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Help Yourself

How to Perform Common Research Tasks

Find Company Information

Need company data? Looking for competitive information? Market share? Financial data and company or industry outlook?

  1. Choose a public company to research.
    • Look up the company in a directory to find basic information about the company, often including the stock exchanges on which the company trades. If the company sells stock, it is a public company, and it is required to provide information to the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it is easier to do research on public U.S. companies than on private or foreign companies.
    • To determine if a company is public: look it up in a company directory such as Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private & Public Companies REF HG 4057 .A565, or
    • Check LexisNexis Academic, Select Business and then select Company Profiles. Enter the name of the company. Under Source select Hoover Company Reports, S&P Corporation Reports, or U.S. Public Companies. Also search Company Financial.
  2. Determine if the company is a parent company or a division or a subsidiary of another company.
    • If the company you chose is a subsidiary, you will need to do your research on the parent company. If you are able to find the 10K for the company name in LexisNexis Academic the company is usually not a subsidiary.
    • You can also look up the company name or the subsidiary name in LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations REF HG 4057 .A217
  3. 3. Determine the industry to which the company belongs.

    Directories list codes which indicate the industry to which the company belongs. Up until recently, these codes were called SIC codes (Standard Industrial Classification Codes). SIC codes are being replaced by NAICS codes (North American Industry Classification System). NAICS codes will provide one uniform system to classify industries and to compare economic statistics among industries in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. For more information and for NAICS and SIC comparability tables, see http://www.census.gov/naics.

    • Find the Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC Code) or the North American Industry Classification System Code (NAICS Code) in the sources listed under item 1 above, or
    • b. Look up the NAICS Code at http://www.census.gov/naics
  4. Identify the names of the company's competitors.
    • Look up the SIC/NAICS code(s) in a directory which lists companies by SIC/NAICS code:
      e.g. Ward's Business Directory REF HG 4057 .A565
    • Or use a journal database to find articles on competitors in the industry. For example, search for the company or the industry name and the keyword MARKET SHARE.
  5. Identify the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats affecting your company and the industry to which they belong and the current and past performances and strategies and future prospects of the company and the industry.
    • Find an annual report or 10K report for the company in LexisNexis Academic
      • Select Business and then SEC Filings.
    • Find information in investment sources.
      • Mergent Industrial Manual REF HG 4961 .M67
        Provides ratings and details on all firms listed on the New York, American, and regional stock exchanges.
      • Mergent OTC Industrial Manual REF HG 4965 .M7237
        Provides ratings and details on 3,200 firms not listed on major exchanges.
      • Mergent Public Utility and Transportation Manual REF HG 4961 .M7245
        Financial information on more than 550 public and private utilities.
      • Value Line Research Center
        Statistics and analyses of industries and stocks.
    • Find company histories for some companies.
      • International Directory of Company Histories REF HD2721 .D36 1988x
      • Mergent publications, above, also have short company histories.
      • Also check the company's home page.
    • d. Find information in industry-specific sources.
      • LexisNexis Academic
        Select Business and then Industry & Market.
      • Annual Statement Studies (Robert Morris) HF 5681 .B2R6 (Permanent Reserve)
        Provides composite financial data by SIC/NAICS code.
    • Find articles on your company or industry.
    • ABI/Inform Trade & Industry
    • Business Source Premier
    • LexisNexis Academic
      Business news
  6. 6. Determine the economic, political, and social environment affecting the company(ies) and the industry.