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Something All Investors Must Do During Earnings Season

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I know people -- non-gamblers, non-fantasy football geeks -- who record their favorite football team's game on Sunday and break down the tape during the week.

While I have been known to obsess over the Toronto Maple Leafs -- taking cross-continent red eye flights to games and such -- I have never put that much work into being a fan.

Galavanting to Toronto to see the Leafs makes up just one part of a larger travel experience.

Some sports fans, however, take on the role of assistant coach. They study tape between games.

Imagine investing that much time, energy, work ethic and passion into your portfolio. Imagine the places you could take yourself and your family.

The NHL lockout made me realize that, even though I don't wear a whistle around my neck and scream at the TV set, I was spending time on hockey that I could have been spending on investing.

Why feed the fire for other millionaires when I can be one myself?

The information you need has never been more accessible.

Of all the resources, there's nothing better than earnings conference calls. If you're not listening to these things and breaking them down like game tape -- reading between the lines -- you're not really investing.

Lots of investors dog conference calls.

There is an often long-and-drawn-out segment where the bean counter relays a bunch of numbers (often, you can learn a thing or two). On occasion, you get a CFO worthy of your time (see, e.g., Peter Oppenheimer at Apple (AAPL)).

It's the qualitative stuff that captures me, though. That's where I get most of my value.

Listening to the tone of an executive's voice. Identifying or confirming themes across several calls from the same or different companies.

Consider big media.

Over the last few days, we had several key reports, including announcements from News Corp (NWSA - Get Report), Time Warner (TWX - Get Report), CBS (CBS - Get Report) and Disney (DIS - Get Report).

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
CBS $59.60 -1.70%
DIS $104.86 -0.03%
NFLX $411.21 -1.30%
NWSA $16.01 0.00%
TWX $82.66 -2.10%

Markets

DOW 17,678.23 -97.89 -0.55%
S&P 500 2,057.64 -10.25 -0.50%
NASDAQ 4,863.3310 -37.5540 -0.77%

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