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Research: A Strong Buy

November 05, 1996|JON D. MARKMAN

Many investors don't realize that free detailed research from their full-service brokers is a phone call away. To start, ask your broker for the firm's weekly research summaries, which typically range from 10 to 50 pages in a surprisingly readable paper booklet.

To mine deeper for data and insight, order the detailed reports of industries or companies that interest you. These come in two flavors: two-to-five-page spot news reports and in-depth reports that are typically filed once or twice a year.

If you're unimpressed with the quality of research in the industries in which you prefer to invest, maybe you're at the wrong brokerage. Before switching, order the October issue of Institutional Investor magazine ([212] 571-0023), which annually publishes a list of star analysts for each sector.

Very few research reports are available free on the World Wide Web, though, because brokerages consider those the crown jewels they reserve for paying customers. You might be able to obtain reports by telling a brokerage you are interested in becoming a customer but that you first would like to see a sample of their research--such as the report you're interested in.

Hambrecht & Quist is among the few that publish even a modest amount of research online. The brokerage posts it at its Web site on a one- to three-month lag; point your Web browser at

Most other brokerages' Internet home pages are much less helpful. A couple of the better ones are Alex. Brown, at, and A.G. Edwards, at You'll find a listing of their research reports at both of these addresses, but you must request specific reports from the brokerage, and be a client, to get them.

If you find a report that piques your curiosity but don't want to become a brokerage client, call the Investext Group at (800) 662-7878. The company republishes research from 395 investment banks, including 130 in Europe, and charges for them on a per-page basis. Reports are sent by fax, Federal Express, mail or e-mail.

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