It has been more than a year since we published our feature, “The Twenty-Five Best Financial Blogs.” A great deal has changed. Some of the blogs on the list are gone or no longer have regular posts. Others have grown and become better.
This is a list of independent blogs. However, several major media outlets have excellent blog sections including David Gaffen at WSJ.com, Fortune.com’s Apple 2.0 blog, BusinessWeek.com’s Fine On Media, and BloggingStocks at AOL (24/7 contributes content to this site). Obviously, these blogs have a level of financial support that independent blogs do not enjoy. Their writers are paid salaries. They have greater exposure due to their relationship with larger websites. They are excellent, but really should not be compared with websites operated by one person or a small group of individuals. Nevertheless, they should be recognized for their own commentary as well as the exposure that they give to independent blogs.
Financial information on blog sites is not readily available. Most financial blogs are much too small to bring in enough direct revenue to support their writers. Some have newsletters, but it is impossible to know what they yield. A number run Google AdSense links on their sites to generate ad revenue, but, based on data gathered from a few financial blogs, if a site is not in the top of its category as measured by audience tracking sites like Quantcast, Alexa and Compete, it is unlikely to have enough revenue to support even one or two people.
Financial blogs end up being either labors of love or ways to promote small money management or paid newsletter businesses. It would seem to be a tough way to make a living.
Over the last month, 24/7 Wall St. has looked at more than one hundred financial blogs The list came from those blogs mentioned at major media sites and the largest aggregators of financial blogs, SeekingAlpha and BloggingStocks. We also reviewed the lists of “blogrolls” – favorite blog lists – at long-established financial blogs like The Kirk Report and financial commentary sites like Minyanville
After we narrowed the number of financial blogs down to about 50, we tracked posts for several weeks before picking the final twenty-five.
Original content was our most important measurement: specifically, content that was well-written, well-researched and crisp. Blogs that were mostly aggregations of content from mainstream media did not make the cut. This meant that the majority of the copy had to be directly written by the blog’s author(s).
Blogs that used profanity were also excluded from the list. It is well recognized that traders are a notoriously bawdy bunch. And, unfortunately, a number of these blogs are incredibly insightful. However, our aim was to create a list that avoided offending any of our reader’s delicate sensibilities.
Anonymous blogs also did not make the cut. It is too difficult to understand the agenda of a blog where readers cannot figure out the writer’s identity and potential motivations.
The final major metric was frequency of posting. If a blog had very good content, but the author only posts once or twice a month, it becomes too hard to follow without referring back to the same story and waiting for weeks for it to change.
24/7 Wall St. also looked at how well read the blogs were based on the number of other blogs that linked to each of the websites on our list. These figures were provided by Technorati, the internet’s leading blog search engine. (Because Technorati indexes more than 1.5 million new blog posts in real time, these numbers are subject to change.) This is the one audience or traffic metric that is universally available for all the websites on the list.
Here are Top Twenty-Five financial blogs, in no special order:
1. Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis (7,903 links). Although Mish (aka Mike Shedlock) is not an economist by training, he adroitly gets into the thick of economic data. Mish looks at comments made by the major media, so–called experts and government officials and serves up trenchant analysis based on his impression of their relevance and validity. The author is not afraid to attack conventional wisdom.
2. Footnoted.org (598 links). The blog’s author, Michelle Leder, digs through SEC filings and comes up with some of the best insights about the “hidden” comments found in 8Ks, 10Qs, and other government filings that rarely get as careful a review. This is one of the oldest financial blogs, founded in 2003.
3. Bill Cara’s Cara Community (389 links) analyzes the capital markets, stock movements, and the economy with an eye to technical guides including volatility, cash flows, trading volume, and price performance and is prolific almost beyond comparison.
4. Infectious Greed (3,822 links). Blogger, Paul Kedrosky, is considered one the preeminent financial market pundits. His site reflects the perspective of a former technology analyst, institutional money manager, and venture capitalist. Infectious greed provides a running commentary on global markets, economic trends, and emerging business trends.
5. Bespoke Invest, also known as “Think Big” (6,112 links), is the blog for a money management and research firm. The site provides a combination of technical analysis and commentary on macroeconomic trends, major sectors of the stock market, and currencies.
6. Angry Bear (2,447 links) is the product of a half dozen Ph.D economists, an historian, and financial professionals. The writers provide individual perspectives on broad sectors of the economy based on their unique training. They look at topics as varied as worldwide trade and industrial production as well as US government programs and regulations like Social Security.
