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Buying Just the Right Stock

Use these watch lists to avoid the itchy trigger finger.

The worst enemy of sound investing is emotion. When the stock market is soaring--whether it's 1999 or the middle of 2003--it's tough to resist the temptation to jump on the bandwagon and buy what's hot. Who wants to get left behind?

To guard against the emotional sway of the crowd, savvy investors build up a mental database of companies they know really well. By reading the annual reports, studying the financials, and learning what drives the stock up and down, you can become an expert on any company. Once you limit yourself to a set list of companies to invest in, you won't make the mistake of buying into the latest fad--which almost always means investing in stocks you know little about.

Periodically, we publish watch lists to help you monitor great companies. Below, I've updated five of these watch lists. To monitor the stocks or funds on any of the lists broken out below, simply: