Ticker symbols are letters used to uniquely identify a public company and can be used to make company research more effiicient. Many of the resources in this guide will identify ticker symbols, but one of the quickest way to find a ticker symbol is to use a free website like Yahoo Finance or MSNMoney.
Four digit numerical code assigned by the U.S. government to identify the primary business category.
Six digit hierarchical coding system to classify all economic activity into twenty industry sectors.
Search by SIC, NAICS or keyword; browse by category; use SIC/NAICS conversion table; or look up alphabetical SIC/NAICS categories.
Information on companies varies greatly depending on the type of company. Use a directory to determine whether a company is public, private, non-profit or non-U.S.
There is a great deal of information available on companies which trade on the stock market - SEC filings, annual reports, analysts' reports, news stories, books and case studies.
Information on private companies is usually limited to brief information in directories, news stories, and sometimes books. All 50 states make some level of corporate and business filings available online, see Business Filings Databases for links to the states.
The amount of information on international companies varies. If the company trades on the U.S. exchanges it must file annual reports (20-F) with the SEC. Other information can be found in directories, databases, newspapers and magazines.
Finances and other general information can be found in Form 990 which nonprofits must file with the IRS annually. Many are posted on the web at Guidestar.org. Some information can also be found in newspaper and journal articles.
The Corporate Website -- Don't forget to look here! Annual reports are often under an investment section; and visit the site map before you exit to make sure you have all of the content that is available.
Listed below are some databases and websites that offer annual reports. You can often obtain a company's annual report by calling the corporation's investor relations department or by going to the company's website
Contains thousands of free annual reports.
CAROL - Company Annual Reports On-Line
Annual Reports from companies in Europe and the USA. Free but registration is required.
Corporate Reports Online
Historical Annual Reports (1800-1975) maintained by the Lippincott Library at the University of Pennsylvania.
Access over 7 million SEC filings dating back to 1994. Login required but access is free of charge.