7. The Big Picture by Barry Ritholtz (11,223 links) has recently moved from his long-standing site on typepad, where he’s been since 2002, to http://www.ritholtz.com. Ritholtz is one of the most well-respected market and economic pundits and bloggers who manages money as his day job. Multiple posts a day on subjects as diverse as criticisms of the business press, digital media, and key economic indicators. Sophisticated analysis made clear by an unmistakably irreverent voice and excellent use of charts, tables, and graphs.
8. Naked Shorts (833 links) covers ETFs, hedge funds, monetary policy, and current events. Bangs on hedgies and the accounting profession and its practices. Not fond of the practices of many US government agencies.
9. A VC (2,777 links). Long-time venture capitalist Fred Wilson passes along his opinions on new technology and how it converges with emerging parts of the economy. Wilson talks in detail about where he is investing his venture capital money and why. His Union Square Ventures has taken positions in new ventures including Del.icio.us, Feedburner, and Twitter.
10. SeekingAlpha (63,563 links), the grandfather of financial blog aggregation, also has its own editors and columnists. This is by far the largest collection of financial blog posts in the world. Readers who want to find articles from hundreds of sites get a one-stop-shop at SeekingAlpha. If it were not for this web site, a large number of blogs would have almost no readers.
11. Clusterstock (1,613) links) follows and comments on business, the stock market, and economic news throughout the day. It has a staff of several outstanding writers lead by Henry Blodget. Articles by John Carney are particularly good. It is now combined with another strong site called Silicon Alley Insider.
12. 1440 Wall Street (1,216 link). Although the site is “intended for the institutional equities crowd,” we won’t hold it against them – it’s still very good. Covers money markets, sell side, buy side, private equity, Wall St. research, and media. Strong analysis. Strong on multimedia.
13. The Kirk Report (1,571 links). This is one of the oldest financial blogs and it has been consistently good. It has a number of articles which are simply links to other sites. Strong on stock analysis, market recommendations, and volume investing. Too bad some of the content requires being a “member.”
14. Calculated Risk (11,057 links) is among the most thoughtful and thorough financial commentary on the internet. Period. Tears apart poor economic assumptions. Gets to the heart of the elements that move the economy and markets. Big focus on housing and economic analysis
15. Abnormal Returns (1,009 links). Disregarding our own rules for what blogs should be on this list, this site is the only one that simply provides lists of links to other financial sites. However, there’s a reason we’re making an exception as these are carefully selected and come with good short intros. Links are regularly organized by subject.
16. TraderFeed (2,437 links). The author, Brett Steenbarger, is one of the most intelligent voices in the financial blog business. Strong on technical analysis, broad market commentary, and the psychology behind trading behavior.
17. Alpha Trends (1,046 links). Extremely strong technical analysis. Good video commentary which it claims is the highest subscription membership for financial videos on YouTube. Covers stocks, ETF, and index movement.
18. Econbrowser (6,597 links). Run by two professors, both with economic backgrounds. What readers would expect from academics looking at the markets. Indepth and often complex analysis of a broad range of topics from infrastructure to policy making to consumer spendings. More than any other site on this list, Econ Browser is not for sisses.
19. Peridot Capitalist (192 links). Written by a money manager, one of the oldest and better regarded financial blogs. Good corporate earnings analysis and looks at undervalued stocks.
20. Information Arbitrage (957 links) The author has been in the M&A and derivatives businesses for some time. Strong and rich commentary on current financial events, investment risks and rewards, and the current credit and economic crisis.
21. Maoxian (290 links). Strong pieces on day trading, technical trading, balance sheets, and ETFs. Strange graphics. Writer tries to be anonymous, but it hasn’t worked.
22. 10Q Detective (277 links). Writer has been an equity analyst. Good at digging through government filings to find information for investors which is both helpful and sometimes amusing. Good place to read how public companies “game” the process of SEC reporting.
23. Ticker Sense (538 links). This site may be the most well known for its weekly poll of financial blogger sentiments about the market. Written by money management firm Birinyi Associates. Has excellent analysis of global economy and major sectors of the stock market. Use of tables and graphs is among the best.
24. Upside Trader (356 links) Good technical analysis which follows the market carefully. Strong charting on individual companies. Great place for day traders.
25. Carl Futia (133 links). One of the best financial forecasting blogs. Employs various technical analysis including some he has developed. Notable for his thoughtful and approachable writing. Posts very regularly.
Douglas A. McIntyre and Ashley C. Allen