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May 5, 2011 -

In This Issue:

StockCentral Data More Timely Than Ever!

Last week, our software development team launched a new enhancement to the StockCentral data service. In the past, we updated the price and data in the StockCentral datafiles for Toolkit 6 and our other software programs once a week. Now, we update our datafiles each day with current prices as well as with any changes to the quarterly or annual fundamental data that Morningstar, our company data provider, reports to us.

As a result of this change, the data that you'll see in Toolkit 6 could appear up to a week sooner than it had been in the past. Coupled with our shift to use preliminary company data that we announced in February, users should be getting data just about as quickly as possible following a company's release of quarterly and annual financials.

This change does not mean that data will appear instantaneously in your Toolkit 6 whenever a company issues a press release about its results. Morningstar's data collection is triggered by the filing of Form 8-K by the company (this form is used whenever "material news" about the company is made available to the public), and it can still take a week or longer for that data to make it into the data stream that Morningstar provides to StockCentral. If in doubt about the company's most recent earnings, a quick check of the SEC web site for Form 8-K filings, or a search on Yahoo! Finance for a company's news releases, will always turn up the most recent announcements.

Take Stock on StockCentral also now uses daily data updates, as will the Company Report.

The Stock Prospector database, StockCentral Stock Screener, StockCentral Industry Averages, and the Roster of Quality Companies are unaffected by this change at present, and will all continue to be updated weekly.

Flashback to 1957: Lessons Learned about Club Member Recruitment
by Doug Gerlach,
President, ICLUBcentral Inc.

In 1957, Americans were tuning in to their televisions as never before. Staples such as "I Love Lucy" were joined by "Perry Mason" and "Maverick" as early "must-see" programs, while kids were entertained by the adventures of an inquisitive young boy and his family on "Leave It to Beaver."

As with any good idea, all these programs lived on for decades in reruns, entertaining successive generations with drama and comedy. But these weren't the only popular programs of 1957. Recently turned up in office renovations at BetterInvesting headquarters were back issues of the NAIC Bulletin, the monthly eight-page organ published for members of the National Association of Investment Clubs, touted as "America's Fastest Growing Investment Program."

As I perused the January 1957 issue, printed on blue paper, I was struck by how much had changed in the last 54 years -- and by how much that hasn't. A young Ralph L. Seger, Jr., presented a Stock Selection Guide of Aeroquip Corporation, a Michigan manufacturer of airplane parts that still exists today as a division of Eaton Corp. A note from the Bulletin's editorial staff discussed problems with the mail and frequent complaints from members that they didn't receive issues promptly, a problem that BetterInvesting's staff still contends with today. Less likely to be seen today, the Mariners Investment Club was profiled as the first club located aboard a ship, made up entirely of the crew of a steamer who apparently conducted their meetings while plying the Great Lakes.

But my eye fell to page 3, entirely given over to an idea that I'd recently been kicking around myself as a way to increase club membership around the country. (So much for my "original" idea!) Titled "Invite a Friend Night," the Bulletin suggested that each of NAIC's nearly 2,000 clubs open their February meeting to "guest observers" invited by all members. "Now you can make it easier for one of your friends to…find the way to start his own investment career," the article said (with another sign of the times — though later the article suggests that possible candidates could be a "young man [or a young lady] just starting in business"). The aim of Invite a Friend Night wasn't necessarily to have all these guests join your club but to demonstrate how a club operates.

"After the meeting he will have a better idea of how to form a club and join those who own a share of American industry through democratic capitalism," the article concludes. Despite the claims that Invite a Friend Night isn't meant to recruit new members, it seems safe to say that many clubs added members as a result of their participation in the program....

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A Bit of Market Trivia: Single-Letter Ticker Symbols

The April 2011 issue of the Investor Advisory Service newsletter included a recommendation for a company with a single letter ticker symbol. That reminded me of some market trivia about one of Wall Street's most exclusive clubs -- those with a single letter ticker symbol.

Only U.S. companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange can be listed with a single letter ticker symbol. As a result, there is an obvious limited supply of one-character symbols -- only 26!

Of those 26, 20 are currently taken by some familiar names. Citigroup is "C"; Ford Motor Company has "F"; AT&T goes by "T"; and a fairly recent addition to IAS, Visa Inc. uses "V". Some perhaps less well-known companies are also in the club -- Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi SpA is listed as "E"; NetSuite Inc. owns "N"; and Realty Income Corp. trades as "O".

For many years, two of the available single-letter symbols were reserved by the NYSE in the hopes of attracting two special defectors from NASDAQ. It probably isn't too hard to figure out which large technology companies the NYSE wished would occupy the "I" and "M" ticker symbol slots. However, NYSE apparently gave up hopes of bringing Microsoft to its exchange and granted the "M" symbol to Federated Retail Holdings after the company changed its name to Macy's, Inc. in 2007. At this point, "I" is still available for Intel....

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May 5, 2011


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Events Calendar:
First Tuesday of each Month: Toolkit 6 User Group led by Doug Gerlach, ICLUBcentral Inc.

Third Tuesday of each Month: New Investment Club Orientation led by Doug Gerlach, ICLUBcentral Inc.

Doug Gerlach will also be speaking at the following events:

May 13-15, 2011: InvestEd ; San Diego, California

Sept. 15-18, 2011: BetterInvesting National Convention ; Cincinnati, Ohio
Doug Gerlach, Speaker
ICLUBCentral, Presenting

Nov. 10-12, 2011: AAII Investor Conference; Las Vegas, Nevada
Doug Gerlach, Speaker
ICLUBCentral, Presenting

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Like 7-Eleven, we're not always doing business, but we're always open — go to the ICLUB Store and outfit yourself with the simple, yet powerful tools and services that smart investors have been using to grow their portfolios since 1989.

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