Barron’s is after millennials with Barron’s Next

By Max Willens

Barron’s, the Dow Jones-owned investment and finance publication, is hardly what you’d think of as a go-to for young people. After all, Barron’s boasts a third of its readers are C-level and enjoy a net worth around $3 million.

Rather than reorient a publication that’s been around for nearly a century, Barron’s has rolled out a digital offshoot, Barron’s Next, which traffics in quick analysis, video, and a custom-built stock index it hopes will give millennials an easy way to understand the economy and begin to take their first steps as investors.

“We think of them as consumers first,” said Alex Eule, the editor of Barron’s Next. “I think there’s a very big appetite and a very big need for this kind of journalism.”

Barron’s Next will publish five to six stock-specific stories per day, most around 200 words, a daily video reacting to market movements, plus a bevy of personal finance stories. While the topics on Next and Barron’s will be the same, the form of Next’s content is a far cry from the in-depth analyses typically found between the covers of an issue of Barron’s, where stories regularly stretch past 3,000 words.

What Next offers instead is a way for inexperienced, or unfamiliar readers, to familiarize themselves with the stock market and the Barron’s brand at the same time. The first key tool for doing that is the Next 50. Unlike the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which are designed to give a snapshot of all, or a good portion of the economy as a whole, the Barron’s Next 50 is more a collection of companies that “young consumers love,” according to an introductory post.

In other words, the Next 50 has Urban Outfitters, rather than Walmart or Target, and it has Tesla rather than General Motors. But it has also outperformed the stock market as a whole by a factor of seven over the past 10 years, and while the editors may tinker with Next 50’s contents in the coming months or years, Eule thinks its performance will say a lot about where the economy is going, and provide plenty of raw material for the publication’s staff to cover.

He also believes that a reference point for the markets, especially for young investors, can be useful. The Next 50, Eule said, is part of a broader mandate to explain things simply without dumbing them down, and give readers a firm way to understand things. “We don’t want to give you a thousand ways to think about something,” Eule said. “We want to give you one.”

Over the years, Barron’s has done a fine job reaching and keeping its audience. It has attracted over 425,000 subscribers, about a third of whom are digital-only, and they are just who you’d expect: Its readers’ average net worth is over $4 million, and they boast an average personal income of $300,000. But they are also not going to be around forever. The average age of a Barron’s print subscriber is 59, and its digital subscriber base isn’t much younger (56).

To grow its ranks of younger readers, it knew it had to try something different. But it also has to stand out: It faces competition from millennial-focused publishers including Vice and Mic, which have begun offering economic and personal finance coverage, as well as from Cheddar, a kind of CNBC for millennials, which recently began broadcasting live on Twitter.

One thing that will help is its ability to lean on other brands in the Dow Jones family. Barron’s Next already has a module on WSJ.com, its content has been running on MarketWatch, and ads will be running for it in a number of magazines, Barron’s included, where they began running in October.

“We’re excited to be a startup within a well-established brand,” Eule said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

This article first appeared on Digiday.

Become an indomitable investor — with Steven Sears

future of financial services

To build and protect wealth, Investors don’t need another get-rich-quick scheme.

Instead, look at history’s best investors to understand the basics of investing, the players in the market and their different priorities, what works and what doesn’t, and how to manage volatility.by steven sears

Steven Sears, editor and columnist at Barron’s, has written just such a book. His writing has a lifetime of experience and advice witnessing what works for the best investors…and what doesn’t.

He joins us on Tradestreaming Radio to discuss his new book, The Indomitable Investor.

Listen to the FULL episode

Continue reading “Become an indomitable investor — with Steven Sears”

Where’s Cramer? The 10 best stock pickers online

The thing about talking about stocks online is that even if the writer doesn’t provide his performance record, there’s always someone lurking out there keeping score.

The transparency and technology underlying the publishing of financial content by bloggers and columnists means that we can discern who’s just talking their book and who is really performing.

LikeAssets (read/listen my interview with LikeAsset’s CEO) and CXO Advisory both track performance of publications and provide real metrics behind investing punditry.

