Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) is a newspaper designed to give professional level stock data and research to the non-professional for the purpose of helping him be successful in investing without having to do it full time. The paper was founded by investor William J. O’Neil and works in conjunction with his CANSLIM investing method (if your not familiar with it see the link to a review at the bottom of this article) which he writes in his book How to Make Money in Stocks. O’Neil says that “for decades, professional money managers were the only ones who had access to the in-depth data that is critical to finding winning stocks.” He created IBD to bring in depth data to all investors small or large, new or experienced.
Main Selling Points
IBD’s main selling point is that compiles and sorts a stock market research and data that the nonprofessional investor would have to spend an unrealistic amount of time acquiring and might not have access to an all. O’Neil claims that the paper will save the reader a significant amount of time and enable them to be successful in investing without being a professional.
IBD is not big on giving the reader “stock tips.” Rather is focuses on educating the reader so he can use the data provided in the paper to make informed decisions on when to buy and when to sell.
Let take a look at some of the main features of IBD and see how they compare with other financial papers.
The Importance of General Market Direction
The infamous investor Jesse Livermore said that “all he needs to know to make money is to appraise (the general) conditions” of the market. He was saying that you can be right on everything with a stock but if you’re off on the direction of the general market, and that direction is down, three out of four of your stocks go down and you will lose big money. Going against the general market is like swimming against the current. In the end you are going to lose. The wise investor evaluates the general conditions (which way the current is going) and invests along with it. One of the best aspects of IBD is that it seizes on this reality and gives the reader multiple sources of data for them to appraise the general conditions of the market.
Two of these tools are on the first page. On the top of the first page is the price and volume activity of all the major indexes for the previous days trading. They’re highlighted in blue for up and red for down so you can see at a glance where the market moved the previous day. The second thing on the first page is the big picture column. This is a synopsis of all the market activity for the previous day and commentary on its relationship the “big picture” of the market.
IBD also has a great page called “How is the Market”. This presents charts for the major market indexes, the NYSE composite, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial. They show the price and volume activity for each as well as relative strength lines, moving average lines and other market metrics. Within a single page it provides a host of tools for sizing up the general condition of the market.
Not Your Ordinary Stock tables
The second feature that stands about IBD is their stock tables. Most stock tables show only price and volume changes of stocks from the previous day and sort them alphabetically. IBD goes well beyond this and give a number of powerful tools for finding great stocks. First the tables are sorted into their respective industry sectors and then the sectors are sorted by their strength. For example currently the software sector is performing the best and those stocks are shown first. This is a great tool for helping you to focus on the better performing industries. O’Neil stated that after doing extensive research he discovered that “since 1953, the majority of individual stocks that were real market leaders were also part of a leading industry group or sector at the time.”
The second big thing about IBD’s stock tables that they include IBD’s five proprietary ratings called the Smart Select Corporate ratings. Here is a description of each one.
· Earnings-per-Share Rating – Sizes up the growth ability of a company based on its earnings over the last three years but giving additional weight to the most recent quarters. This is a tool designed to allow you to quickly evaluate a company’s profitability. This helpful as profitability is the driving force behind a stocks price movement over the long term.
· Relative Price Strength Rating — Measures a stock’s price performance over the prior 12 months and compares it all other publicly traded companies. This is a powerful tool to help you pick out the top stock amongst a group you are comparing.
· Sales + profit margin + return on equity (SMR) rating – This rating combines factors into a rating to measure a company’s sales growth and profitability. This helps you determine if a company is growing in it’s core area of business (measured by sales).
· Accumulation/Distribution Rating — This rating is based on daily price and volume action and tells you whether a stock is being bought heavily (accumulated) or sold heavily (distributed). Accumulation and distribution are key metrics for determining supply and demand of a stock and this can be used to project future price movements.
· Composite rating — This is the first column in the stock tables and it combines all of the ratings to give you a summary rating for a quick review of a stocks overall performance. This is a good metric for comparing similar companies or different companies that you want to pick out the best one from.
Another feature that stands out about their stock tables is that they include a percentage change in volume value. This gives the days volume change as a percentage of the 50 day average volume. This figure is helpful in determining which stocks are in demand in the market. You can scan the stock tables for stocks that are up in price with a significant increase in volume to see which stocks are being accumulated.
Stock checkup tool
If you are a subscribers you have access online stock checkup tool. I think this is one of IBDs greatest features and may be worth the subscription price alone. The stock checkup tool is a summary of all of the criteria in William J. O’Neil’s CANSLIM investing method. It gives you all of the stocks Smart Select Corporate ratings as well as further data in each of the ratings areas. You can jump right from a stocks chart to the checkup tool and get a quick but thorough analysis of its fundamentals. You can also see how it rates against the other companies in its sector. In many cases this is enough information to make a successful buy on. You don’t have to spend hours of time looking through the stock’s quarterly and annual reports to see if it’s worthwhile. Its a huge time saver. The amount of research someone may take hours to do you can get done in minutes.