Company Research Information
Before You Begin
Three things you need to know before you start:
- It is usually easier to find information about publicly owned companies than privately owned ones.
- Generally, it’s easier to find information about corporations as a whole than their subsidiaries or divisions.
- It is usually easier to find information about large, nationally known corporations than about local or regional ones.
- If your company is privately owned:
There may be very little information on your company if it is a small private company, especially a local company. Private companies are not required to report their financial information to the public. The best source of information might be articles in news sources for the city in which the company is located. These will usually be feature stories but probably will not offer much in the way of financial information. The company web site will only highlight what they want you to know so it cannot be considered a complete picture of the company.
- If your company is a subsidiary:
If your company is a subsidiary or a division of a publicly owned corporation, you’ll find information less readily available. For example, the parent corporation is not required to divulge financial information for the separate divisions; therefore, details of the financial status of the subsidiary will be difficult to verify.
- If your company is foreign owned:
An increasing number of foreign companies have established a U.S. division or subsidiary. You may encounter many of the same difficulties as you would in researching a private company.
- If your company is local, regional, or otherwise small in scope:
When seeking information about companies of this kind, the best approach is usually the direct one—talk to the company itself. In this case, however, you’ll want to learn about the company before you speak directly to its representative at your interview. Look for articles in local publications like Business First or The Courier Journal.
What is a ticker symbol?
a ticker symbol is an arrangement of characters (usually letters) representing a particular security listed on an exchange or otherwise traded publicly.
When a company issues securities to the public marketplace, it selects an available ticker symbol for its securities which investors use to place trade orders. Every listed security has a unique ticker symbol, facilitating the vast array of trade orders that flow through the financial markets every day.
Stock symbols are the most recognized type of ticker symbol. Stocks listed and traded on U.S. exchanges such as the NYSE have symbols with up to three letters. Nasdaq-listed stocks have four-letter symbols. (Investopedia)
Ticker Symbol Lookup Resources
Some databases and search tools let you find information about a
company by searching on its ticker symbol. This helps ensure that you
are getting the corrrect company when some companies share similar
names. The following sites will help you locate the ticker symbols for
Quick Company Snapshots
The resources listed below will give you a brief overview of the company's business and financial condition.
- Mergent - Updated weekly. Provides immediate access to data on more than 10,000 NYSE, AMEX, Nasdaq and other select regional exchange companies. Coverage includes: history, business description, properties, subsidiaries, officers, directors, long-term debt, Moody's rating, capital stock, income statement, balance sheet, statements of cash flow and more.
- Lexis-Nexis Academic - Provides access to company financial information, along with over 6,000 full-text publications, including national and regional newspapers, magazines and trade journals, federal and state court cases. Click blue "company' tab at the left of the page and then click on "company dossier". Enter company name or ticker symbol.
- Google Finance - The service features business and enterprise headlines for many corporations including their financial decisions and major news events. Stock information is available, as are Adobe Flash-based stock price charts.
The following databases owned by the W.L. Lyons Brown library will provide both brief and in-depth information on publicly-held companies.
- Datamonitor Reports - Datamonitor Company Profiles are a series of over 10,000 detailed company reports, providing a one-stop source for company and competitor information. Click "Company Profiles" in the right-hand column and search for you company.
- Company Histories - A company's history can be just as relevant as its current stock price. Read all about the development of the world's top companies from Acciona to Zomba. Entries include timelines, lists of principal subsidiaries and competitors, and bibliographies for further reading.
SEC Filings and Annual Reports
- Lexis-Nexis Company Information - Click “Companies” tab at left of page. Select “SEC Filings” at left of page, enter company ticker symbol and change drop down box to "Ticker". Under “Sources”, select either “10K” for complete SEC filing.
- Mergent - Mergent Online includes U.S. company data, archives, annual reports, fact sheets and North American Industry Reports. (enter company name, select “Annual Reports” tab)
- Annual Reports.com - Our Free Service allows users to review an annual report in an easy and convenient manner. Boasting the most complete and up-to-date listings of annual reports on the internet, AnnualReports.com provides instant access to annual reports in their actual format in one single location.
For educated investors, corporate annual reports are the most important research tool available. Annual Reports enable investors to stay up to date on a company's yearly outlook.
What Is An Annual Report?
An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company's activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company's activities and financial performance. Most jurisdictions require companies to prepare and disclose annual reports, and many require the annual report to be filed at the company's registry. Companies listed on a stock exchange are also required to report at more frequent intervals (depending upon the rules of the stock exchange involved).
What Is The SEC?
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (frequently abbreviated SEC) is a federal agency which holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets in the United States.
Databases for Locating Journals, Magazines and News
Use these databases for finding magazine and journal articles.
- Business Source Premier - Business Source® Premier, the industry's most popular business research database, features the full text for more than 2,100 journals. Full text is provided back to 1965, and searchable cited references back to 1998.
- ABI/Inform - For over 35 years ABI/INFORM has set the gold standard for business research. With continuously growing global content, award-winning search technology, and our intelligent, meticulous approach to indexing, ABI/INFORM remains at the forefront―as the industry standard for business research covering all disciplines.
- Lexis-Nexis Academic - LexisNexis Academic provides a full range of credible sources for business information, including business and financial news, U.S. and international company financial information from government or private sources, market research, industry reports, and actual SEC filings. Search features permit comparison of companies based on criteria such as sales, income and number of employees.