Stock Selection Guide Tutorial

    Sources of Data

      The first step in any stock analysis is to acquire the necessary data. Fortunately, there are many sources of data for fundamental analysis, offline and online, as well as for stock selection software.

      Fundamental Data

      DailyStocks Company Analysis. Six years of financial statements, quarterly history, industry comparisons, and other information.

      Wall Street Research Net. Six years of financial statements, five quarters of financial results, and industry comparisons.

      MSN MoneyCentral.Six years of financial statements, five quarters of financial results, and industry comparisons.

      Annual Reports

      Many companies conveniently provide a ten-year financial summary in their annual reports. These summaries will often (but unfortunately not often enough) include all the data necessary to complete an SSG.

      Increasingly, companies are publishing their annual reports on the Web. A recent Alta Vista search on the string "annual report" returned over 90,000 documents!

      Public Register's Annual Report Service distributes reports for over 3,200 publicly-traded companies, which can be ordered online. You can also call 1-800-426-6825.

      Hoover's Company Reports

      Hoover's Company Profiles on over 10,000 companies are available for $9.95/month on the World Wide Web (however, shorter company profiles are free.) Hoover's publishes a number of company directories that include historical data, so check your local library. Hoover's reports are also available on CompuServe and America OnLine.

      Moody's Handbook of Common Stocks

      Moody's Investors Service publishes a quarterly directory of over 1,600 common stocks, with ten years of financial data. Many public libraries carry various Moody's publications. For more information, contact Moody's Investors Service, 99 Church Street, New York, N.Y. 10007; (212) 553-0547.

      NAIC Green Sheets

      Corporate Members of the National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC) provide the financial data required to complete an SSG in the form of Investor's Information Reports distributed free of charge to NAIC individual or club members. Nicknamed "green sheets" because of the color of the paper on which they are printed, these reports are available for over 115 companies, and include a corporate profile, price history and trading volume charts, balance sheet and cash flow items, a completed SSG and recent quarterly data for sales, pre-tax profit margins, earnings and dividends. A listing and order form is published each month in Better Investing magazine, and is available on the NAIC Web Site.

      The Red Chip Review

      The Red Chip Review is a research survey that covers 288 small cap stocks and other stocks in the Pacific Northwest. Full subscriptions are $249, but other options are available. Investors can download reports from their web site for $6 each.

      Standard & Poor's Stock Reports

      S&P Stock Reports are two-page reports published periodically on over 4,300 companies. The reports include all the data necessary for the Stock Selection Guide. Subscriptions for individuals may be prohibitively expensive (contact Standard & Poor's Equity Investor Services at 800/221-5277), but S&P Reports can be found in many local libraries or you can get individual reports from your broker or online.

      S&P Stock Reports can be purchased online from Standard & Poor's Equity Investor's Service , Quote.Com, and InvesTools, and Wall

      In addition, several services will now send an S&P Report to your fax machine for a charge. A single S&P Stock Report costs about $6; but discount plans are available that bring the cost per report to about $3. All offer First Call Earnings Estimates, historical price charts, S&P Industry Reports, Vickers Insider Trading Reports, Argus Company News and other reports. These services include:

      • Wall Street by Fax (800/938-5555)
      • CNBC (800/706-CNBC)
      • Standard & Poor's Reports on Demand (800/292-0808).

      Value Line Investment Survey

      The Value Line Investment Survey follows 1,700 stocks, updating each company on a quarterly basis in a full-page format that provides complete information about a company's history and current status, and its potential growth over the next five years. Value Line is available by subscription for $525 a year (call 800/833-0046 for more information). You may also find Value Line at your local library, or your broker may provide copies of reports for companies in which you are interested. An "Expanded Edition" provides data (but no analysis) of an additional 3,500 companies.

      Software Datafiles

      The National Association of Investors Corporation offers a variety of computer software to aid in the fundamental analysis of stocks. The following are sources of datafiles that can be used with these programs.

      CompuServe NAIC Forum

      The CompuServe NAIC Forum includes several libraries for users of SSG software programs. Forum members upload studies for discussion and analysis, and members may download the files for review on their own computers. The Forum also includes a spreadsheet utility that interprets the SSG datafiles so that those who are not yet using an SSG software program may still view the data.

      NAIC Web Site

      The NAIC Web Site maintains datafiles for NAIC Software programs for the "Stocks to Study" and "Undervalued Stocks" from Better Investing magazine. In addition, users can upload their own SSG's to the Shared Datafile Library on the site, which you can download.

      NAIC/Standard & Poor's CompuStat Datafiles

      NAIC provides SSG data on diskettes for over 3,500 stocks for use in many of the SSG software programs. Diskettes are updated quarterly, and include all of the information necessary to complete a Stock Selection Guide. An annual subscription is $179 for NAIC Computer Group Members, $209 for NAIC Members and $239 for non-members. More information is available on the NAIC Web Site.

      Investware Datafiles

      Investware provides SSG datafiles on more than 9,500 companies used for NAIC stock analysis software.

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    © Copyright 2001 Douglas Gerlach. All Rights Reserved.