On Stocks and Financial Statements

Outside Looking In

Outside Looking In

Some readers emailed me privately wanting to know about stocks and financial statements. Here is my two cents worth.

On Stocks

I remember two things that my financial planner made me do so I will not be overwhelmed by stocks (well) and so that I can understand it:

1. He asked me to look at the business page of the newspaper everyday, the Stock Exchange page to be specific, and to choose at least 10 stocks that I will track and follow day after day after day.

He was right.  This gave me more than what I thought it will give me.  At the beginning, yes, there was confusion, and then after some time (six months… and going), illumination.  I had a “feel” of the market, and somehow, my “gut” was developed. I would know if stocks are on the rise, or if it is on freefall, which is the time to buy. The green and the red arrows in the newspaper actually meant something, but only as supplements to the general, wonderful, engaging world of numbers.  And when I recently had a report on my stockholdings and saw a 5% growth rate per month, I knew why a lot of other people play this game, and why they become greedy.

But I have a talisman against greed.  I only buy blue chip stocks and play long term.  Blue chip stocks takes out a little of the guesswork and this is what the noted stockmarket geniuses, like Warren Buffett or Kiyosaki, do. It’s great, I think, that I have not developed a taste for speculative (mining) or penny stocks or tech stocks because I do not really understand them. I have some tech stocks that I bought, though (a cellphone company), because it is part of my daily life. I guess you should get a mix of what you live with and the companies you admire but then again I am an investment trader as opposed to an active trader and like I said, I play long term. I guess you have to know your “risk appetite” and play the stocks by that.

Salve Duplito of MoneyStories, a friend, also swears by Morningstar.com to increase investing and financial intelligence but truth be told, I am still trying to get the hang of that website. It is a little too difficult for me, but who knows, one day I will crack it – whatever it is I need to crack to understand that site.

2. My financial planner had us in tow when he went to see a fortune teller (Madame Auring!). He had her tell his and our fortunes.  I actually wrote a guest post about this in MoneySmarts.

My financial planner’s point with this whole exercise is that it is guesswork – and in relation to stocks – the stockmarket is guesswork. No one really knows when a stock would go up, or when it would go down, or what world events would propel it to its rise or its demise. I guess in a way he was telling me to go easy, to try and understand, to play it by ear and not be bound by rules or what people say.

I continue my education.  I still read the stock pages everyday.  I have not forgotten what Buffett said: Buy when people are afraid, stay away when they are excited.  When reading, I am trying to gauge when people are afraid or excited, and then go for the jugular (ehrm).

On Financial Statements

Financial Statements are public documents filed annually with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a report on the financial health of registered corporations.

Financial Statements tell a story. Aside from the income and expense of a company, it would list its balance sheet, future plans – which may include expansions, mergers, acquisitions and other things which are of special interest (and concern).  Pay particular attention to the Notes to the Financial Statements, which appear at the end. This gives the beautiful (or ugly) details. It lists down what the company owes, its receivables, the bonus its directors get, its spending (or overspending) and everything you need to know about the general health and wealth of a company, including secrets (but you have to keep your eyes open).

A Financial Statement completes the picture and in making an investment (including purchase of stocks), this part seals (or breaks) the deal, or should.

Happy learning.

Be rich,


Article by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
Website: www.YouWantToBeRich.com
Email: [email protected]

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Criteria for buying stocks.
    1. Outstanding management with owner like orientation
    2. Leading or strong 2nd in industry
    3. Pays a dividend
    4. Available at an attractive price

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are right on the dividend. I always forget about the dividend. Even if a stock hardly moves but if the company is generous in paying the dividend, then the investor would have made good. Great tip. Thanks.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are right on the dividend. I always forget about the dividend. Even if a stock hardly moves but if the company is generous in paying the dividend, then the investor would have made good. Great tip. Thanks.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In the stock market , our chief enemy is likely to be ourselves, A rational investor should not be stampeded into buying and selling stocks based on what the market is currently doing. As if we must act on them. A true investor studies the company he/she wishes to buy in and estimate a value of its worth and buys when it falls substantially below its value. to quote a famous sage , Our favorite holding period is forever.
    In the short run the market is a voting machine requiring only money for registration, in the long run it is a weighing machine. When I want to laugh, Only then I watch market analysts on their latest market forecasts.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Haha… That’s a good way to put it. Now I know where to get my laughs too. Thanks.

  8. Grry_ph says:

    To start investing in the stock market, we need not look further than our household, i.e. Electricity? Meralco,smc,,EEC,then,banking?bpi,metro bank,bdo,etc,phone bills?globe and pldt. The best investments are the ones that are the easiest to make, degree of difficulty does not count. What is required is basic understanding of the business and it’s prospects and the right temperament. An investment in our book is an operation that promises safety of principal plus an adequate return ,operations not meeting this definition can be labeled as speculation .(from a famous investor)

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