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Company Research: Start

This guide lists recommended databases and websites to use for company research including resources that provide information on company financials, overviews, articles, SWOT analyses, ratios, organization charts and historical company data.

Improve your search. Use a ticker symbol.

Publicly Traded Companies

A company will have a ticker symbol if it is publicly traded on one of the world's stock exchanges. The ticker symbol is a unique identifier - a type of short form. Knowing the ticker symbol for a company is helpful when you are researching - your searches will be very precise.

Example of an American Stock Exchange (Nasdaq) ticker symbol

  • Comcast: CMCSA
  • Starbucks Corporation.: SBUX
  • Intel Corporation: INTC

Find a Ticker Symbol

You can look up ticker symbols on Yahoo! Finance or MarketWatch

Mergers & Acquisitions

Check the following sources for information about mergers and acquisitions.

Getting started with company research

Before you start...

You should answer these questions before diving into your research. Use the company’s website and Google searches to get started. Then, use library databases to find outstanding company information - quick and easy!

What is the full name of the company?

Discover the full/legal name of the company. Also, to improve your research strategies, make a list of name variations and abbreviations.

Is the company public or private?

It can be challenging to locate information on private companies. More info: What's the difference between publicly- and privately-held companies?

Is the company a parent or subsidiary?

If the company you are researching is not the parent company, you will need to learn who the parent company is to fully contextualize the company you are researching. Additionally, you may need to review the parent company's annual report, financials, and other information to learn about subsidiary.

Where is the company's headquarters, and is it a US company?

Some assignments require students to select a US company or an international company. Don't just assume, make sure you know.


The next steps...

Find company overviews and profiles. These types of reports are often published annually and will provide information about the organization, executives, competition, financials, SWOT, related industries, history, significant developments, news, and more.

Find the company's annual report and SEC filings--in particular, the 10-K Report--and read the section entitled, Management Discussion, Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations).

Find industry reports. To fully understand and contextualize the company you are researching you will need to learn about the related industries. Use the Industry Research Guide for further guidance.

Find articles about the company and find press releases published by the company.

Click on the tabs in this guide to find the best resources and library databases for the various aspects of company research.

Need help? Ask us!

Company Research Strategies from the Pros

Research strategy tip:  

"Investors who want to look at the "big picture" often start by examining the state of the economy and the stock market in general, and then look, in order, at market sectors, at industries within a sector, and then at companies within a given industry," explains Robert Mitkowski, Jr., in ValueLine's Sector_Analysis July 1, 2011.

Check out how the pros approach company research. Explore the help guides on the GGU financial databases listed below.

See also Standard and Poor's Equity Research Methodology, including Top Down (Macro and Economic Analysis) and Bottom Up Company Analysis research approaches to analyze company stock value.

Finding Articles about a Company

In some of the following resources, you can narrow your search by typing your company's name in one of the search boxes, and selecting "Company/Org" or "Company Entity" from the drop-down menu. This will find articles that are about your company, not just articles that mention your company.

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