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Resources on this page are largely geared toward publicly-traded companies. That said, don't overlook the strategies and resources on the private/non-profit page when researching a public company!
For more help, visit the guides below:
Company search activity: Choose from Mergent Online, Business Source Premier, and Nexis Uni to familiarize self with company information available on these databases.
Industry search activity: Choose one of the databases listed under Industry Reports and locate a report or analysis for the company you located in the previous exercise.
Questions to Consider
Is the company publicly-traded or privately-held? This sets the expectation for how much information is available and where to look.
Does the company exist as a subsidiary or is it owned by another company (parent company)? If it is a subsidiary, it is often helpful to research the parent company as well.
What is the real name of the company? Example: GE versus General Electric. Be aware of this when searching.
If publicly-traded, what is the ticker symbol of the company? Some resources are searchable by ticker symbol.
What industry or industries is your company, product or service classified under? Identify the NAICS or SIC code(s) as some resources are searchable by industry code.
Simplify your research and keep things consistent by FIRST defining your industry by selecting the industry code that classifies your business or service.
You could search by company within the databases and be on the lookout for the NAICS or SIC code. Or, you can search by a keyword that describes a particular product/service using the links below.
Other Databases Worth Mentioning
These two databases also provide company information, but with a stronger focus on finance (stock prices, valuations, etc.)
Find a stock or fund to meet your needs, research current or prospective holdings or see how your investments work together. Morningstar's data reports cover more than 20,000 securities.
Value Line Investment Survey
The Value Line Investment Survey is one of the most widely used independent investment information services in the world. Its up-to-date, weekly issues are a comprehensive reference source. Its coverage is encyclopedic, covering some 1,700 equity issues.
For each stock in its universe, the Value Line Investment Survey offers year-ahead and three- to five-year probable relative price performance, projections of key financial measures, and concise, objective commentary on current operations and future prospects.
The Value Line Investment Survey's main section, "Ratings & Reports," presents full-page, individual stock reports and industry reviews. The "Summary & Index" provides a key to locating the latest quarterly and supplementary reports and cites the most recent data on each of the stocks followed. Finally, "Selection & Opinion," a feature section, gives Value Line's views on the economy and the stock market and on stocks of special interest.
Databases with Company Information
When locating reports and profiles on companies or industries, pay attention to the publication date.
Hoover's Company Profiles (ProQuest)
Hoover's™ Company Profiles, a valuable resource for academic libraries, provides information about companies, industries, and the people who lead them. Featuring profiles of more than 40,000 companies, 600 industries, and 225,000 key executives, Hoover's Company Profiles provides easy access to thorough and up-to-date business information.
Business Source Complete
Business Source Complete is an essential tool for business students. It covers all disciplines of business, including marketing, management, accounting, banking, finance and more. Content includes many full-text journals and topical video content.
Find Industry Reports & More
To supplement company-specific information, get a better sense for the total market by researching the overall industry.
When locating industry reports, pay attention to the 1) publication date, and 2) geography (global, US, India, etc.).
Online Resources (for off-campus access, you will be prompted to login with your SU username and password - same as for Gullnet, MyClasses, etc.)
For Industry Reports: Go to Advanced Search. After entering your search terms, use the options below to limit your Document Type to Industry Report.
Business Source Complete
Start your search using the NAICS code for the industry, or some keywords relating to the industry. Narrow the publication or document type to Industry Profile, Industry Report, or Market Research.
--Select Industry Reports from the Reports tab, then click on "Show more industry reports." You can search for an industry by keyword or browse the available reports. These are limited the US, France, UK, and Germany.
--OR, click on Consumer Markets. Select a market then choose a country from the drop-down menu at the top of the following page. More countries exist here.
Value Line Investment Survey
Check out the Markets tab. You can browse industry and market news, or scroll down to click on "View all industry analyses" to view all reports. Another option is to search directly for a company (using the search field at the top of the screen), then locate the Industry Analysis box on its page. This section will likely have more brief, yet up-to-date commentary.
--To get a different perspective, try using the Browse Research tab, then select an industry from the drop-down menu for "Industry Screens."
Print Resources (in the library)
Industry Surveys by
Call Number: HC106.6 .S74
Publication Date: July 2016 - Present
Most current 2 years kept in Reference Collection (1st floor). This series continues S&P Capital IQ Industry Surveys (Feb. 2013 - Apr. 2016).
Company Research - Key Terms
A report similar to the "Annual Report" but usually containing more details. It is submitted annually by public companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is due within 60 days after the end of the fiscal year. 10-Q is the quarterly report.
An annual document that public companies must provide to their shareholders to describe their operations and financial health. It is often available through the company's website. It is similar to the 10-K but often contains commentary and pictures.
A larger firm that owns or controls subsidiary companies.
Usually owned by the company's founder(s), family, or a small group of private investors. They do not have the same requirements as public companies to file with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The amount of information available on private companies is very limited.
Authorized to sell stock to the general public. They are legally required to file financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and must share information with their shareholders.
A company that is partly of fully owned or controlled by another company (parent company).
An arrangement of characters that represent a publicly traded company.
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Information
The SEC requires that public companies disclose meaningful financial information to the public in order to achieve the concept that all investors, rather they be large institutions or private individuals, have basic information about an investment before they buy it and so long as they hold it. The filings collected by the SEC are searchable through EDGAR.
Filings & Forms (SEC.gov)
"All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Here you'll find links to a complete list of filings available through EDGAR and instructions for searching the EDGAR database."
Next-Generation EDGAR System (SEC.gov)
Search EDGAR for information collected by the SEC. "Since 1934, the SEC has required disclosure in forms and documents. In 1984, EDGAR began collecting electronic documents to help investors get information..."
Important Information About EDGAR (SEC.gov)
"EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)...Not all documents filed with the Commission by public companies will be available on EDGAR..."
Annual Report (SEC.gov)
The annual report to shareholders is the principal document used by most public companies to disclose corporate information to their shareholders. It is usually a state-of-the-company report, including an opening letter from the Chief Executive Officer, financial data, results of continuing operations, market segment information, new product plans, subsidiary activities, and research and development activities on future programs. The Form 10-K, which must be filed with the SEC, typically contains more detailed information about the company’s financial condition than the annual report....