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BEST DATA MILL
A trove of company and market data, with a mix of free and paid research reports from some 200 sources. The Advanced Search button lets you specify industry or research provider. The Headlines section provides a summary of the day's news; read one capsule, and you will get a scrolling series of news briefs about the same company going back weeks or months, while the menu bar provides links to other company info. Biggest complaint: too many pop-up ads.
Access every corporate sec filing (10Ks, 10Qs, proxy statements, etc.) going back years, or find out about upcoming ipos.
A quick-reference resource for succinct corporate profiles, company news and financials, all free. Paid subscribers get access to more in-depth info on public and private companies.
Elegant sterling-silver gifts for special clients. Blue Nile specializes in the luxe life, but there are plenty of items under $100 too. Prices include shipping.
This beautifully illustrated site sets the standard for online gift giving. Forget someone? There's a selection of Express Gifts available for next-day delivery.
When you're stumped for a gift idea, head here for suggestions in dozens of categories, from "Loves Their Car" to "Wants a Little Peace & Quiet." The site will also link you to where to buy.
BEST ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE
A great way to enter the wild, wonderful world of blogs: online diaries exploring everything from comic books to medicine, posted by articulate, occasionally obsessive Web travelers. Browse by category (the site counts 88 business-related blogs), or submit one of your own.
Tired of struggling to improve your game? Embrace your awfulness with others who share your pain. Linked to this website's lighthearted articles are extensive product reviews and guides to golf courses across the country from its parent site, TravelGolf.com.
No one to play with? Connect with thousands of people seeking partners for chess, backgammon, bridge and other games. Unlike many other online gaming sites, Pogo is free, and its well-designed games are the handiwork of Electronic Arts, the wizards behind The Sims and Madden NFL.
npr.org/programs/wesun/puzzle Missed the Sunday word puzzle on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition? You can find it here, along with the solution and archives of previous challenges. The past month's puzzles are transcribed on the site; for earliereditions, you will need RealAudio software to listen to the archives.
Managing Your Portfolio
Last decade, ETrade was a champion of online stock trading; today, while still letting you do trades on the cheap, it's a financial superstore with style, revamped and reorganized to provide a full array of banking and investing services. Users can open a checking or brokerage account, pay household bills, apply for home-equity loans, even get car-insurance quotes. In another twist, the site has built a bricks-and-mortar presence, opening personal-service locations in dozens of SuperTarget retail stores.
Download the free Deluxe Portfolio Manager, input ticker symbols and other data, and presto!--you have a snapshot of your holdings. Monitor stocks, mutual funds, bonds and other investments. The site earns extra points for working seamlessly with Microsoft's Excel program.
The Motley Fool
Giddy investors flocked to this site during the bull market, but it's proving useful in a bear market too. Staff-monitored discussion boards are great for gossip hounds, though these days you have to pay to play ($29.95 a year). The site also features lively staff-written commentary on the day's financial news.
A perennial favorite, with its free, user-friendly planning and management tools. Check out the refinancing, retirement and tax calculators. Set up a personal Watchlist and My Finances page to get customized stock quotes, news and alerts. The stock screener (click the Brokerage tab and look under Quotes & Research) is particularly useful.
If you'd rather conduct more technical stock market analysis, this site is for you. The free tools quickly generate stock charts to your specifications, and you can drag, draw, slide and zoom in on the data to your heart's content.
Still the fastest, easiest way to check up on specific stocks. A ticker-symbol search pulls up the day's trading activity, plus links to charts, a company profile, research reports for sale, recent sec filings, buy-sell recommendations and more. On the personal-finance side, Yahoo Money Manager charts your net worth and helps you stick to a budget; Savings Finder shops for deals on bank accounts, credit cards and other products and services.