My dad had lots of tools and he often had hammers in multiple places in the home. He also had multiple types of hammers. Some hammers are good for pounding nails, others, like the tack hammer have a specific purpose. I also like tools and have many different types of hammers: nail hammers, tack hammers, rubber mallets, wood mallets and various sledge hammers.

In the world of investing, having the right tool can help you get the job done. For the next several Thursdays I plan to talk about the tools I use for investing.

One of the most helpful tools is called Weiss Ratings. Weiss is a good resource because they don’t allow companies to influence their rating. They use data. Much like the grades I received in school, they grade stocks as A, B, C, D or E. Each of these as a meaning for the investor. In addition, you can add stocks, ETF’s and mutual funds to a watch list. When the rating changes (up or down) for any of your watchlist items, you get an email that tells you about the change.

Generally speaking, I only buy stocks that have a rating of B- or better and ETF’s that have a rating of C or better. However, I like the rating tools on the Fidelity Investments web site for ETFs. Next week I will talk about those tools.

Link to Weiss Ratings:



Link to Weiss Rating Definitions: