Researching and analyzing stocks has never been easier. Below is a rather comprehensive list and detail of the most popular resources for equity research and analysis. Many of these resources are available to any investor and free of charge at the local library or online. Other services require an escalating subscription fee, depending on how interested an individual is in supplementing the free ones.

Publicly Available and Free Resources

The first thing to note is that it is entirely possible to thoroughly analyze a stock without paying a dime to get to a sound investment conclusion. Publicly traded companies are required to register with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), and in general they do a great job of providing these SEC filings on their websites, along with other highly useful information about their operations. The SEC website is also highly valuable and relays the filings that companies make public to anyone interested in accessing them online. Additionally, numerous other government sites are chock full of information, as well as government affiliates such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Below is a highlight of some of the more valuable free resources available.

The vast majority of public companies, especially the larger ones in the mid- and large- market capitalization range (number of shares outstanding multiplied by the current stock price), provide some of the best resources to research and analyze their operations. Let’s look at Walgreens as an example. Most individuals are probably aware that Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) is one of the largest drugstore operators in the United States and maintains a website to sell the products also available at its stores. Fewer are likely aware that valuable “Company Information” is posted at the bottom of its retail site (www.walgreens.com). Under this company information is a link entitled “Investor Relations.” Again, nearly every public company will have a similar link on its website. Below is a screen shot from the Walgreens site:

walgreens screenshot

Walgreens provides a detailed company overview, information about its stock and more basic general information, as well as the option to request a hard copy of its most recent reports. The more valuable links, all of which can be found on the left side of its investor relations site, include its financial information and direct links to all of its SEC filings, which we will cover in more detail below. The news and events tab for companies frequently goes unnoticed to investors and usually includes written and recorded versions of a company's presentations at investment conferences.


Next: Popular Resources for Equity Research and Analysis: Chapter 2: The SEC Website »

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