Let’s talk about ASX

Pub: Sydney Morning Herald
Pubdate: Wednesday 09th of August 2000
Edition: Late
Section: Money
Page: 15
Wordcount: 560
Let’s talk about ASX
cyber tour
Cotton Ward
With its timely bulletins, online forums and easy-to-navigate Web design, OZeStock is a good place for beginner investors to start researching, provided you don’t mind a little smut. Cotton Ward reports.

OZeStock’s Web site banner claims it is "the hub of Aussie investor discussion". To promote this, the site (at ozestock.com.au) is free and offers live stock quotes, ASX company announcements, company profiles, a free email account and discussion boards.

There are market editorials, as well as information on upcoming floats and professional financial market summaries from sources such as S&P ComStock (real-time stock quotes), AAP (news and market editorials) and ASX company announcements. Editorial content is provided by Editor.com and Cyberstox.com.au

The only catch is that you have to register if you want live quotes, and you have to promise to truthfully give your home address and real name, as an ASX requirement. Disappointingly for an Australian site, it asks for your "zip" rather than your "post code".

Money filled in two pages of details that included salary, net worth, age and frequency of share trades. The lowest number of trades available was "three or fewer" a month. This was presumably an attempt to encourage frequent trading and not in keeping with the site’s image as a haven for novice investors.

But the site did promise that Money wouldn’t be bombarded with unsolicited advertising.

An hour later, OZeStock sent an email to confirm registration and recommended a visit to the site to activate membership. Money was then able to log on to the home page, enter a stock quote and click on "real-time". The quote appeared instantly, along with the five most-recently posted messages and five most recent ASX company announcements.

A sensible warning, that "users might use the noticeboard for personal gain and you should approach postings with appropriate scepticism", appeared. It was hard not to be sceptical when contributors have names such as Maykamint, Sillybilly, DaveO and Indolence.

When reviewed, most of the discussion was along the lines of: "Does anyone know when’s a good time to jump on again?" And the replies were usually, "Yes, I’d include this one in my retirement portfolio", or "Let’s wait and see".

There appeared to be relevant information, such as this comment about a mining company: "They’ve struck diamonds but cannot mine them yet [as it’s raining too heavily]."

Bluff or bonanza? You decide. The message board has an "ignore" option, so you can censor the discussions and navigate your way through your favourite boards and track favourite members.

An excellent feature is the "most active message boards" graph, which also shows whether there has been a relevant ASX announcement in the past 72 hours.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular board was the SEX forum (this is the ASX code for Sharon Austen, an erotic products business). "I love SEX" gives you an idea of the level of discussion.

Overall, the site is pleasantly designed and easy to navigate. Download times were quick when visited.

OZeStock.com.au has obviously analysed other successful financial sites and wisely included many of their best features on this site.

And the biggest bonus is that entry is free, so it’s an ideal spot for beginners.

Illus: Quick click … the OZeStock Web site is fast, uncomplicated and, best of all, entry is free.

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