Mallika is back in action.....

Happy New Shiny 2016.

And I’m back…. After being distracted, waylaid, blown off course for a few months I am sending you my first note on investing since June 2015…...

Thanks for NOT deleting this email or laughing at me!

First -- I put up simple web page if you want to go have a look I made it all by myself so please be gentle with the design criticims.

Second -- I’m going to email you a note on investing every week in 2016 as an experiment in writing. Please hold me to it.

To re-start my efforts this week I’m going to list my 3 favourite free investing tools:

1. Whale Wisdom

In the US funds with over $100 million in assets are supposed to file what stocks they hold with the financial regulator (the SEC) every quarter. This site takes this publically available stock picks on the “whales”, the really large powerful investors, and gives their stock picks to you in quite a user friendly fashion. 

There is a paid membership but the free option allows you to look at what the major hedge funds have been investing in for the past year and has a “Heat Map” for stocks that multiple investors are investing in. 

Obviously these filings are only worth looking at for funds that tend to buy and hold their investments for many months if not years. So if you have some favourite fund managers you follow such as Warren Buffett, Seth Klarman or Carl Icahn, enter the name of the company or fund name they trade under and take a look at their latest investments.

2. Google Finance 

If you don’t need really up to the minute information on the markets -- I certainly can’t process it all quickly enough, Google Finance is the best free tool to check all kinds of data on investments. The graphs especially are very useable.

If you want to experiment without using any real money the “Portfolio” tool allows you to pretend to buy stocks which you can then track over time to see your virtual performance. 

There are other interesting features such as a screener where you can enter the criteria of the type of stocks you want and google will find them for you. Also they show you the results of google search trends for certain industries. For example if you’re looking at investing in furniture companies, this tool gives you a furniture index based on search terms "furniture, lighting, clock, chair, carpet, ikea" and more… 

3. Seeking Alpha

I’ll let you into a little secret. I am a supposed to be an investor but I never consistently read the Wall Street Journal. the New York Times business section or the grand lady of them all the Financial Times. “News” to me is secondary. What I really care about it what other investors are thinking. My FIRST port of investing call for the day is always Seeking Alpha’s morning “Wall Street Breakfast” email which summarizes the major market stories for the day… usually that’s all I need to know to sound vaguely credible at my meetings.

So seeking “alpha” is all about finding the investing edge… the alpha by which professional investors try to beat the market. The site has grown from a few hundred really serious investors to thousands of contributors and sections. The way I use it is to follow certain people I think are pretty smart and read their opinions. The quality can vary widely - if you want a short list of people I follow, drop me an email. 

That’s it for this week. See you next week!
Best, Mallika