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Hack 8. Track Stocks

A well-crafted Google query will usually net you company information beyond those provided by traditional stock services.

Among the pantheon of lesser-known Google syntaxes is stocks:. Searching for stocks:symbol, where symbol represents the stock you're looking for, will redirect you to Yahoo! Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com/) for details. The Yahoo! page is actually framed by Google; off to the top-left is the Google logo, along with links to Quicken, Fool.com, MSN MoneyCentral, and other financial sites.

Feed Google a bum stock: query and you'll still find yourself at Yahoo! Finance, usually staring at a quote for stock that you've never heard of or a "Stock Not Found" page. Of course, you can use this to your advantage. Enter stocks: followed by the name of a company you're looking for (e.g., stocks:friendly). If the company's name is more than one word, choose the most unique word. Run your query and you'll arrive at the Yahoo! Finance stock lookup page shown in Figure 1-22.

Figure 1-22. Yahoo! Finance stock lookup page


Notice the Look Up button; click it and you'll be offered a list of companies that match "friendly" in some way. From there you can get the stock information that you want (assuming the company you wanted is on the list).

1.20.1. Beyond Google for Basic Stock Information

Google isn't particularly set up for basic stock research. You'll have to do your initial groundwork elsewhere, returning to Google armed with a better understanding of what you're looking for. I recommend going straight to Yahoo! Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com) to quickly look up stocks by symbol or company name. There you'll find all the basics: quotes, company profiles, charts, and recent news. For more in-depth coverage, I heartily recommend Hoovers (http://www.hoovers.com). Some of the information is free. For more depth, you'll have to pay a subscription fee.

1.20.2. More Stock Research with Google

Try searching Google for:

"Tootsie Roll"

Now add the stock symbol, TR, to your query:

"Tootsie Roll" TR

Aha! Instantly the search results shift to financial information. Now, add the name of the CEO:

"Tootsie Roll" TR "Melvin Gordon"

You'll end up with a nice, small, targeted list of results, as shown in Figure 1-23.

Figure 1-23. Using a stock symbol to limit results


Stock symbols are great "fingerprints" for Internet research. They're consistent, they often appear along with the company name, and they're usually enough to narrow down your search results to relevant information.

There are also several words and phrases that you can use to narrow down your search for company-related information. Replacing company with the name of the company you're looking for, try these:

  • For press releases: "company announced", "company announces", "company reported"

  • For financial information: company "quarterly report", company SEC, company financials, company "p/e ratio"

  • For location information: company parking airport locationódoesn't always work but sometimes works amazingly well

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