I’ve highlighted below the top 5 best stock pickers according to each service:

Top Performing Pundits

Name Publication LikeAssets Score*
Matthew McCall Seeking Alpha and IndexUniverse 103
Andrea Tse TheStreet.com 84
Larry Meyers Seeking Alpha 81
Jay Palmer Barron’s (sub req’d) 73
Rick Aristotle Munarriz Motley Fool 62
*See how Like Assets calculates its score

Highest Scoring Gurus

Name Publication CXO Guru Grade*
Jon Markman MarketWatch 68%
David Nassar MarketWise 68%
Jack Schannep MarketWatch 65%
James Oberweis Zacks.com 65%
Steve Sjuggerud DailyWealth 64%
*See how CXO calcuates its score

Couple of points here:

  • there is intellectual value in financial blogging even if the picks aren’t stellar
  • Nassar’s MarketWise is defunct
  • these numbers track performance of historical portfolios — a couple of the pundits listed haven’t updated their portfolios for awhile so caveat emptor in terms of following stale picks

Check out Tradestreaming Radio — we’re on iTunes talking about technology, social media and investing

Barron’s gets Tradestreaming’s evolution of the investing app store (but doesn’t admit to knowing me)

I’m a pretty easy going guy.  I never wanted to use this platform to vent or say anything hurtful about anyone or anything.  It’s just not my style — Tradestreaming is a resource to help investors, journalists, and industry professionals make better informed decisions.

So, it’s got me a little ticked off that the venerable Barron’s has been taking some of my ideas and repurposing them — without referencing this site.  I’m all for using my ideas and expanding on them.  I don’t have a monopoly on ideas.  Just tell your readers the source of your thoughts.  I do it.  C’mon.

This week’s Electronic Investor article entitled “Here Come the Third-Party Apps” is a direct reference to my July 6th piece, “Inching towards an investing app store“.

For most of us, this “open” collection of obscure programming utensils and standards—including, for example, a programmers’ tool kit with the memorable name SDK, or files tagged with the extension .XML—will be close to meaningless. But you may already be using some kind of trading app or plug-in that customizes your connection to E*Trade, and there’s no question that, with the proliferation of gadgets and third-party Websites, more such customizing and control programs are on the way. Like other online investment outfits, E*Trade doesn’t want to restrict its customers’ interface and functionality options to its in-house offerings.

The theme of brokerage platforms morphing into exchanges where 3rd party application developers can reach investors has been a common there here and on my other blog, New Rules of Investing.

Starting in July 2008 (on New Rules of Investing) and continuing a year later (with E*Trade further blurs the line between full-service and DIY investing), I’ve been writing about this trend– no one else really has. I’ve even included a section on it in the last chapter, Future of Finance, in my new book, Tradestream your Way to Profits.

Again, I have no problem riffing off my ideas.  That’s why I write: to engender some thinking and discussion.  Just link back.  Listening, Barron’s?

Resources about stock buybacks

Stock buybacks, whether you like them or loathe them, are a reality and when companies are sitting on so much cash (like they are now – almost $1 trillion!), buybacks are certainly one option for companies looking to deploy their cash hordes.

Barron’s recently reviewed a few online resources to help investors stay on top of macro and company-specific trends.  You should read the whole article (sub. required).

Here are a couple of their ideas and some of my own thrown in to boot…

Stock buyback resources

  • S&P Indices Market Attributes Series — I’m not exactly sure of what that means but this page posts proprietary S&P reports into buybacks.  Good overview on their reports (like this one (.pdf))
  • The Online Investor: OLI does a good job of reporting all the buybacks in the market on a per-company basis.
  • StreetInsider: Ongoing free feed of stock repurchases at numerous U.S. traded companies.
  • Seeking Alpha transcript search: Seeking Alpha publishes thousands of free conference call transcripts.  Search for terms like “stock buybacks” or “share repurchases” and get a list of which companies are talking about them and what they’re saying.

Academic studies of share buybacks

Premium Newsletters using Share Repurchase Strategies

Funds using buyback strategies

  • PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio ETF (PKW)

Read the whole Barron’s article here (sub req’d).

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