JustQuotes and DailyStocks supply a remarkable list of links for stocks you enter including quotes, graphs, fundamental information, earnings, searches, etc. Hoovers and Wall Street Research Net (WSRN) Research A Company also provide a list of links for the company you select including graphs, quotes, and EDGAR fillings. EDGAR filings are also now available from FreeEdgar which makes same day filings available. Some other sources of company information include the following.
- Stock Screener from Hoovers is one of many stock screening tools. You can screen stocks by more than 20 criteria.
- Risk View
- RCM Financial
- Peerscape RR from Deloitte & Touche has a database over 7,000 extensive company reports and industry comparisons.
- News Alert - Search for news about companies and industries.
- Market Guide offers one page "snapshots" as well as graphs, quotes, and news.
- Earnings estimates can be found at Zack's.
- Wright Investors' Service has profiles on 13,000 companies in 38 countries.
- You can search for both public and private companies web pages at CompaniesOnline. Home pages of companies with web sites will also normally be included in link lists from WSRN.
- See Ibbotson Associates' Investment Research via the Internet (96)
Financial statements are like fine perfume; to be sniffed but not swallowed.
Financial Statements are useful because they provide information which allows investors and creditors to make better decisions. However, because of selective reporting of economic events as well as noncomparable accounting methods and estimates, financial statements are only an approximation of reality. In addition, because of the tendency to delay accounting recognition, financial statements also tend to lag reality. A primary objective of financial analysis is to determine comparable risk and return of companies and their securities. Financial statements include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Cash Flow Statement. The financial statements are interrelated and should be used and analyzed together. Footnotes are a critical element and should be thoroughly examined (in other words, do a lot of sniffing). There are many ways in which management can "manipulate" earnings. An example is "income smoothing" which refers to depressing earnings in good years (typically through deferred gains or recognition of losses) and inflating earnings in bad years (typically through recognition of gains and deferring losses). Differences in accounting methods can cause wide differences in comparability among individual companies, industries, and countries. Keep in mind that the financial reporting system in the United States is the most complex in the world. If you plan on doing your own research of financial statements you should be prepared and educated in analysis and reconciliation of the following areas.
- Income recognition methods
- completed contract method
- installment method
- cost recovery method
- Tax issues including deferred taxes and tax rates
- Inventory methods
- FIFO (first-in, first-out)
- LIFO (last-in, first-out)
- weighted average cost
- Capitalization vs. Expensing
- Capital vs. Operating Leases
- Depreciation methods
- Pension Plans
- Accumulated Benefit Obligation (ABO) and Projected Benefit Obligation (PBO)
- Defined Contribution vs. Defined Benefit
- Off-Balance-Sheet (OBS) Financing. OBS transactions typically involve hedges of assets and/or liabilities regarding interest rate or currency exposure and commonly involve accounts receivable or inventories. The ability to evaluate the effects of OBS transactions is constrained by lack of disclosure and in some cases the absence of reporting requirements.
- Analysis of intercorporate Investments.
- Cost method - generally below 20% ownership with no significant influence
- Equity method - 20% - 50% with significant influence
- Consolidation - 50% and up with control
- Joint Ventures
- Purchase vs. Pooling accounting for business combinations
- Translation vs. remeasurement for multinational operations
Last, but certainly not least, keep in mind that firms' performance (and financial statements) over time can also be significantly complicated by inflation.
If the preceding is completely foreign to you, you may want to think twice about basing your investment decisions on your own research. Before venturing into the Analyst's world you might also want to read about the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which questions whether fundamental analysis (analyzing company financial information) is of any value.For more on financial statements you can go to
You can also read about accounting shenanigans at the Center For Financial Research & Analysis. For some in depth analysis of earnings management regarding IPOs and Seasoned Equity Offerings, see these academic papers (in Adobe Acrobat format) by Ivo Welch.
- Pick a number, any number by Bernard Condon in Forbes (3/23/98).
- The Earnings Illusion, You're Not Invited, and If the Numbers Look Fishy, Here's the Man to Call from Fortune (4/26/99)
- Ebitda: Never Trust Anything That You Can't Pronounce by Herb Greenberg in Fortune (6/22/98)
- Learn to Play The Earnings Game (and Wall Street Will Love You) from Fortune (3/31/97)
- Taking the Lies Out of Earnings from Worth magazine (2/97)
- Valuing Companies: An Introduction to Financial Analysis from FreeEDGAR.
One of the benefits of the internet is that it saves investors and companies time and money by allowing information to be distributed quickly and inexpensively electronically. Its likely that you'll be able to find most if not all the information your seeking (previously available only by snail mail) via the internet. However, if you want to supplement the information that you can find online with hard copies you can call the companies' "Investor Relations" department (many of the links included here list companies' phone numbers) and ask them to send you any or all of the following.
You can also request that you be placed on the firms mailing and/or fax list. You can also order annual reports from PRARS or by calling 800-4-annual.
- Annual Report.
- Quarterly reports.
- Proxy Statement - which gives officers salaries, stock ownership, and stock option information.
- recent press releases.
- analysts reports if they disseminate them.
Many personalized services provide quotes, news, charts and other information based on your preferences. Some also offer portfolio tracking if you input transaction prices. Many Brokers with internet services also provide personalized information.
- Microsoft Investor. Great graphics. News icon will show if there is any news that day for your stocks. Better if you use Microsoft Explorer.
- My Yahoo. Gives quotes, news, sports, weather, etc., all on one page and you can click on symbols for background and recent news.
- If you prefer to get news, quotes and other information by Email, you can sign up for InfoBeat (via Netscape's in box direct if you use Navigator) where you can get free quotes, which include news stories, and/or a number of other free email services.
- Pointcast Network and a number of other providers will "push" news, quotes, advertising, and other information to you based on information you supply them. You usually need to download the software which will pull the information from the internet and activate as a screen savor when your not working (works best if you have a live internet connection rather than a dial-up account).
Last update 6/1/99. Copyright © 1999 Investor Home. All rights reserved. Disclaimer