Analytics

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tutorial: Looking up Financial Filings on sec.gov

This week is a two-fer!  First, a tutorial for beginners followed by a more advanced article.

Every publicly traded company is obliged to publish their financial statements on at least an annual basis.  On some exchanges, they are required to publish quarterly results as well.  This means, especially with American companies, that every 3 months you need to set your calendar to remind you to pick up the most recently quarterly report of the company, and every year you need to pick up the annual report for perusal.  These forms are known as the 10-Q and the 10-K respectively.  You can find these documents on the company websites, usually under a tab like "Investor Relations," but for convenience sake, if you are looking at American companies I recommend going to The SEC and downloading what you need directly from there.  Their main page should look something like this:


Click on the "Search for Company Filings" link and follow it to this page:


Click on the highlighted "Company or fund name, ticker symbol etc. etc." line.

Finally, this will come up:


Now, don't just plug in the company name in the company name field.  Perhaps 60% of the time, if you do simply write the company name, you will come up with exactly what you are looking for. However, remember that when you are looking to invest in a company, make sure you are investing in the right companyYou can confirm whether or not it is the right company by always using the same Ticker Symbol, which will always be unique to your investment.

A quick illustration of what I mean:  If you do a search for "Pepsi," it will come up with the following corporations: Pepsi Bottling Group, Pepsi Americas Inc, Pepsi-Cola (Bermuda) Ltd, Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc., and so on.  If you are looking to invest in Pepsi, ticker symbol PEP, and you start examining the financial statements of Pepsi Bottling Group, it is like comparing apples to oranges.  At best, it will waste your time, at worst you will buy stock in a company you know nothing about!

So save yourself some heartache, identify which companies you want to invest in, and find out their ticker symbols-- then use the ticker symbol to look up financial data you need on sec.gov.

1 comment:

  1. SEC.com is a excellent place to go for 10K'S and 10q"s

    ReplyDelete