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Barron’s Needs An Overhaul at Trader’s Narrative




Barron’s Needs An Overhaul


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barrons sucks Is it just me or is Barron’s really starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel? I’ve been reading it for more than half a dozen years now, and I get the uneasy feeling that each week the quality is just that tiny bit less than last.

This most recent issue of Barron’s (left) is a good case in point. Do we really need another list? And “most respected”? by whom? by what subjective measure? And how is this of benefit to any investor or trader?

Obviously the companies who place in the top 5 have something new to brag about. But what about the readers? Isn’t that what Barron’s should be focusing on?

Their recent foray into creating the Barron’s 400 Index is another head scratcher. Who needs yet another index? So what if it has out performed in backtesting?

Here are my suggestions (in case their editor stumbles onto this blog by mistake) to improve the once great publication:

  • remove the stock quotes (really, who relies on a newspaper for their quotes?)
  • with the savings hire some new writers
  • expand coverage into international and emerging markets
  • do more investigative journalism
  • put more emphasis on technical analysis (Barron’s used to be very technical analysis oriented but it has moved more and more into strictly fundamental analysis)

Got your own suggestion? Let’s hear it.

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10 Responses to “Barron’s Needs An Overhaul”  

  1. 1 Aaron

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    Barron’s has fallen behind the pack, I completely agree. I would rather any of the magazine subscription based market journals over it. Barron’s has quite frankly made a lot of poor calls, and the writeups always seem to be lacking substance. I completely agree about the need to expand internationally for Barron’s, they are lacking badly in that area.

  2. 2 Babak

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    Aaron,
    the advantage of Barron’s is that it is published every weekend, rather than monthly. But those stock quotes have got to go!

  3. 3 Stephan

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    If you’re looking for something weekly to read, The Economist is in a class of its own. It rarely concerns itself with the stock market, but offer tremendous insight into what’s happening around the world in politics and economics. Not anecdotal crap that’s already irrelevant by the time the next (and sometimes, already the current) issue comes out, but the big picture.

  4. 4 Jim

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    Barron’s should focus more on overall index analysis as opposed to individual stock selection. Considering much of any individual stock’s move is the result of the move in the overall market (or index), the idea of focusing on the likely direction of the market index is only logical. Extending index analysis to ETF recommendations (as opposed to individual stock analysis) would also be worthwhile. Additionally, mutual fund coverage/analysis should be increased to identify funds with best alpha and truly unusual funds, of which there are many. It doesn’t seem like there is any value to Barron’s current fund manager interview,….a value manager, or a growth manager, never straying from the SP500 benchmark,….typically not very thought provoking. Dumping Alan Abelson’s pervasively bearish column (supposedly this attracts readers,…makes you wonder who their audience really is), and getting rid of Clarence Barron’s character/comments would also be improvements. Michael Santoli, and Kopin Tan are perhaps Barron’s best columnists. I miss Leslie Norton’s column. The smaller format is also annoying. Who needs another magazine. Better to expand the content, and use a larger format. Quite simply, there is currently no reason to subscribe to, or even fully read Barron’s weekly. It is easier to catch one of the several online weekly reviews which highlights the small amount of worthwhile information. Altucher’s review over at stockpicker.com is the one I read.

  5. 5 Jim

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    Here is the link for Altucher’s Barrons weekly roundup

    or…

    ALTUCHER’s CURRENT

    Also, interesting to note that the cost of Barron’s is hiked to $5.
    Not surprising.

  6. 6 David Merkel

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    Many older people still like looking at paper for stock positions. They tend to buy financial publications like Barron’s more. Think of it as niche marketing to a very wealthy demographic. They are also conservative, which is why they like Abelson’s skepticism. They prefer fundamental analysis, because it is understandable. There is no universal technical analysis method, whereas for fundamental analysis there is one method, with a host of short-cuts that don’t always agree.

    Barron’s may have a shrinking demographic, but it is read by most institutional investors. It still moves the markets. It should not change.

  7. 7 My Trader's Journal

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    Wow, I’m really in the minority here. I still like Barron’s. I prefer that they stick with the fundamental analysis so I can take their picks and do my own technical analysis. I find 1-3 good picks per week from it and that makes it worth the read to me. Every pick can’t be good, that’s not a realistic expectation.
    I agree that Tan is one of the best out there right now and that the stock tables are useless these days. They need to fill the space to look bigger I guess.
    The past few weeks have been slim on the good picks for me, but that might be a sign of the current market more than the paper itself.

  8. 8 The Rational Investor

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    I’ve subscribed to Barron’s for roughly 6 months now and agree with most of your points. I appreciate and expect serious articles from a distinguished publisher like Barron’s. I expect “best” and “most” lists from blogs written by lowly bloggers like me.

    I also agree that the symbols are a waste of space. However, most of the old-timer’s still rely on that section. Just like I know old-timers that still rely on Thomas guides for driving directions.

    Anyway, who knows what new direction Barron’s will get for article selection once it goes under new management. I just hope WSJ isn’t next.

  9. 9 Babak

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    Stephan, the economist is another of my staples. They’ve upped their stock market coverage over the years.

    Jim, thanks for the links.

    David, yes, well I suppose but it is a tradeoff. Is it really worth all that printing and paper? Change is the only constant in life.

    MTJ, I still like Barron’s, I just wish they’d join the rest of us in 2007.

    RTI, the ol’ timers better start firing up their modems. They might actually find out more about investing than they bargained for with all those newfangled websites and forums and such. As long as they remember that the internet isn’t a truck! It is a series of tubes.

  10. 10 Barron's Fan

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    I use Barrons.com for daily updates and read the magazine on the weekend. They have excellent ETF, Options and Commodities coverage. Obviously the Market Makers are making an their decisions based on what they read in Barron’s, which is why I read it.. for an offensive and defensive plan of attack when the market opens. I enjoy the Economist for a global perspective but rely on Barron’s writers Alan Ableson, Kopin Tan and Andrew Barry (to name a few) and read Barron’s Tech Trader blog and Barron’s Stock’s to Watch blog several times a day. I am not old, I love my job and am good at it. I believe Barron’s is a great resource.

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