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Company Research   Tags: business, company research  

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Public Company Research Print Page

Public Company Profiles and Financials

  • Large, publicly traded companies will appear in the following sources. See the next page, "Private Company Research" for suggestions for researching private companies or small,local entities.
  • Company profiles in the following databases will typically provide:
  • a company overview, key facts, business description, history, employees, financials, major products and services, top competitors, locations, and subsidiaries.
  • Some sources provide SWOT analyses.
  • Top databases:
  • Business Insights: Essentials.
    Search for company by name in the main search box OR click the "Companies" tab at the top of the search page and scroll through the list of firms. Datamonitor reports provide information about brands, the company's chronology, relevant periodical articles, company histories, financials, investment reports, market share reports, rankings, news, SWOT reports, and articles from trade journals.

    Great feature: "Compare Companies," which allows for comparisons by revenue, number of employees, employees over time, sales over time, and sales per employee over time. Users can compare companies in the separate "Compare Companies" module as well as within individual company records.
  • Business Source Premier (EBSCO).
    Click on the "Company Profiles" tab at the top of the search screen to access comprehensive reports by MarketLine.

    The "Business Searching Interface" on the Library's Database Links provides an alternate way of searching. It still leads to MarketLine reports.

    Links in the left margin direct users to related information in scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and industry reports.
  • Mergent Online Premium.
    Covers over 30,000 US and foreign companies, plus D&B's Private Company Database. Goes back 15 years. See Mergent Archives for earlier data.
    Extremely comprehensive. Links to EDGAR reports. Data are downloadable into Excel.
  • Mergent Archive.
    Mergent Archive provides access to digitized copies of the original Moody's Manuals, dating from 1909. In addition, it provides access to Municipal Manuals, Key Business Ratios, and Country Reports.
  • LexisNexis.
    The most prominent feature of LexisNexis is "Company Dossier," which enables researchers to compare balance sheet, income statement, and ratio information for up to five companies at once.
  • Proquest
    Click on "Browse" at the top of the search screen, then click on "Companies." Select either "Hoover's Company Records" or "Proquest Annual Reports." The annual report collection is not very large.

Annual Reports

Company web sites also provide annual reports. Scan the "Investor Relations" or "About Us" sections of company web sites to find annual reports.

For example:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Corporate Information

Additional sources of annual reports:

  • SEC Filings.
    Publicly-held companie are required to file detailed financial statements with the SEC. These filings are made public via Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval, (EDGAR).

    Search by company name, ticker symbol, CIK, file number, state, country, or SIC code.

    Look for 10-Ks (annual reports) and 10-Qs (quarterly reports).

    Particularly helpful are Item 1 - Business Description, Item 7, Management Discussion and Analysis, and the Financial Footnotes.
  • The Public Register's Annual Report Service.
    Provides free annual reports of public companies trading on the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, and OTC exchanges.

    Reports are free, but users must register. Reports are e-mailed, if available.

    To view reports online, see The Public Register Online, (below).
  • The Public Register Online.
    Users must create a profile and password in order to log in to view reports. Public Register Online lists 5,000 annual reports and 10-K filings for online viewing.

    The companion site,, e-mails print copies of reports.

Company Soldiers

Analysts' Reports

  • Business Insights: Essentials. (Gale).
    Enter a company name. Alternately, click on "Companies" and scroll to desired firm. Choose "Investment Reports."
  • Business Source Premier.
    Limiting a search to "Company Profiles" calls up MarketLine profiles. These contain a company overview, key facts, business description, history, key employees, major products and services, revenue analysis, SWOT analysis, top competitors, locations, and subsidiaries.
  • Morningstar.
    Caution: one user at a time is allowed on Morningstar. Please be patient, and please log off when done.

    Enter a ticker symbol or company name. Click "Analyst Research."

Company Research Tutorials


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