Times Picks

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The best of the Web from Times finance and markets writers:

* Site:

What with an antitrust battle and a slowing of the personal-computer market, Microsoft Corp. is certainly taking its lumps this year. But its personal-finance Web site remains one of the best around. is useful to both novice investors as well as sophisticates. And you can’t beat the price: Everything is free.

The site contains a bevy of information on everything from retirement planning to taxes to college financing. The topics are easy to navigate and are loaded with primers, glossaries, calculators, etc. For buy-and-hold stock investors as well as active traders, has all the basics that you’d expect: company news, financial reports and stock charts.


But the best tool by far is the stock screener, into which an investor plugs a set of criteria--such as strong earnings growth and low price--and the site spits out a list of companies that fit the bill.

From the home page, click Investor, then Stock Screener (under the Stock Research banner), and finally Custom Search.

Short of going to work for a mutual fund company, you’re not likely to find a better stock screener.