30 Days to Becoming a Better Investor – Day 9

Today, I’d like to introduce you to EDGAR. EDGAR is my best source of information on companies. Who is EDGAR you ask?

EDGAR is the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) database of company filings and forms. It is the most comprehensive source of company annual reports, quarterly filings, proxies, and other filings.

EDGAR can take a little bit of practice to learn how to use. There is a quick tutorial that can help you get up to speed on the various features of the database. The first thing you might want to do is open up the EDGAR list of form types and print it out for future reference.

I primarily use the EDGAR to search for companies. Just type in the first word or two of the company’s name you are interested in researching in the company name box on the search page.

Let’s take a look at the results for a search on “Microsoft“. The first thing you’ll notice is all the Form 4 filings. Those report trades by insiders. It looks like Bill Gates has been selling some of his shares.

The first document I usually look for is the annual report. Here is a link to Microsoft’s annual report, listed under form 10-K.

The next thing I usually look for is the latest definitive proxy. It is listed under form DEF 14A. Here is the link to Microsoft’s latest proxy. In a future article, I will detail some of the key things you want to look for in a proxy.

In addition to the company search, I also often search through the latest SEC filings to look for arbitrage opportunities. If you need to do a more detailed search, maybe by form type, I recommend either using 10K Wizard or SEC Info. It is free to do searches on both services. The only thing is that 10K Wizard requires a subscription to view the actual results. If you don’t want to subscribe, you can just open up EDGAR in a different window to find and view the filings you find using 10K Wizard.

Take some time tonight review the filings for all the stocks you currently own or stocks you are interested in owning. Let me know if you have any questions.

Stay tuned for more lessons and advice in this 30 Days to Becoming a Better Investor series. Get involved, read, comment, and learn!

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