This guide is about Secondary Research Examples.
All You Need to Know about the Role of Primary and Secondary Research?
This is definitely not the first time that we, at FinanceWalk, cover what is primary research and secondary market research for equity.
We’ve previously discussed how much you should rely on secondary vs primary research. (Simple answer: secondary research is there to form the basis of your research analysis while primary research seeks to fill the gaps left by the former).
We’ve also addressed the question of “Which one is better: primary or secondary research?” (Simple answer: they both come with pros and cons but, at the end of the day, need to be used complementarily).
Both those posts cover a wealth of information, like what secondary research actually is, what sources you need to consult, and how to go about compiling a useful financial analysis report.
Make sure to check them out and create your very own checklist of sources, formatting standards, and best practices in equity reporting.
Here’s a primer on best practices for equity research analysis from a former Morgan Stanley pro:
However, it seems we’re far from having exhausted the topic of secondary research for equity.
Today we’re bringing you a comprehensive guide and checklists of all the best free and paid sources amd resources for your research. Read on and make sure you consult as many of them as possible.
Bear in mind that most of the sources we’ve included are completely free of charge and available to any financial analyst and investor. You can either access them online or at your local library.
Others are available via a progressively charging subscription—how much you end up paying for them entirely depends on your interest and research thoroughness.
Secondary Research Examples
All publicly-traded companies have to register with their SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission). As such, you can find their filings and other information, both on the majority of IPO websites, as well as on the SEC site. Other valuable free, public resources include government agencies and NGOs.
1. Company Website
Most IPOs, especially those relegated to the mid-sized and large capital market segments, will do their best to make their information as easily accessible to you as possible.
You can access the ‘Investor Relations’ section of their site by navigating to their home page (www.google.com), clicking on ‘About’, then ‘Learn More’, under ‘Investor Relations’.
2. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website: www.sec.gov
There’s little about the securities market that you can’t find on the SEC website. Though this might seem arid at first, go ahead and check out the forms page. You’ll learn about all the forms which public companies need to file with SEC, plus reporting requirements for investment companies.
The website also features a search engine called EDGAR, which allows access to all documents and forms filed by publicly traded companies.
The EDGAR home page includes a tutorial on quick research, information on filing types, as well as tips on CIK (Central Index Key) searches.
Image source: Search EDGAR
3. Free government and non-governmental agencies
Aside from the information directly provided by the companies and the SEC, there are plenty of direct government agencies and NGOs, which strive to keep the public interested, the information open, and the data collected and verified by an independent third party.
The Federal Reserve
There’s a lot of valuable information on the website of the U.S. Federal Reserve, including a news section, one which explains the Fed’s monetary policy, and a virtual treasure trove of economic research and data.
FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data)
The U.S. Federal Reserve has 12 branches all across the country’s territory. Perhaps the most important resource powered by one of these branches is the Economic Research website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The World Bank
You can browse its data-rich website by topic, country, and many other categories. Above, see a screenshot of the United States page.
OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development)
If you’re looking for free resources, though, you’ll be able to find plenty of great ones on the home page of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs. To get a glimpse of the topics they cover, check out the screenshot above.
4. Free finance websites
a. Yahoo! Finance
The page includes the highest and lowest stock price for the year, live quotes, the price range for the day, and yields from dividends. For more of a bird’s eye view, you can also check out Key Statistics, Company Events, and Analyst Estimates.
b. Google Finance
Not only does this section of Google cover all the regular topics, like News, Portfolios, and Domestic Trends. It also screens for the evolution of stocks and provides a snapshot of the market, presented as the Market Summary.
When signed into Google, the site, though still in Beta, is also highly customizable. You can create a virtual portfolio for free, get quotes (the site shows 180 of your latest searches), and analyze industry sector trends.
Google is currently offering country-specific versions of this site for the US, UK, Canada, China, and Hong Kong.
c. MSN Money
Just as customizable and rife with information is MSN Finance. When signed in, you can add stocks to a watchlist, screen for prices, and visit the broker center for real-life expertise.
Investopedia is possibly the most comprehensive educational resource available online for free, for those who have just started trading. Aside from this, it also offers a Stock Simulator game, to teach newbies the tricks of the trade.
Though its main purpose is educational, Investopedia also provides some great analyses and opinions, organized by sector and market.
(Partly free) Subscription-based secondary market research sources
Now that we’ve come to the partly free and paid subscriptions section of our post, it’s worth asking that age-old question:
What makes for good secondary market research?
The answer couldn’t be any simpler than this: “It’s all about leaving no stone unturned”. As you will see below, covering all the available financial websites out there would be next to impossible. As such, we’re only including vetted, verified, time-tested sources.
But what is important to bear in mind, especially if you’re a beginner financial analyst, is that many of the resources that charge a subscription fee also provide a hefty dose of free content. Some earn their revenue from data subscriptions, others from financial strategy newsletters, while others even offer paid financial advice.
The point is that if you know where to look for solid information, you can’t fail at the secondary source of market research game.
1. Financial news wires
If you’re at all interested in finance, then there’s no way you’ve never visited market watch. Its home page notably features a flow of news and market information. For the untrained researcher, this might seem overwhelming, especially if you choose to zoom in on a single company.
One of the most notable stand-out features of the Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) website is the overview of market sectors it provides, as can be seen in the image above. The site also features graphs with the evolution of all the main indexes (Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P), plus Gainers and Losers charts for the NYSE,
Two interesting features of the Bloomberg Business website are the Insights section, chockful with well-written analyses, and the Markets section.
Also, consider downloading the publisher’s mobile app, for keeping an eye out on companies that are in the process of releasing major financial news.
