My personal portfolio right now consists of quite a few different mutual funds, focusing on raw materials and energy mainly at the moment because it seems to have to most room for growth in the near future. I also have a couple of solid bond funds that while they might not have the most amazing growth potential, they are really safe, and they seem to be averaging around an 8% return long term. I "lucked out" with a Chinese based fund that I had researched and liked a lot and so far has returned me about 10% in just 3 weeks. I say lucked out because even though it was an intelligent decision on my part, any expert will tell you intelligence and research can mean almost nothing sometimes.
I also picked up a few nuclear related stocks like CCJ, DNN, and CBLI due to the Japanese situation and the current complete collapse of the nuclear stocks for literally no reason whatsoever. Nuclear isn't going anywhere in the near future. But I'm definitely looking long on those, as they still show no sign of immediate recovery. CBLI, however, is looking really hot.
I am looking at things like shorting and finding some good dividend stocks to pick up, but I am a little paranoid about investing heavily in some of the major companies like google because little crap like your CEO saying the wrong thing can tank stock like noones business. http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/page-tanks-google-stock-130713
In other news, now is a great time to pick up some google stock. :-p
I use Fidelity because they have a very user friendly site, are competitively priced, and have really good customer service, as well as very solid research tools.
So, TL, how is your investing going, and what do you look for?
So far, my advice for beginners.
1. Penny stocks, foreign exchange, and day trading do not exist. Seriously, don't even consider it.
2. Do your research. Before buying anything not a really safe fund/stock(read Bond/S&P500 based based funds, giant "too big to fail" companies like Verizon(VZ) or J&J) do a crap ton of research. No impulse buys unless its something you're already familiar with and it just took a dump for some silly reason. For example, my CBLI(Cleveland BioLabs) buy was a stock that I had been looking at for a while, and it took a huge unwarranted jump right after the Japan quake, which was followed by a giant drop when people realized they were being stupid. I took advantage of the sudden drastic drop to jump in....and 3 weeks later, I've sold with a 10% return. Win.
3. Balance. For every serious speculation buy, invest 3 times that in something safer.