Getting into the stock market can seem daunting at first, and knowing which companies are best to invest in requires proper research. If you've never invested in stock before, you might feel a little lost when it comes to learning which companies are best suited for your investment needs. It's important to realize that whether a company is private or public, if it has stocks, you can get access to those records and information.
Explore individual company websites and annual reports. Companies compile their financial data regularly and release public reports on an annual and often quarterly basis. These reports are usually posted on a company's website and occasionally in print publications.
Check national news sources' websites. These sites can provide a wealth of information. Aside from finding out information on a particular company's stock portfolio, websites such as MSN Money or BusinessWeek often have additional tools. For example, you can track the stock's growth or decline, set alerts and research projections.
Read up on which public companies make the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 lists. These lists, put out by Fortune magazine, are made up of the top publicly-traded companies; that is, those companies whose stocks performed the best in a particular year.
Visit the websites and read reports from the companies that actually provide the information other sources use to compile research and advise on investments. For example, Standard & Poor's provides credit ratings as well as investment grades to investors ranging from individuals to Wall Street traders.
- Look for companies that perform steadily and well year after year in the stock market. These are generally the most solid investments.
Julia Forneris has been a writer and editor since 2002. Her work has appeared in economics magazines such as "Region Focus" and on various websites. The editor of Scratch That! Editorial, Forneris holds a Master of Arts in literature from Virginia Commonwealth University.