Researching a company can seem like a daunting task at first, but is actually not that difficult, and the best part is, it's free! Company information is available online from a wide variety of sources, such as the Bloomberg and CNBC websites.
Open your Internet browser, and go to the CNBC website.
Enter the company ticker symbol in the box just below the "Real-Time Quotes" tab at the top of the page. If you don't know the ticker symbol for a company, click on the "Symbol Lookup" tab just right of the "Real-Time Quotes" tab.
Navigate across the tabs under the company name and click on the "Profile" tab. Read the information under the "Company Details" heading to learn what the company does.
Navigate to the "News" tab and click on it. A list of headlines involving the company will appear. These headlines can include earnings releases, lawsuits, analyst ratings and more.
Navigate to the "Financials" tab and click on it. Three financial statements will appear: Balance Sheet, Incomes Statement and Cash Flow Statement. Navigate to the bottom of the statements to see whether the numbers on the statements are in thousands or millions.
Scroll down the balance sheet. This statement will list the value of company assets (what it owns) and liabilities (what it owes).
Click on the "Income Statement" tab in the "Financials" section. This statement provides details on the company revenues and expenses. Use this statement to compare expenses from one period to the next, and to see which types of expenses are the highest.
Click on the "Cash Flow Statement" tab in "Financials" section. This section displays the company's cash situation, also known as liquidity. This can be influenced by how quickly the company gets paid, and by how much it borrows.
Click on the "Peers" tab. Check the "S&P 500" box to compare the stock performance with that of the S&P 500. Locate the list of competitors under the chart, and check the box next to each company to compare that stock price to that of the company you are researching.
Click on the "Advanced Charts" tab under the comparison chart. Use the chart to view the stock price history. This can help you decide whether to buy now or wait for the price to come down.
If you need a list of companies to research, Amazing Stocks is a helpful place to start. It is a free site, and provides several lists of company stocks to research.
Register with the CNBC site, the Bloomberg site or with FreeStockCharts. Registration is free, and allows you the opportunity to create a virtual portfolio. The portfolio feature allows you to monitor several stocks at once.
When you view the financial statements, keep in mind that numbers in parentheses represent negative numbers. For example, net income in parentheses represents a net loss.
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