The most remarkable aspect of SeekingAlpha, aside from its rapid ascent to popularity over the past few years, is that it’s a ‘crowd-sourced’ repository of financial information.
Aside from seasoned analysts and news releases, the site (which requires free sign-up for accessing the bulk of its articles) regularly features pieces from investors and finance bloggers. Also, check out their forum-like StockTalk section.
2. Brokerage companies
We’re going to assume that if you’ve started building a career in equity research, you also have access to an (online) broker or stock custodian. If you don’t, you should get one immediately, because the best brokerage companies offer free access to equity research.
Its Stock Research Center features the top-rated companies by sector, with a methodologically sound score, analyst opinions, and stocks popular with Fidelity clients.
They work with some of the biggest names in equity research, among which Reuters, S&P Capital IQ, Starmine, and Zacks.
The Fidelity Stock Screener is featured below. Like investment strategy tests, it’s usually a high-priced feature, so make sure to sign on and make good use of it.
Some of Fidelity’s main competitors include:
- TD Ameritrade (NYSE: AMTD) – featured in the screenshot below;
- E*TRADE (Nasdaq: ETFC) – offers third-party analysis, its own stock screener, and equity trading education;
- Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW)
Bear in mind that all these companies can be classified as online discount brokers and, save for some more sophisticated research features, they provide most information free of charge. This contradicts the model imposed by traditional brokerage companies like Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS).
3. Reputed investors
a. Oaktree Capital
Marks publishes ‘Memo from Howard Marks’ on the company website—and you can access the entire archive, going back to 1990. If anything, reading them is a fascinating glimpse into a super investor’s research process.
b. Berkshire Hathaway
Don’t let the website design fool you. It might not look as glossy as what you get from Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs, but the contents are all the more geared toward educating investors and researchers alike.
To boot, the site contains a sizeable collection of letters to shareholders, published throughout the years by none other than Warren Buffett himself. If you’re interested in getting the full scope of his approach, the entire collection of letters, unabridged and starting from 1965, can be bought on Amazon.
4. Fee-based publications and resources
a. Daily journals and periodical magazines
By and large, these are must-reads, which only provide the baseline information.
They’re not likely to give you a competitive edge, not through their free online content, nor through the paid subscriptions (either to their published periodicals or subscribers-only website content).
However, if you don’t read at least a handful of these sources regularly, how are you going to know which information is rare and therefore valuable?
The top titles in the field, which will keep you up to speed on the daily news, include:
- The Wall Street Journal – website featured in the screenshot below; also publishes a daily newspaper.
- Barron’s – owned by WSJ, published weekly.
- Financial Times
- The Economist – periodical, owned by the Financial Times
Periodically published magazines:
- Money Magazine
- The Columbia Journal Review
- American Banker
b. Subscription-based research sources
Many companies nowadays charge a specific fee for their formal approach to equity research and published reports. Several of them offer some of the basic information for free, in hopes of incentivizing users to pay for the rest of the content.
Some of the top contenders in this field include
- Morningstar – focus on individual equity research, charges $200/year. It issues a star rating for each company but also includes valuation estimates, stock risk insights, financial ratio quality, and more.
- Standard & Poor’s
- Value Line
You can also access the sort of information compiled by these sources from the companies’ own websites and the SEC. But, if you can afford it, and informed analyst’s opinion can’t hurt. Also, Morningstar and Value Line provide a fee-based investment recommendation newsletter.
c. Investment research newsletters
A lot of the companies mentioned above also manage assets, so it’s important to understand that they may be using research just to generate income for their shareholders. In that sense, it might be worth looking for insights from the super investors mentioned above.
That being said, perhaps one of the most lauded investment advice newsletters comes from The Motley Fool (website featured below), which runs an entire network of successful sites.
d. Annual fee information aggregators
These are companies which provide information collection services, by literally amassing years’ worth of published company financial reports. They have access to decades of such data and their search capabilities are typically very sophisticated.
Some of the biggest names in this segment include:
- Mergent Online – boasts access to financial reports for 95% of all companies around the world.
- Edgar Online – helps with screening for stocks in a similar way as Mergent.
- Hoovers Online – also provides information on private companies, which might prove especially useful for those interested in the direct competition of public enterprises.
e. Industry trade journals
Just like American Banker mentioned above is a reliable source from news on all companies in the banking industry, so you can be sure there are trade journals for all major industry sectors. For instance, for health care and pharma, you can always subscribe to U.S. Pharmacist, Pharmacy Times, and plenty more.
The digital edition of American Banker
5. Educational and institution-level resources
If you’re serious about your secondary market research for equity (i.e. you’re studying the field, or forging a career in a corporate setting), chances are you’re going to be working with far more complex data aggregator tools. Here are some of the top choice, based on the level:
Ideal for university students, as it does a good job of simulating the actual stock trading and equity research experience.
b. S&P Capital IQ
Owned by Standard & Poor’s, CapitalIQ brings together a host of resources, such as the SEC filings of each company, news releases, S&P ratings, and other qualitative company data. It doesn’t support trading, but all stock price feeds are updated in real-time.
This is one of the most sophisticated secondary market research methods out there. At close to $2,000/mo., it’s also one of the most expensive in the industry. Aside from equity, it also researches fixed income opportunities, futures, options, and other types of assets.
With all its complexities, Bloomberg is ideal for traders with an interest in sophisticated investment vehicles.
d. Fact Set
Much like Bloomberg, Fact Set is expensive and complex. The research culled and delivered via its complex interface is provided by third parties. Its direct competition includes Zacks Pro and Reuters.
I am sure this guide added excellent value to your search for secondary research examples and methods.
Do let me know in Comments below if you have any questions.