By BRIT HUME and T.R. REID
The Internet, as was noted in this column recently, is a happy hunting ground for ordinary citizens who aspire to beat the market pros by doing their own investing and trading online, taking advantage of the wealth of information available information, it is said, that only professionals used to have in the days before the digital revolution.
Certainly the Web affords many ways to keep track of your investment portfolio, and with an online account at a discount broker you can do your own trading from the convenience of your computer keyboard. Stock quotes, usually just 20 minutes behind the market, are available through nearly every Internet portal and investment site.
If you want to follow the advice of some of the Internet's numerous investment wise men, you can even get some of the work done for you. For example, if you like the various Dow Jones stock investment strategies outlined by David and Tom Gardner in their highly popular "Motley Fool" books and Web site (www.fool.com), they do much of the work for you.
Take their so-called Dow 10 strategy. This involves figuring out which of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones daily average is paying the highest dividend in relation to its stock price, a statistic known as the "dividend yield." The Dow 10 strategy involves buying equal shares of each of those 10 stocks and holding them. Each year, the investor checks to see if the same 10 still have the highest divided yield. The stocks that have dropped out of the 10 are sold, and replaced with the new members of the group.
You don't need to do the math to keep track because the Motley Fools do it for you. That makes it very simple. But what if you're trying, as the "Fools" continually urge you, to bypass such strategies and become a stock picker on your own, looking for companies with a combination of a bargain price, a good business and strong future prospects? The Motley Fools say the Internet gives you all the information you need.
So we gave it a try, looking for a promising stock that we knew something about that appeared to be beaten down and ready for a comeback. The May 15 stock of the month at financial publisher www.ValueLine.com, where you can register for free and gain access to some information, was Symantec, a major PC software company whose products include the Norton family of utility programs, pcAnywhere a program to access your home or office PC from remote locations via another computer and WinFax, a leading PC fax program. Unlike many PC software houses, Symantec has good relations with Microsoft, which has made a deal to bundle WinFax in its Outlook software.
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