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First Quarter 2014
For individual and professional investors alike, one of the best sources of company information is Securities and Exchange Commission filings. An SEC filing is a financial statement or other formal document submitted to the SEC by public companies, certain company insiders and broker-dealers.
There are a large number of SEC filings that investors should be interested in. The most useful ones for individual investors are Forms 10-K (annual statements) and 10-Q (quarterly reports). The best way to find these reports, if they are not available through the company website, is through the SEC’s EDGAR Web page at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.
EDGAR is the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system and, according to its Web page, “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. Its primary purpose is to increase the efficiency and fairness of the securities market for the benefit of investors, corporations and the economy by accelerating the receipt, acceptance, dissemination and analysis of time-sensitive corporate information filed with the agency.”
What to Look for
The Form 10-K is the annual report that all public firms must file with the SEC, generally within 75 days of their fiscal year end. This is a comprehensive report that goes over the company’s business, risks, competition, distribution and customers, along with other relative information. It will also include financial statements and a management discussion and analysis. If you want to learn about a company, this should be the first place you look.
Which sites will keep you informed about company actions and earnings forecasts.