Research Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors

This is a great introduction to resources that you can use to research any public company. All public companies must report their financials; quarterly reports, end of year tax forms, changes in top management, and so on. If you ever need to look up a company, this will give you the tools you need to navigate the public records system.


A. How to Use EDGAR

1. Can I search EDGAR by ticker symbol? 

Yes. However, EDGAR will not retrieve all available tickers. The EDGAR Company Search page states the number of companies that currently can be searched by ticker symbol. 

2. Can I search for all SEC registrants in a particular state? 

Yes. You can search our EDGAR database for registered companies and other filers by state. Simply use the EDGAR Company Search and type in the state you want in the appropriate box. Please note that this will provide you with the companies whose principal place of business is in that state. If you are looking for a list of registrants incorporated in a specific state, you will have to search the header information.

In the alternative, if you have searched in EDGAR for a particular company, you can then click onto the state code used by that company for a list of all companies doing business in that state. For example, if you search for Dell Inc, you can then search for all SEC registrants and reporting companies located in Texas, by clicking onto the "State location" code "TX". 

3. Can I search for all SEC registrants from a particular country? 

Yes. You can search our EDGAR database by substituting a country code for the state abbreviation. You can find a list of current state and country codes on our website. Some country codes have changed since the introduction of EDGAR. You can find a list of past state and country codeson our website as well as a comparison of the older and newer codes on our web page. Searches by state and country codes will return results based on the code used by the filer at the time of the filing.

If you have searched in EDGAR for a specific foreign company, the filer information will include the country code. If you click onto this code, you will be directed to a list of all SEC reporting companies that have used this code. For example, if you search for 

Nokia Corp, the results will indicate the state code as H9 (Finland). Simply click on the H9 and you will be directed to a list of all reporting companies that use H9 as the country code.

The Division of Corporation Finance's web page includes lists of International Registered and Reporting Companies for each calendar year dating back to 2000. This information is organized both alphabetically and geographically and also includes summary information based on country of incorporation. 

4. Can I search for companies within a particular industry? 

Yes, you can find companies that have been assigned a specific Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code by using the SIC field in the EDGAR Company Search or the Advanced Search option of the Full-Text Search. However, your search results will not include issuers within the same industry that have a different assigned SIC number. Moreover, the SEC uses neither all SIC codes nor the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes adopted by the Office of Management and Budget in 1997. 

5. Can I search EDGAR by using a former name of a company? 

Yes. Searches by a company's former name, however, are limited to instances where EDGAR associates the former name of the company with the CIK number. When this occurs, the previous name shows as "formerly" along with the range of filings.