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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert