On the Internet: Tracking Company Webcasts
by CI Staff
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Tracking Company Webcasts
The Internet has given investors numerous resources for security research. More and more companies are offering webcastson-line broadcastsof shareholder meetings, quarterly and annual earnings releases, company announcements, press releases and much more. One advantage to investors is the added benefit of transparency. Whether or not you can make it to the annual shareholder meeting, chances are you can hear the outlook from company management. Earnings release conference calls that were at one time available to only a small group of key people, are now available to the average investor.
Having access to upper level managements concerns, forecasts and opinions allows investors to get a clearer picture of where the company may be headed. Financial statements only reveal a portion of a companys prospects and are delayed for multiple months. Conference calls are timely and managers will address current issues the company is facing. Calls can help current investors monitor the company while prospective investors can gain additional insight into company fundamentals prior to committing investment dollars.
A handful of Web sites organize all of these conference calls, broadcasts and media resources in easy-to-navigate sites. Key features from sites of this kind include a calendar of events with upcoming, live and archived events, the ability to monitor specific companies, and E-mail alerts. Some sites have video capabilities, multiple media player choices and search engines to easily locate the event you are looking for. All but one site mentioned here offers the services for free.
Since the sites creation in 1997, BestCalls has listed over 500,000 conference calls for individual investors. The site was created when its founder, Mark Coker, was frustrated by trying to gain access to the conference call of a company whose stock he owned. He found that many of these calls were not open to individual investors. BestCalls.com took a step toward opening the line of communication between individual shareholders and multi-million dollar companies. Today, most publicly traded companies offer their earnings conference calls to the public.
BestCalls.com acts like a TV Guide for conference call webcasts. A short list of upcoming calls on the homepage details the company name, ticker, date and time of the call, whether or not it is live or a replay, and the type of call. A longer list of upcoming calls can be viewed by clicking more at the bottom of the chart. Also on the home page is a list of recent archived calls with any relevant data and a link to listen. Click more and you can listen to over 5,500 archived calls. Only CallTracker subscribers have access to the calls. The calls are played via RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. You can also purchase transcripts of the calls for $49 each.
Subscribers can track an unlimited number of companies in a CallTracker portfolio. E-mail alerts can be customized and sent when an event is nearing. You can choose to receive alerts at various times from 30 days prior up to the day of the event. The site also links to Reuters for individual company information.
Non-subscribers can search the site for calls via ticker symbol or company name. Archived and upcoming calls are organized with links to each call. A glossary of conference call terms and various helpful how-to guides can be found in the Resources section of the site. A subscription to CallTracker costs $49.95 per year.
Business Week Online
Unlike BestCalls.com, Business Week Online is a comprehensive Web site whose offerings run the gamut from mutual fund data and stock screening strategies to articles from Business Week magazine. To access webcast data, you must enter a company ticker symbol, and then choose Events Calendar from the left menu bar. The site does not list all events in one table.
Events are ordered by date with any upcoming calls at the top. Events include earnings conference calls and other important company announcements. You cant listen to all of the calls and the older the call, the less likely you are able to access it. Overall, the site offers free access to recent conference calls for bigger companies, usually by linking to the company Web site. Smaller or lesser-known companies often have no available calls.
Earnings.com is powered by Thomson StreetEvents, a division of Thomson Financial. The sites Events Calendar lists webcasts, earnings releases, conference calls, stock splits, IPOs, dividends and economic events. Each day, a short list of highlighted events is shown for each category.
You can search the site by date, then event type or by company name. Each list is in alphabetical order by company name with related data displayed. Webcast lists show the ticker symbol and company name, event title, the time of the release, a link to listen to the webcast and a link to download a PDF file that contains a transcript and a brief of the webcast. (In order to view PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. A free download of the software is available at www.adobe.com). Each transcript or brief costs $49. To purchase both, you pay $79. Transcripts and briefs are not available for all webcasts.
All webcasts are provided for free and are played via a media player through the site. Clicking on the company name links you to a list of upcoming and archived events for that company. The site also offers a list of upcoming and archived earnings releases with estimates, actual earnings and comparison numbers. Stock splits and dividend payments are also tracked and archived on the site.
Investor Calendar is powered by Vcall, a webcaster of official investor relations events. The site offers free access to live and archived corporate communications including earnings conference calls, analyst conference calls, shareholder meetings, merger announcements, industry forums, IPO roadshows, press conferences and product announcements.
The sites homepage organizes webcasts by date, then time. The table can show times in various time zones including Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.
The Calendar section of the site lists upcoming calls for the day, week or month, based on your preference. Clicking on a company name will link to the call information. The date and time of the upcoming or archived call is listed and there is a link to listen via Windows Media Player or Real Audio. You can also read any press releases regarding the call, if available. In addition, a short company summary is provided along with a link to recent earnings data including estimates, actual earnings and comparison numbers. Free annual reports are available for most companies via PDF download or snail mail.
Investor Calendar can alert you via E-mail about upcoming calls for specified companies. Select calls and webcasts are made available through podcasts, file downloads for on-demand playback. Once a podcast is downloaded you can listen to it via various media players, many of which are free, and you can add it to your portable media player, such as an iPod or other MP3 player. The site offers links to five free media players for download. You can subscribe to podcasts in industries that interest you. Subscribing allows the podcast to be automatically downloaded when it is posted.