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BUAD 341 - Managerial Finance   Tags: buad  

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Learning about your Company

Researching a company and how well that company is performing has three basic components:

  1. Information about the company itself (financial, operational, strategy, philosophy, etc.) ;
  2. Information about the industry and the company's primary competitors (market size, market concentration, barriers to entry, etc.) ;
  3. Information about the general economic or social conditions facing the company and/or industry (issues or conditions that all companies in the industry are experiencing).
From these three basic pieces, you should be able to compare / contrast your company against its primary competitors and standard industry performance metrics.  This will allow you to derive an informed analysis about how well absolutely (example: is profitable / is losing money) or relatively (example: very low ROI compared to competitors or the industry norm) your company is doing.  There is typically no "right" answer; but rather your analysis of the situation should inform your opinion or recommendations about the company.

Basic Company Information

There are a few specific resources that will assist you in getting a basic overview of your company and some preliminary information about its competitors.  This is typically not really in depth reporting, but does allow you to get your bearings about the company you are researching.

  • Ticker Symbol Lookup
    Obtain the ticker symbol for publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange ( NYSE ) and from other exchanges located around the world. Company research is easier if you know the ticker symbol.
  • International Directory of Company Histories
    Entries typically contain 3-10 pages of narrative, major events, sometimes chronological timeline of events, and a short bibliography for further reading.
  • S & P Stock Reports
    Basic overview of a company. Provides quantitative and evaluative commentary, recent highlights, investment rational/risk for the company, brief company overview, very basic financials, and investment opinion (buy/sell/hold).
  • MarketLine / Medtrack Company Profiles
    Basic overview of thousands of companies. Includes major officers, short company history, major themes and competitors along with a SWAT analysis.
  • Company Dossier
    Find basic company information, or use the menu on the left to: Create a Company List, Compare Companies, or to get Company Profiles, or select SEC Filings.

Additional Company Information

  • Business Source Complete  
    The largest and most in-depth business research database available. Contains scholarly research, trade publications, and industry news and reports. Includes books, case studies, company profiles, country reports, industry reports, market research reports, peer reviewed scholarship from more than 2000 journals available in full text, SWOT analysis and thousands of trade publications. Coverage begins in 1886 (yes, 1886).
  • Newspaper Source  
    Access the full-text for more than 400 newspapers and other sources. Includes: USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Times (London); plus transcripts from CNN, National Public Radio, CBS News, Fox News, CNBC, etc.
  • EconLit  
    EconLit provides citations, with selected abstracts, to the international literature on economics since 1969. EconLit covers journal articles, books, and dissertations, as well as articles in collective works, such as conference proceedings and collected essay volumes. In addition, EconLit includes Abstracts of Working Papers in Economics from Cambridge University Press database, and, since 1994, the full-text of the Journal of Economic Literature book reviews.
  • Wall Street Journal ( 1889 - Present )

Company Financial Information

  • COMPUSTAT ( North America )  
    Compustat North America Data is STANDARDIZED according to financial statement presentation and specific data item definitions assuring consistent, comparable data with which to analyze companies and industries. Compustat North America is a database of U.S. and Canadian fundamental and market data.
  • EDGAR : US Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC ) Filings
    The SEC’s EDGAR database provides free public access to AS REPORTED corporate financial information. All public companies (except foreign companies and companies with less than $10 million in assets and 500 shareholders) are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR.
  • Yahoo! Finance : Historical Stock Prices
    Download historical share prices in spreadsheet ready format.

Industry Information

  • North American Industrial Classification System ( NAICS )
    The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
  • BizMiner
    Includes industry financial reports, industry market reports at both the national and regional level, competitive market analysis, and for retail establishments a sales per square foot report and analysis tool. All reports and analysis can be conducted across thousands of different lines of business most readily by 2-4-6 digit NAICS number.
  • S & P Industry Surveys
    Covers major U.S. industries - analyzing operations, highlighting current problems and opportunities and giving valuable insights into upcoming trends. Each industry profile contains information about the current environment, an industry profile, how the industry operates, key ratios and statistics, how to analyze a company, comparative company analysis.
  • MarketLine Advantage ( formerly DataMonitor 360 )

Business Environment

  • Survey of Current Business
    Definitive resource for statistical information (International aspects, National, Regional, Industry) along with explanatory narrative about the current state of the US economy.
  • Current Economic Conditions ( aka, the Beige Book by the Federal Reserve )
    Commonly known as the Beige Book, this report is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. An overall summary of the twelve district reports is also prepared for each report.
  • US Dept of Commerce : Bureau of Economic Analysis : Interactive Data
    This service provide a common means for accessing national, international, regional or industry statistics; print, save or export data / reports; chart the data to make it visually appealing. An excellent resource for determining the general growth of various industries over the last several years.

APA Citation Style


APA Citation Style for COMPUSTAT Reports

General Format:

[Report Name ( [ Version, if applicable] ) for [ Company Name(s) ], [ Data File ], Standard and Poor's.

Retrieved [ Month Day, Year ], from the COMPUSTAT (North America) [ Month/Day/Year ] database.


Annual Cash Flow Statement for Union Pacific Corp. [ Data File ], Standard & Poor's.

Retrieved March 8, 2010, from the COMPUSTAT (North America) 2/18/12 database.

Balance Sheet (5 years with Footnotes & Descs) for International Business Machines Corp, [ Data File ], Standard & Poor's.
Retrieved January 8, 2009, from the COMPUSTAT (North America) 12/28/11 database.

Comparative Common Size Annual Income Statement (Current Period) for Wal-Mart, K-Mart Corp, and Target Corp, [ Data File ], Standard & Poor's.

Retrieved March 6, 2010, from the COMPUSTAT (North America) 2/28/12 database.

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