Once you have found some companies that ‘potentially’ fit your investment criteria you need to find out more detailed and specific information about them.
Type a company’s ticker into the search box and you’ll find recent articles, the latest share price and more information. If you don’t know a company’s ticker, simply type in its name and the ticker you need should be displayed on the next page (a ticker usually consists of three letters that uniquely identify each company e.g. VOD for Vodafone).
Your next step should be to have a look at the company’s website. Almost all listed companies now have an Internet presence, and the information on some is much better than on others. As a rule, the larger the company, the more investor-specific information is contained on the site. Sometimes a company will have separate websites for its customers and another one for the company itself.
Without doubt, the most useful piece of information a company can supply prospective investors is their annual report. Published once a year by every listed company, the annual report contains details of the company’s latest operational and financial performance. Examining the annual report is an essential part to assessing the fundamentals of any company.
Most companies provide a downloadable version of their latest annual report on their website. Some companies provide a historical record of reports going back a few years — this enables you to judge the company’s record in more detail. If there is only one report on the website, ring the company up and ask for older ones
Facts and figures
If you want a quick overview of a company’s figures and other information, just get a quote for that company and click on the ‘Fundamentals’ tab on the quote page.
Useful sites for news-hungry investors include NewsNow, the BBC, Citywire and Sharecast. Citywire is particularly good if you’re looking at smaller companies.
Investegate is also well worth looking at. It publishes the original statements that listed companies have released to the stock exchange. Be aware that PR agencies will have had a hand in many of these releases, but it’s still interesting to read what the company itself has said, rather that what some journalist says the company has said (even if it’s a Fool writer!).
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