Sources of Data
The first step in any stock analysis is to acquire the necessary data. At least three to five years of a company's operating history is required in order to ascertain management trends, while a full ten years is recommended in order to capture economic trends as well. There are very few sources of fundamental data that are available to individual investors on an affordable basis.
- BetterInvesting's online stock selection tools, SSG Plus and CoreSSG, include historical data for all North American equities that trade on major exchanges. This high quality data comes from Morningstar's institutional data service and includes up to ten years of income statement and balance sheet data.
- StockCentral.com's online SSG-based stock analysis tool, Take Stock, includes Morningstar data for North American companies, and its accompanying company reports offer annual and quarterly data tables for covered companies.
- Many companies conveniently provide a ten-year financial summary in their annual reports. These summaries will often (but unfortunately not often enough) include all the data necessary to complete an SSG. Increasingly, companies are publishing their annual reports on the Web.
- All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR Anyone can access and download this information for free.
Value Line Investment Survey
- The Value Line Investment Survey follows 1,700 stocks, updating
each company on a quarterly basis in a full-page format that provides complete information about a company's history and current status, and
its potential growth over the next five years. Value Line is available by subscription You may also find Value Line at your local library, or your broker may provide copies of reports for companies in which you are interested. An "Expanded Edition" provides data (but no analysis) of an additional 3,500 companies.