Get a grip on shares

Information sources: where to go for advice if you want to deal on the stock market

WHETHER you want a hobby which gives you the chance of making money, or you've got time on your hands since your youngest child started nursery, investing on the stock market can be a profitable way to spend time. But how do you get started?

There are gurus a-plenty but you need to build up confidence in your own ability. Choose a sector of the market, monitor the price movements and try to work out the causes. Before you invest for real, run a dummy portfolio and see how it does.

You'll have to do some serious reading. Two books with good general introductions are How to Read the Financial Pages, by Michael Brett, and The Beginner's Guide to Investment, by Bernard Gray. Get hold of the Financial Times (70p) and Investors Chronicle (pounds 2). Both will seem more gripping once you've got particular shares to follow.

o Company reports and accounts can be obtained, free of charge, from the company (ask for the company secretary) orfrom the FT's Annual Reports Service, phone 0181-770 0770. The service will send interim and annual reports and accounts by second-class post. You have to quote the week's code number printed in the newspaper.

o The ShareFinder service, from private client stockbroker ShareLink, publishes company reports which include analysts' forecasts, summary financial data, key financial ratios and company announcements for more than 1,000 companies. Each report costs pounds 4.95. The FT and Investors Chronicle sell ShareFinder reports repackaged to include their own latest coverage. ShareFinder also publishes a weekly performance summary (pounds 2.95) of key indicators for the same 1,000-odd companies and a buy/sell guide (pounds 4.95) compiled from analysts' latest recommendations.

To get details of all ShareFinder reports, plus a sample company report, phone 0121-200 4600 and mention this article. ShareLink will also offer Independent on Sunday readers other special offers.

o New members of the Guild of Shareholders, which aims to increase shareholders' say in the way companies are run, receive pounds 100 of ShareFinder vouchers.Phone 01296 715088.

o Refs has financial statistics and company data (0171-278 7769), though at pounds 675 for 12 monthly issues or pounds 250 for four issues, Refs may seem more affordable if you are in an investment club. The Hambro Company Guide (0171-278 7769) costs pounds 115 for four issues per year. FT McCarthy cards (01985 215151) is a cuttings service and costs pounds 25 a company a year for a minimum of five companies.

o You might want to look at tip-sheets. There are many, including The Investors Stockmarket Weekly (0171-247 4557) plus the Fleet Street Letter, The Minerva Report (for unit and investment trusts), the Penny Share Guide, Taipan-UK and Stockmarket Confidential, all from Fleet Street Publications (phone 01932 354020 for sample copies).

o To buy or sell shares you need a stockbroker. Their most basic service is dealing-only, where you don't get any advice but costs are lower. If you are looking for advice, don't go purely on price. APCIMS (112 Middlesex Street, London E1 7HY) the stockbrokers' trade association, will send you a brochure and list of members. Ask your friends if they've found a broker that they're happy with.

o Share prices (the previous day's closing mid-price) can be found in the broadsheet newspapers. Teletext and Ceefax update share prices seven times daily and are free. To get up-to-the-second prices you can phone your stockbroker, you can pay to use an automated phone service (you dial a number from a directory for the price of the particular share you want) or you can access a screen-based service. There are several phone services, including ones that newspapers advertise under their own brands. Most charge at premium rates (49p per minute 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, 39p per minute at other times), but PriceFinder (0121-200 2242) from ShareLink runs at normal phone rates.

Among screen-based services, CitiService Premium from Prestel On-line (0171-591 9008) gives real-time prices for buying, selling, price highs and lows, what prices the last five trades were at and total volume figures for all shares and gilts (Government bonds) for pounds 299.99 a year plus VAT. In addition, you pay local phone charges (4p per minute) while it's running. Market-Eye from ICV (0171-329 8282) has higher start-up costs but there are no telephone charges.

o Portfolio management software is available from FairShares (01372 741969). Its Omega package costs pounds 69.95 and its Professional package, which adds advanced analysis and includes market scans, user- defined reports and real-time downloading from Market-Eye, costs pounds 195. Meridian Software (0181-309 5960) has portfolio management packages starting from pounds 49.95.

o Software for technical analysis, also called chartism, from Synergy Software (01582 424282) can be run with data feeds from sources including Teletext (if you have a Teletext card, previous day's closing mid-prices can be downloaded for free after midnight) and Market-Eye (for real-time prices). Citifeed (0171-591 9008) downloads closing mid-prices via a modem and communications software without the need for a Teletext card.

o To lobby for greater influence for small shareholders, you could join the UK Shareholders Association for pounds 20 a year. Call 01483 561228.

o For pounds 29.95, you can buy a year's membership to ProShare.You'll receive 10 issues a year of The Investor magazine, a manual portfolio management system and a free copy of Selecting Shares That Perform, which otherwise costs pounds 17.95. ProShare also organises company visits and seminars around the country for investors and has produced various books. Contact ProShare (UK) Ltd, Library Chambers, 13-14 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 5BQ (0171- 600 0984).

o Investment clubs can be a sociable means of sharing your risk and spreading your costs. ProShare Investments Clubs Manual (pounds 25) contains everything you need to set up a club. You can also register a club with ProShare for pounds 25 and receive its newsletter, a copy of REFS financial data and enter its Investment Club Awards.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride