Every now and again, a new product, service or Web site is brought to my attention. And sometimes I even get to talk with the people who made it happen. This is always an interesting experience for me. One of the more recent (and interesting) investing resource Web sites to come to my attention is Wikinvest.
Wikinvest takes the concept behind Wikipedia and applies it to investing. Anyone can sign up for an account and weigh in on companies, the market, and concepts behind the stock market. And, as with Wikipedia, the articles and submissions are constantly being edited and updated. The co-founders of Wikinvest, Parker Conrad and Michael Sha, insist that the information becomes better the more refined the articles are.
The problem with more traditional investing resource Web sites, Conrad points out, is that “many finance portals display the same information. There’s nowhere you can go to understand the company story and get a narrative.” He describes a community that offers a broad scope of information, in one place, that can’t be found in most other places. Sha adds: “Most investing information is ticker-symbol based. You find the ticker and go to a site, and then see a news feed.” What’s missing on those sites, that Wikinvest provides, includes company operating basics and fundamentals, as well as where the company fits into overall market trends.
You can still use tickers to search for a company on Wikinvest, but what the site adds is context and narrative. Basic information on the company and its performance can be found. Insight into how the company fits into larger market movements and trends is described. Charts are available. These are actually really interesting charts that include notes about what was happening. So you can learn about how a stock is influenced by looking at the Wikichart and seeing what was happening as a stock rose or dropped. Wikinvest goes beyond the general “This company’s stock is up on merger news” or “Subprime worries are affecting mortgage lenders” to tell you why certain trends and events affect the stock market, and which companies are impacted and how.
Another interesting feature of Wikinvest is the “Bulls” and “Bears” arguments. Sha says that “Often you only get one side of the story from analyst recommendations. Wikinvest allows users to make arguments for and against the stock. You can read the arguments and then decide for yourself.” Conrad and Sha points out that the site itself does not make recommendations. Contributors are listed with entries so that you can learn more about them, and decide whether you think they are reliable sources for investing information. As with any such endeavor, it is best to take things with a grain of salt. But the amount of information amassed on Wikinvest, as well as how easy it is to find, access and understand, makes it a great investing resource.
For the investor, especially the beginning investor, who wants better background in how different forces influence the market, and how different stocks compare to each other, Wikinvest can be a great tool.