJ did its first major redesign in 77 years and the guy who created the design, Mario Garcia, referred to how the Journal's readers think of the Journal as "their dear, beloved, comfy, cozy Wall Street Journal that they've seen forever." It seems to me that the people who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal do it because they think they should - because it is something they see other people doing.
How to use
- Scan through Section A for any good articles to read. There will usually be a couple of articles and these will mainly be about the market, individual companies, or even articles in related areas like taxation.
- Throw away Section B or consider it personal reading.
- Scan the first few pages of Section C for relevant articles to read. Stop when you get to the market statistics and stock tables.
If you are like most successful full-time traders and have limited free research time then the WSJ can be a time waster if you let it be. If you are in a position where you can regularly scan the headlines on all the sections and read the 4 or 5 good articles the paper has without buying it then I would do that. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to subscribe simply because 4 decent articles each day still means there are 1,000 articles a year worth reading. But since 98% of it is not worth reading then make sure you just scan it quickly and don't spend more than 10 minutes reading it.