Business Research alpha

Introduction

Often legal issues revolve around business topics and require locating information on companies, industries, investments, and other commercial subjects. The Berkeley campus libraries contain an extensive assortment of business research material. What appears below is a very selective, annotated list of the best resources for the legal researcher. A comprehensive list of business resources is available at Databases A-Z. Since some of the sources have restricted access, please be sure to take note of any special login or availability instructions.

Business Reference Sources

BusinessDictionary.com - Online Business Dictionary
This free reference work contains over 20,000 definitions. Keyword searches and preformatted subject categories allow for easy access to relevant information.

Investopedia
Another free database that defines investment terms, contains detail articles, and gives examples from the world of investment and finance.

Business Source Complete(BSC) (on campus or proxy server access required)
In addition to containing a large assortment of business articles, BSC also has a large archive of books. This collection is populated with a number of guides and handbooks on business topics.
This link takes you directly to a searchable list of these monographs.

Business Periodicals

In general, there are four types of periodicals used in the business world:

  1. Academic publications are peer reviewed journals that often provide theory and analysis, contain footnotes, and are written by scholars in their fields. Examples are the Harvard Business Review and the California Business Review.
  2. Trade or industry publications are written for readers involved in a particular line of work and are intended to keep practitioners up to date on developments within their industry. They often contain statistics, vendor ads, news on companies and personnel, market and industry trends, and new techniques and technology. Trade publications are particularly useful for determining current trends and practices. Some examples are Automotive News, Adweek, and American Banker.
  3. General business periodicals cover the main trends of the business world and are read by both the general public and business professionals. Included in this category are Business Week, Forbes, and Fortune.
  4. Business newspapers are published in a number of forms. The best known international ones, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, cover the broad world of commerce. Other newspapers, such as the San Francisco Business Times and the Los Angeles Business Journal, have a much narrower geographic scope and focus on activities within cities and metropolitan areas. Local business newspapers are particularly helpful at finding information on new start ups and commercial real estate trends. El Economista (Mexico), Business Times Singapore, and Financial Express (Bangladesh) are examples of national business newspapers which are often the only source on foreign companies, industries, and a non-U.S. perspective on events.
Periodical TypeAcademic JournalsTrade PublicationsGeneral BusinessBusiness Newspapers
Business Source Complete* xxxx xxxx xxxx  
Business & Industry Database*   xxxx    
Factiva*   xxxx xxxx xxxx
  xxxx xxxx xxxx
Regional Business News*       xxxx

*on campus or proxy server access required
**requires Lexis password

Company Information

The amount of information available on a particular company depends upon several factors:

  1. Publicly traded companies (those that are traded on stock markets) have more information published about them than privately held enterprises. Disclosure laws in the U.S. and similar statutes in other countries require publicly traded companies to reveal detailed information on their financial status in various reports (forms) to stockholders and potential investors. A detailed list and descriptions of forms required by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission is available on the SEC webpage.
  2. There tends to be less information on non-U.S. companies, particularly in English language sources.
  3. Large companies have more written about them than small ones.

Thus, if you need information on a small, private company in Peru, you probably won't find much.

U.S. & Non-U.S. Companies

Mergent Online (on campus or proxy server access required)
The best source for U.S. SEC reports and non-U.S. annual corporate reports. Financial data is in Excel format. Data for most companies goes back 15 years with quarterly or annual frequency. Textual material describes company history, subsidiaries, joint ventures, business activities, executives, and long-term debt.

Hoovers Online (on campus or proxy server access required)
This is one of the better sources for profiles of medium to large U.S. and non-U.S. companies as well as profiles of industries. Not all of the advanced features for the 44,000 companies are included in the University's subscription. Some items not covered by the subscription are available for a fee.

Non-U.S. Companies

ISI Emerging Markets Database (on campus or proxy server access required)
Company, industry, macroeconomic, stock market information, and news for over 80 developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Australia. Many of the publications are in the vernacular of the country. Current and historical information is provided. Data is exportable in Excel format.

Business Monitor Online (BMO) (on campus or proxy server access required)
Great source for non-U.S. company and industry information along with country risk reports. It contains global coverage of over 55,000 companies in 175 countries. BMO also provides macroeconomic data and forecasts for most countries.

LexisNexis??International Companies Group File (requires LexisNexis password)
This file covers more than 30,000 companies from Asia and Pacific Rim, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and North and South America.

Investment Research

Analyst research reports are normally written by employees at stock brokerage firms and offer advice on investing in securities and industries. While the evaluations should be used with care, analyst reports often provide valuable background information on companies and industries as well as an indication on how to structure a study of a company or industry.

Thomson Research /Investext (on campus or proxy server access required)
This is the primary source for investment analyst reports. It contains research reports from over 980 of the world's leading firms and covers more than 30,000 companies worldwide. Coverage goes back over 25 years for some corporations. Analysts reports typically contain buy recommendations as well as scrutiny of the company and the industry where it operates. (works best with Internet Explorer)

Independent analysis sources that are not affiliated with stock brokerage houses offer rating systems that aid the investor. While not perfect, these sources offer a valuable, unbiased means of evaluating investment options.

Value Line (on campus or proxy server access required)
A primary source for independent investment analysis (not brokerage house affiliated) of over 3,400 large, mid and small cap stocks. Mutual funds and options are also evaluated. Its measurement techniques have an excellent track record for predicting performance.

