I would not by any means call myself an ‘investor’ although I do have a few hundred pounds invested in relatively high risk penny shares that I like to monitor more for fun than financial gain.Over the past few months there is one site that I’ve found myself heading back to over and over again and that is the website for the Financial Times (www.ft.com)

Since it is such a useful resource and as there may be people reading who take the stock market far more seriously than myself I thought I’d take the time this week to discuss exactly what advantages this site could offer you.I’ll focus on the free areas of the site rather than the subscription areas and first and foremost has got to be the stock quote engine which gives you up to the minute reports (well, it’s updated 4 times an hour) of the current trading price of a company as well as tools to allow you to easily chart that stock price over time.

Whilst charting your stock price you can also check consensus reports as to how the company is currently performing and how it is expected to perform in the future as well as having access to usually a couple of free analyst reports.Of course the site also acts as a news feed for individual stocks and shares as well as the broader UK and International markets with the usual business implications on absolutely anything that happens in the real world that we have grown to expect from the Financial Times.

There is a jobs and classified section; personally I discovered a rather nice position on £90,000 + car and benefits that caught my eye but that’s a different story altogether.This jobs section is of course searchable and would form a good starting point for anyone with executive qualifications or aspirations.

Some of this material is far too detailed to be available completely free of charge and so there is a system set up whereby you can access certain news material, services and information via subscription based model and also the larger reports can be obtained for a one off price; For example, the Datamonitor report on Telewest PLC is available for download for £37.00.

Ultimately this covers of the main areas of the site but if you take a moment to visit it you will find many other small features that you may find of particular interest and since the site is primarily free of charge, anyone with the slightest interest in business should take a look whether for educational purposes or whether they are looking to invest.

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.