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Google, Citigroup Are Talking, but Are You Listening?: Street Whispers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are many people on Wall Street standing between you and your investments, so it may be time to cut out the middleman and start listening to what your stocks are saying.

Perhaps the easiest and least-utilized method for retail investors to get the real story on their favorite stocks and companies are so-called investor conferences. These get-togethers -- usually held at resort destinations or upscale midtown hotels -- are sponsored by investment banks and targeted at Wall Street research analysts with the goal of serving up management of publicly traded companies to analyst scrutiny.

But while investor conferences cater to big institutional investors, U.S. securities laws dictate that retail investors get to listen to the back and forth, usually via a Web simulcast. That means everyday retail investors get to listen to the unfiltered message of the companies where their retirement is parked for the moment.

With summer gone and Wall Street heading back to the office, the conference "silly season" is kicking off and its a prime opportunity for investors to get the skinny on what management thinks of its prospects for the coming year.

For example, want to know what Google's (GOOG) strategic plans are in detail just a week before the new Apple (UNM) iPhone comes out? You can listen to the search giant give its plans on Thursday during Citigroup's Annual Technology Conference. The Citigroup conference, in particular, includes a wide array of tech stocks, from giant IBM (IBM) to smaller publicly traded companies like photo sharing site Shutterfly (SFLY) to online restaurant recommendation engine Yelp (YELP).

Just a week later, the biggest U.S. banks will offer up their executives at the Barclays Capital's Global Financial Services Conference in New York with Citigroup (C)CEO Vikram Pandit trying to give up some answers about capital returns and Jamie Dimon heir apparent and JPMorgan Chase (IBM) investment bank CEO Jes Staley trying to dodge questions regarding the bank's huge derivatives losses this year.

These are just a few of the big investor conferences coming up with other get-togethers focused on industrials, biotech and retail coming up. While they won't make for electrifying listening, they do offer a rare opportunity for everyday investors to listen management of the biggest stocks they own make their case.

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