Never listen to rumors, tips, or insideinformation when considering a stockpurchase. Always be wary of this information,whether it comes from a physiciancolleague, friend, or your favoritefinancial columnist. Many an investor hasgone down in financial flames thanks to a"hot tip." Rely on sounder methods forpicking portfolio gems. Before investing,always check into a company's stock performance.Investor homework: Alwaysobtain and read a company's prospectusand annual report. The easy road ofrumors and inside tips can never replacepersonally checking the dynamics thatproduce the stock's gain or loss.