Public Company Research

This guide is intended to help you do topical research in business and economics.

Company History



Consolidated Financial Statements and Company Ratios


Mergent Online
It's hard to beat Mergent Online for consolidated financial data -- income statments, balance sheets, cash flow statements, ratios, etc. You can:

  • Research 15 years of detailed financial statements.
  • Customize viewing and output to retrieve precisely the information you need.
  • Export company reports and financials into software applications such Microsoft Excel.
  • Compare multiple companies' reports.

Corporate Bond and Debt Information and Data


Mergent Online

Industry Overviews


Business Source Complete via EBSCOhost
Choose the "Enhanced Business Searching Interface." After you search for your company, you can limit the results to to "Industry Profiles."

Mergent Online
Look for "Global Industry Reports," which describe the market environment and industry landscape for companies, industries, countries and regions.

Industry Ratios


There are a number of sources that help you compare the rations for your company to its industry:

Mergent Online
May be the best because it allows you to create a custom reports comparing 16 ratios for your company's industry.

Company Information From Reuters provides financial ratios as well. You can retrieve a report for your company, then look for a link to ratios. There you will find company to industry comparisons for various ratios. Select "News and Markets" and then "Stocks."

Other sources of industry ratios can be found on the Library shelves:

Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios, Annual
Ref HF 5681 .R25 I53

This Dun and Bradstreet publication provides industry ratios for more than 800 different lines of business arranged by SIC Code.

RMA Annual Statement Studies, Annual
Ref HF 5681 .B2 R58

Similar in scope to Dun and Bradstreet's Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios, this publication provides industry ratios.

Investment Advice About Your Company


Business Insights: Essentials
Search for your company and click the "Investment Reports" tab to read company reports written by brokerage houses.

Mergent Online
View "Factsheets" for one-page summary equity reports. Reports are updated quarterly with critical investment information, including summaries of recent quarterly results, and analyses of future prospects.


Interpreting Financial Statements and Understanding Ratios


The Library owns a number of excellent books that help you analyze the financial statments of public companies. For example:

  • Annual reports 101 : what the numbers and the fine print can reveal about the true health of a company (HG4028.B2 T47)
  • Business ratios and formulas: a comprehensive guide (HF5691 .B73)
  • How to read a financial report: wringing vital signs out of the numbers (HF5681.B2 T733)
  • Understanding the corporate annual report: nuts, bolts, and a few loose screws (HG4028.B2 F73)
  • Financial intelligence: a manager's guide to knowing what the numbers really mean (HG4028.B2 B422)
  • Magic numbers: the 33 key ratios that every investor should know (HF5681.R25 T40)

News Stories About Your Company


Business Source Complete via EBSCOhost

ProQuest Business Library (includes the full text of the Wall Street Journal, among other sources; use all three editions)


Stock Prices


Most databases provide recent stock prices. The more difficult thing to find is historical stock prices. Fortunately, this information is available via Yahoo Finance.

SWOT Analysis


Business Source Complete via EBSCOhost
Choose the "Enhanced Business Searching Interface." After you search for the company, you can limit the results to SWOT Analyses



You have access to many sources of information on public companies:

These sources have different strengths. The sections below will lead you to the best sources for the type of information you are looking for.