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After going through the Fool's School section and reading about many stock valuation techniques and familiarizing myself with the lingo, I started by looking at David and Toms picks.  What could I learn about them...  From there I progressed to "Top Tens" section to start a learning expedition again.  I copied many of the five star stocks and tried to digest why they were rated as such.  I noticed one of them has a higher rate of return by himself.  Was this luck?  I doubt it; I bet they are extremely competitive.  I started looking at all the tickers on my spreadsheet that had a Fool Ratio (PEG), based on the next 2008 and 2009 earnings estimates, that was .500 or less.  I made many of my initial picks based off that simple math.  That worked for a couple days getting me a decent score, but accuracy needed a bit of help.  After that I decided to look further in to "trends".  I noticed an article about uptrends and downtrends, so I read it.  After that I started looking at 3 month and 6 month patterns using Google's finance section.  I added this information to my spreadsheet.  I decided looking up current price was a bit slow at my newbie rate.  I figured from my Computer Science background that something had to exists where I could tap into current prices a bit faster.  I found a nifty little thing for Microsoft's Excel program, downloaded and installed.  Now I get nearly 200 current prices to aid my calculations.  From there I decided I should learn what it meant to compare a stock to its sector/industry.  Reuters has been a huge friend to my research.  I found the P/B, ROE, P/S, etc... all there for the taking.  Now that information was added to my spreadsheets.  Then there was this thing that kept happening.  It seems every time some stock reported it had fallen short of its estimated earnings; the market kicked it down a little or a lot.  If the stock did better than it expected the market lifted it a little.  Okay, so I tucked a few more lessons under my then  "twirly bird cap".  I thought I'd try to read other blogs and pitches to see what I could learn there.  Recently I thought I'd visit the web to find dividend paying stocks.  Everyone likes money, self included.  I hear you need to buy the cheap dollars though...  If I understand it right, U.S. dollars are cheap right now.  The market as a whole has taken a hit, my real world portfolio (Roth IRA and stocks) are crying at a loss of about 18%.  Now granted a major piece of that is due to the financials and housing sectors.  Next year my Roth IRA funds will be sunk into that hopefully still low sector (again, cheap dollars).  This year’s money went into further diversification of my Roth.  The mutual funds that fill that portfolio were picked based on 10yr/since inception rates of return.  I picked many of the top performing 100 mutual fund families and started digging up information on their funds.  I compared the loading/costs associated with them and decided on some that had a long term history of good performance and low costs.  All this research to be down 18% seems like a nightmare, but I trust things will brighten in my future investments.  After all I like many am taking advantage of advice from a couple Fools. 


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