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How to research a company

Where to start

  1. Choose the company you want to research
  2. Grab yourself the following items:
    • a quiet place
    • a computer with internet access
    • a beverage of your choice
    • a snack
    • a notebook and writing implement
  3. Find their Ticker symbol (also see: How to find a company's ticker symbol)
  4. Look the symbol up on CAPS, Google Finance, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch.com, or at your online brokerage)
  5. Read its financial statements
  6. Read the thesis for the company in one of the TMF newsletters.
  7. If the company has not been recommended, review its most recommended Fool message board posts.
  8. Research their Company Officers at
  9. Check out the company price earnings ratio, growth rate, debt, assets, dividend, profit margin and cash flow
  10. Check out competitors, position in the industry. Is it an industry leader or a niche player?
  11. How large is its market share?
  12. Check out the industry:
    • What are its growth prospects?
    • Is it currently in favor or out of favor?
    • What is its level of technological maturity?
  13. Check out analysts reports, buy/sell recommendations, prospects
  14. Check out the 10-K for assets owned, property, information on lawsuits, patents, reserves, etc.

Then What?

  • Do some more stuff
  • Read some more about them
  • Decide whether or not you want to invest in their stock
  • Get another drink and/or snack
  • Go discuss your findings on the TMF discussion boards
  • Write up your research for the investing wiki