As you become more confident in the stock market, you’ll want to develop an investing technique that works best for you. This week, Rubicoin looks at how financial statements can help investors analyze different stocks.
As you build your investing portfolio, you will come to realize that there’s a variety of ways through which different investors evaluate and choose businesses. We’ve outlined our own method for identifying great investments before, but as you develop your own skills, you may want to start looking deeper.
This series of articles is designed to teach you about some of the more practical skills of investing, including how to read annual reports, how to find important information about a business, and how to decipher financial statements.
Financial statements are the first step in evaluating the health of a company and it’s future prospects as an investment.
In today’s installment, we’ll be looking at a brief overview of the three main financial statements that we use when evaluating a company.
Almost all serious investors – regardless of their method – will glance at these documents at least once. Others will obsess over them, and ignore most of the other information out there.
How you decide to invest is purely up to you – everyone has their own process.
Finding Financial Statements
Most financial websites like Yahoo Finance will feature at least some of a company’s financial statements on their dedicated stock page. These are not always completely reliable, however.
To ensure you’re getting the correct information, it’s better to check out the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) website or go directly to the company’s investor relations page.
Follow the instructions below on the SEC’s website to access a companies filings.
The company’s filing page contains every document the company has ever filed with the SEC (which could be thousands), and each document has a filing code to make it easy to find what you are looking for.
Quarterly Reports (10-Q) and Annual Reports (10-K)
The documents that investors are looking for are the quarterly reports (10-Q) and the annual reports (10-K).Every company publishes three quarterly reports a year, and one annual report at the end of the financial year.
Every company publishes three quarterly reports a year, and one annual report at the end of the financial year.
As we can see in the example below, GoPro published their last quarterly report (10-Q) on May 6th. This is the report for their first quarter of 2016. The annual report (10-K) for 2015 was published on February 29th and can be found below that.
These reports contain a huge amount of information relating to every aspect of the business, including notes from management, any legal issues they may be facing, and information on the company’s properties and employees.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the financial statements section, which includes the three primary documents we’re looking for – the income statement (sometimes called the statement of operations), balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
Next, we’ll take a look at each of these three documents in detail, and see how they relate to the businesses performance and future prospects – starting with the income statement.
Just click the image below to continue the series.