Public companies sell stock to the general public. They are required to disclose certain financial information to their shareholders. Therefore, it is easier to locate information on these companies than on privately held companies. Articles that mention annual results, profits, or "stocks" indicate that it is public. If a company is public and Canadian you'll find it in SEDAR. If a company is public and American you'll find it in EDGAR.
Private companies do not sell stock to the public. No disclosure of information is required. Whatever information a private company makes available is completely up to the individual company. It can be challenging to find information about private companies.
Dun & Bradstreet's MDD profiles public and private US and Canadian companies. Includes company corporate trees. Filter by geography and industry.
* Search the databases in the Business 'Articles' tab to find out more - whether they are public or private, ownership and parent companies, mergers and acquisitions, key personnel etc.
2. Where are company annual reports?
Annual Reports are the primary source of corporate financial information for publicly-held companies. A public company's annual report is available on its website. If the company is private, annual reports will not be available for public distribution.
SEDAR: annual reports of Canadian public companies
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is a useful tool for identifying competitors within an industry. SIC codes group companies based on the products and services produced. SIC codes used in directories and databases are generally the U.S. codes. Print versions of the SIC table of codes can be found in the Canadian Key Business Directory or Standard & Poors Directory.
5. What are Betas? Where can I find them?
"Beta measures the volatility of a stock relative to the market as a whole, as represented by an index such as Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. A beta that equals 1 means the stock has the same volatility as the market; a beta higher than 1 means the stock is more volatile than the market." (Dictionary of Business Terms by Jack P. Friedman)
Choose: Companies/Markets tab > Company > search on a company name or ticker > select Reports in left hand menu > Select from Template list > Ratio Comparison Report. Betas, five years, for company and industry.
6. Where can I find Earnings Call Transcripts?
Often held after the release of a public company's quarterly or annual numbers, conference calls between top management and investors can be a great source of information. Conference calls are an opportunity for the CEO or CFO to speak informally and candidly about the company's past performance and its future prospects. Informed analysts ask probing questions about results, operations and competitors.