Research Analysts at brokerage houses, investment banks and research companies regularly publish reports on companies (with regard to their stock value), industries and markets -- generally with regard to their investment prospects. These reports often provide the most detailed information available on the company, industry or market. At the same time, it is important to remember that most analysts are under pressure to be bullish, so take their words with a grain of salt.
Timing Issues: The online sources discussed below generally provide reports 15 to 30 days after they are first released. You may be able to get reports sooner by calling the relevant brokerage house. In some cases, you may have to set up a contract to get "real time" reports unless you know someone with a contract who is willing to share.
Online Sources for Analyst Reports
Investext Reports: Once upon a time, analyst reports were sold only by the Investext Group and hence all analyst reports are sometimes called "Investext Reports." Investext still has a good reputation. The only problem with Investext reports is that they're expensive - unless you buy enough reports to justify subscribing to OneSource or negotiating a flat fee contract with a vendor or if you need only one or two pages of a report (e.g., to find market share data).
Investext reports are available from a number of sources, including Westlaw (INVESTEXT-PDF COVERING 1997-present, with full text searching as of April 1, 2007, or INVESTEXT-CURRNT containing the three most recent reports available for a company or industry) and Thomson Research (1982-present). For most reports, all three services have the option to purchase just the page(s) you need rather than the whole report. If you have access to Monitor Suite, the most recent Investext reports available is included in the company Summary.
Other Sources: You can also buy analyst reports from Reuters (formerly "Multex" and "Research on Demand"), Zach's and Yahoo! Finance. With these services you search for the company or industry and get a list of the reports available. This is generally cheaper than buying from Investext. Capital IQ has its own collection of analyst reports (subscription only).
Brokerage Houses: The major brokerage houses sell their reports (and others) in real time through
TheMarkets.com. However, subscribers must "have existing relationships with our founding brokers," so most brokerage houses also make their reports available on a delayed basis through the sources above. Some brokerage houses, notably Goldman Sachs and Barclays, traditionally distribute their research reports only to clients.
Glass Lewis & Company produces independent analyst reports with more depth and detail than the brokerage houses. This is the gold standard of analyst reports, but Glass Lewis reports are available only to subscribers (generally large institutional investors). Off Wall Street and Institutional Shareholder Services are other well-regarded independents.