Just as you watch for unexpected changes in your mutual funds, watch even more closely for changes in your companies. Because mutual funds are collections of stocks, changes happen more slowly. But with individual stocks, things can shift quickly. You'll need to monitor your stocks more closely and frequently than you monitor your mutual funds.
You want your stocks to meet the same investment criteria today as they did when you first bought them. You set out your investment criteria in your Investment Policy Statement, and you should hold your stocks to those criteria. If they no longer meet your criteria, do they still belong in your portfolio?
If you haven't developed your investment criteria or created your Investment Policy Statement, review Portfolio 108 and download Morningstar's Investment Policy Statement Worksheet at http://news.morningstar.com/pdfs/Investment_Policy_Worksheet.pdf. (Note: The worksheet is available as a PDF file. You will need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader to view and print it.)
Just because an investment no longer meets one of your criteria is no reason to sell it. But you should put it on your "to watch" list. And if a stock no longer clears most of your hurdles, it is a sell candidate. (We'll talk more about selling in upcoming courses.)
You can monitor your portfolio with e-mail alerts, such as those offered by Morningstar.com. Such alerts will notify you when there's news about your stocks, if there's a dividend paid or earnings announcement, and dozens more events.
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