Fundamental analysis is one of the foundations of sound, long-term stock investing. The rapid expansion of the Internet has given individual investors easy access to data from company financial statements that aid in this process. A great way to start, or end, your fundamental research is to thoroughly examine the company reports. Numerous websites offer financial statement data, but some investors may instead opt to obtain the official reports that firms are required to file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The first section below briefly discusses comprehensive websites where financial statement data can be found. Following that are short reviews of online sources where you can access the SEC-filed company reports. These documents are more comprehensive and can provide investors with the additional information needed to make a sound investment decision.
For a description of common SEC filings and what they contain, see the June 2011 AAII Journal article “Using SEC Filings to Identify Risk Factors,” an interview with Michelle Leder (available at AAII.com).
SmartMoney.com takes the top spot for financial statement offerings. The website provides annual financial statement data for the past 10 years and quarterly data for the past 15 quarters. It is rare for a comprehensive website to offer such an extended history of financial statement data.
Morningstar.com also offers financial statement data, but they are limited to the previous five periods quarterly and annually. If you subscribe to Morningstar’s premium service, you can access financial statement data for the past 10 quarters and years.
The December 2010 Computerized Investing Online Exclusive discusses the top comprehensive websites in greater detail, with a section on each site and the financial statement data it offers. The article can be found at www.aaii.com/computerized-investing/article/the-top-comprehensive-websites.
The EDGAR database is the official portal for the general public to access SEC-filed corporate reports. The online database stores forms 10-K and 10-Q—which are the annual and quarterly reports, respectively—as well as prospectuses and other periodic reports. Furthermore, EDGAR also provides access to comment and response letters, including press releases, for disclosure filings made after August 1, 2004.
The SEC’s EDGAR database is a robust area with a wealth of information, so efficient searching is vital to finding relevant information. When performing a general search, simply click on Search for Company Filings. You can search by name, ticker, state or SIC code, which is a four-digit industry code used by the SEC. Results can be filtered for time period and filing type.
In the latest filings section, EDGAR lists the most recent reports that it has received. The website also allows you to search the full text of EDGAR filings and attachments for the last four years.
Additionally, each company that files with the SEC has a unique identifier assigned to them. Once you look up the identifier using the company search, you can use it to more quickly locate specific forms.
The reports are offered in HTML format, which allows you to read them online. In most cases, these go back to 1996. Users can receive a paper filing for reports not available online by filling out a request for public documents form. The form is available online and may be faxed, sent through regular mail, or emailed to the SEC.
A tutorial provides direction on how to use the site and explanations of the various searches that can be performed. Within the tutorial section, the current events analysis section allows you to search for all forms of a particular type that have been filed the past five days. In addition, you can access prospectuses and proxy voting records filed for mutual funds and variable annuities.
SEC Info provides full company documents for United States and Canadian stocks. The site is not affiliated with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the Canadian Securities Administrators. Along with 10-Ks and 10-Qs, company reports provided include initial public offering (filings, merger and acquisition filings, tender offer filings, insider trading reports, institutional ownership reports and proxy filings.
In addition to searching for the company name, SEC Info allows you to search by industry, business, SIC code, date and location. Full company documents are kept back to 1994. A quick search of ExxonMobil yielded 1,322 SEC filings from March 4, 1994, through May 4, 2011.
The IPO section is particularly useful; however, to access this area of the website, you must create an account. SEC Info allows users to sort company filings by most recent IPO filing. The most recent IPO filings going back one year are listed on the website, along with articles of incorporation and legality opinions. Similarly, the website allows users to sort for merger and acquisition filings, insider trading reports institutional ownership reports and proxy filings. Each section includes filings going back one year.
SEC Info also features a section that shows your most recently viewed pages. Separate user information and help sections provide you with the ability to familiarize yourself with the website.
AnnualReports.com provides investors with free access to company annual reports. The website navigation is extremely user-friendly, but the information provided is not as comprehensive as that found at SEC Info or the SEC’s EDGAR database, since it does not offer other types of reports. However, a downloadable PDF version of the annual report is available for each filing.
A unique feature of this site, and one we find particularly valuable, is the ability to search by sector and exchange. This allows investors who want to focus on outperforming sectors to do top-down analysis instead of starting at the individual company level.