Where do you get your market information? Perhaps most people get it from the daily papers. When you look over the financial news of one of the leading metropolitan papers and see how much there is of it, you can get some idea of the enormous volume of work necessary to get this matter ready for the press in a few hours. There is no time to confirm reports. It is necessary that many of the articles be written from pure imagination, based on rumors.

Weekly and monthly periodicals can be more accurate in their information, but even they are not always dependable. Much of the financial news published comes from agencies that are not reliable. Read what Henry Clews says about them:

"Principally among these caterers are the financial news agencies and the morning Wall Street news sheet, both specially devoted to the speculative interests that centre at the Stock Exchange. The object of these agencies is a useful one; but the public have a right to expect that when they subscribe for information upon which immense transactions may be undertaken, the utmost caution, scrutiny and fidelity should be exercised in the procurement and publication of the news. Anything that falls short of this is something worse than bad service and bad faith with subscribers; it is dishonest and mischievous. And yet it cannot be denied that much of the so-called news that reaches the public through these instrumentalities must come under this condemnation. The 'points,' the 'puffs,' the alarms and the canards, put out expressly to deceive and mislead, find a wide circulation through these mediums, with an ease which admits of no possible justification. How far these lapses are due to the haste inseparable from the compilation of news of such a character, how far to a lack of proper sifting and caution, how far to less culpable reasons I do not pretend to decide; but this will be admitted by every observer, that the circulation of pseudo news is the frequent cause of incalculable losses. Nor is it alone in the matter of circulating false information that these news venders are at fault. The habit of retailing 'points' in the interest of cliques, the volunteering of advice as to what people should buy and what they should sell, the strong speculative bias that runs through their editorial opinions, these things appear to most people a revolting abuse of the true functions of journalism."

Of course, every trader gets market letters from one or more brokers. These are many and varied in character. Some of them are prepared with great care and give reliable information, but you must remember that a broker's market letter is published for the purpose of getting business, and business is created only by the customers' trading. Therefore it is to the broker's interest to have his customers make many trades instead of a few trades. In his book "Business Barometers," Roger W. Babson reproduces a letter written to him by the Manager of the Customers' Room of a Stock Exchange House. We consider this letter so important to all traders, we are taking the liberty to reproduce it here:

"Hearing on every hand about the fortunes made in Wall Street, I decided, upon being graduated from college, to devote myself to finance. With this end in view, I secured a position with a first-class New York Stock Exchange House, finally becoming the 'handshaker' for the firm; that is, 'manager' of the customers' room. So I had an exceptional opportunity to size up the stock business. The chief duties of the manager are to meet customers when they visit the office, tell them how the market is acting, the latest news from the news-tickers and the gossip of the Street. But the real duties are to get business for the house. Once a most peculiar man came to the office. He was about forty-five years of age, dressed in a faded cutaway coat, high-water trousers, and an East Side low-crown derby hat. In a high squeaky voice he said that he knew our Milwaukee House and would like to open an account. Of course, we were all smiles, for here was a new 'customer.'

"One day while in Boston he called us up on the long-distance telephone to make an inquiry about the grain market. One of my assistants, desiring to get a commission out of him, said 'We hear that Southern Pacific is going up; you had better get aboard.' He said 'All right; buy me a hundred at the market.' The stock was bought, but he never saw daylight on his purchase, for the market declined steadily afterward and by the time he got back from Boston it showed a heavy loss. The man who advised its purchase had no special knowledge about the stock, but simply took a chance, knowing that the market had only two ways to go, and it might go up, in which case, besides making twenty-five dollars in commissions for the house, he would be patted on the back for his good judgment. If the market went down, as it did, he would still make twenty-five dollars.

"I venture to say that 99% of the speculations on the New York Stock Exchange are based on such so-called 'tips'. The manager has got to get the business to keep his position and salary, and this can only be done by 'touting' people into the market. So he draws on the 'dope' sheets of the professional tipsters and his own feelings, and gives positive information to the bleating lamb that the Standard Oil is putting up St. Paul, or that certain influential bankers are 'bulling' Union Pacific. The lamb buys the stock, the broker gets the commission, and then the lamb worries his heart out as he sees his one-thousand-dollar margin jumping around in value. Now it has increased to eleven hundred dollars, then declined to nine hundred and fifty dollars, then nine hundred dollars, eight hundred dollars, then back to eight hundred and fifty dollars and then it takes the 'toboggan' to three hundred dollars upon which the broker calls for margins, and sells the customer out if they are not forthcoming, the whole speculation being based on the manager's 'feeling' that stocks ought to go up.

"Men of affairs who will not play poker at home, and are shocked at the mention of faro and roulette, which any old-timer will tell you are easier to beat than the stock market, think they are using business judgment when they try to make money on stock market 'tips'. Anyone with common sense can see that a 10% margin has no more chance in an active market than a brush dam in a Johnstown flood. One of the causes for this kind of speculating on a margin is that a broker's commission is only 121⁄2 cents per share and it does not pay to do small-lot business. The one-thousand-dollar margin would only buy ten shares outright and net the broker but $1.25 for buying and $1.25 for selling, whereas that same amount as margin on one hundred shares yields the broker $12.50 each way besides interest on the balance, the net result being that for any given amount of money a speculator on 10% margin multiplies his profits by ten and his losses by ten over those that would occur were he to buy the stock outright and take it home. The broker on his side multiplies his commission by ten over what he would receive were he to do an investment business."

From the above letter you get an idea of the attitude of an employee of the average broker's office. He would not be considered loyal to his employer if he had a different attitude. When an attitude like this influences the broker's market letters, they are not reliable.

You may ask whether there is any reliable information about the market. Yes, there is. There are several large organizations that make a study of fundamental statistics and statistics of different companies and give information to their subscribers based upon this knowledge. We believe that is the only kind of information that is worth very much to a trader, except the statistical information—the number of shares sold and the prices at which they are sold—he gets from his daily or weekly papers. Some of the principal organizations of this kind are as follows:

Standard Statistics Company, Inc.
Babson's Statistical Organization.
The Brookmire Economic Service.
Harvard Economic Service.
Poor's Investment Service.
Moody's Investors Service.
Richard D. Wyckoff Analytical Staff.

The above are the principal organizations of this kind. Subscriptions to their service cost from $85 to $1000 a year. In addition to these there are a few other organizations besides our own and individuals giving a somewhat similar service, but we know of none that gives such a service at as low a price as ours.

You should not confuse the service given by the above organizations with that given by many organizations and individuals who attempt to tell you what the market is going to do from day to day. In other words, they give 'tips' on the market. There are a number who issue daily market letters of this kind and charge from $10 to $25 a month for their service, but it is a line of service that we do not recommend at all, because we consider that you would be taking a very great risk if you followed advice of that kind. You might make enormously large profits occasionally, but you would also have frequent losses, and when the losses did come they might be greater than all the previous profits. We want you to understand that that kind of advice is entirely different from what we are recommending.