3 Tips for Reading the Wall Street Journal
When I was a college senior, I took advantage of a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve in a few of my investing courses - I got a student-discounted subscription to the Wall Street Journal. This put me on track for a lot of good habits that ultimately landed me a career on Wall Street and kept my mind sharp when it comes to research. If you are a student, I highly recommend that you take advantage of this discount today, and once you do, there are a few noteworthy items when readings this important paper. Here are three of my tips...
1) Don't read the "Breaking News' - Mostly because it's no longer "breaking" news by the time it gets to you. All the news printed in the first section, was likely reported on the news or sent as an alert to your smartphone already. Don't waste your time here; instead focus on the Marketplace and Money & Investing sections. Not only are they far more geared towards your interests, but this is where your interpretation of certain reports may be of use to finding great stock ideas. Opinions are also great to read, but just remember that they are "opinions" and not "facts." In some newspapers, this can pose a problem depending on the audience.
2) Understand Advanced English - This can help boost your cognitive reading abilities, but it is worth noting that the WSJ is one of the only newspapers written for an intellectually strong audience. Compare this to the New York Times, which is written generally at a 3rd-Grade reading level; the WSJ is at a high-school level. Though it's more difficult to read, this is not entirely a bad thing; much of the details hold news on stocks and companies that many would not be willing to find. Look for good nuggets, just be aware that the newspaper was written for advanced readers and sharp minds -- LIKE YOU, duh!
3) Skip All the Numerical Quotes - Newspapers began printing futures prices and pre-market trading stock quotes for decades, and out of habit they continue to do so. However, these are not necessary to read in the least. All of the printed information is old and more realistic prices can be found in real time on sites like CNN Money and Yahoo Finance. Be sure to note any quarterly earnings data that is planned to be released for the day or the week because this can drastically impact stock prices for the day.