Stock Market & Stock Index Information

Stocks

There is a variety of numerical information available on stocks in addition to price data. Statistics on volume traded, various ratios (e.g. price earnings), capitalization, and other topics are produced.

Stock Indices

Stock indices indicate how categories of stocks are performing relative to a particular point in time. Stocks are categorized by characteristics such as size (S&P 500), industry (automotive), and country or region.

CRSP through the Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) (access requires use of the campus vpn or connection while in the Long Business Economics Library)
CRSP provides detailed data on U.S. stocks back to 1925. It also has index information based on the major U.S. exchanges.

Global Financial Data (GFD) (on campus or proxy server access required)
GFD contains extremely long runs of historical data on stocks, stock indices, and macroeconomic information for the U.S. and many foreign markets. Stock and index data is available in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual frequency, depending upon the time period. In addition to various stock price information (high, low, close, etc.), other data types are available (volume traded, ratios, etc.). Excel output is available.

Stockholder, Executive Compensation, and Board of Directors Information

COMPUSTAT North America--Executive Compensation through the Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) (access requires use of the campus vpn or connection while in the Long Business Economics Library)
This module from S&P covers executive and director compensation, deferred compensation, pension benefits, equity awards, and stock options for over 3,000 U.S. corporations.

Mergent Online (on campus or proxy server access required)
For U.S. corporations, Mergent provides current information on insider holdings, insider trading, and institutional holdings.

Riskmetrics through the Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) (access requires use of the campus vpn or connection while in the Long Business Economics Library)
RiskMetrics delivers to WRDS four datasets identified as: RiskMetrics Group Historical Governance, Historical Directors data, Voting Results data, and Shareholder Proposal data. The Directors Data includes a range of variables related to individual board directors (e.g., name, age, tenure, gender, committee memberships, independence classification, primary employer and title, number of other public company boards serving on, shares owned, etc.). The IRRC Governance database (also known as IRRC Takeover Defense database) provides information on takeover defense and other corporate governance provisions for major US firms. Shareholder Proposal Data, from 1997 through 2007, includes proposals that came to a vote as well as those that did not (e.g., because they were withdrawn by the proponent or allowed to be omitted from the proxy by the SEC).

Private Equity and Venture Capital

Private equity (PE) consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity. Private equity capital is raised from retail and institutional investors. It is be used to develop new technologies, increase working capital within a company, acquire other companies, or enhance a balance sheet.

Venture capital (VC) is financing for new businesses, provided by investors to startup firms and small businesses that have potential for long-term growth. VC is a very important source of funding for startups without access to capital markets. Often entailing high risk, VC has the potential for above-average returns.

SDC Platinum (available only on a workstation in the Long Business-Economics Library with assistance of reference staff)
SDC contains deal data, including private equity and venture capital investment. Its search engine allows for the use of numerous variables including industry, locale, funding stage, and size of funding.

Industry Information

Industry reports usually contain statistics, trend information, and identify major competitors.

Many industry reports are broken down by government classification schemes such as the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) or the, now out of date, Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC). Unfortunately these hierarchical schemes often are not current enough to cover new markets or are not specific enough to cover small sub-industries. Consequently, it is sometimes necessary to use a surrogate industry when the one that you need is not available or select an industry higher up the hierarchy.

U.S. & Non-U.S.

Business Source Complete (BSC) (on campus or proxy server access required)
BSC provides nearly 5,000 Datamonitor industry reports that provide broad worldwide coverage. Datamonitor studies are both current and historical. BSC also provides industry reports from other publishers, such as the Icon Group and IHS Global Insight (USA); however, they are mostly out of date.

Thomson Research/Investext (on campus or proxy server access required)
Investment analyst reports on industries can provide very valuable information on sales, competitors, trends, market share, and product development.

Ibis World Industry Market Research (on campus or proxy server access required)
Its up to date, 20-30 page reports cover 700 U.S. industries.

Non-U.S.

ISI Emerging Markets Database (on campus or proxy server access required)
Company, industry, macroeconomic, stock market information, and news for over 80 developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Australia.?? Many of the publications are in the vernacular of the country. Current and historical information is provided. Data is exportable in Excel format.

Business Monitor Online (BMO) (on campus or proxy server access required)
BMO provides quarterly, up-dated market forecast reports on 14 industry sectors in 55 countries. Industries covered include: Automotives, Chemicals, Banking, Defense and Security, Retail Food and Drink, Freight Transport, IT, Infrastructure, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Telecommunications and Media, and Tourism.

Real Estate

Bloomberg (requires a Bloomberg account available at the Law Library Reference Desk)
Bloomberg contains data on construction, housing sales, rents, mortgage rates, foreclosures, vacancy rates, REITs, commercial properties, and other real estate related topics. Many series cover non-U.S. as well as U.S. markets.

Federal Housing Finance Agency
FHFA links to a number of free sources on housing sales, prices, trends and interest rates.

Accounting

CCH Internet Tax Research NetWork (on campus or proxy server access required)
CCH provides access to current codes, regulations, and cases as well as historical and proposed changes. Editorial commentary gives expert evaluation and interpretation of tax issues and trends. Federal, state, and international taxes are covered.

Comperio (available only on a workstation in the Long Business-Economics Library with assistance of reference staff)
Comperio is a comprehensive online library of current, official accounting documents and standards from professional organizations such the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

RIA Checkpoint (on campus or proxy server access required)
This tax database provides comprehensive coverage of U.S. federal and state tax matters. It also includes a section of primary material and sources, with the complete federal tax code, regulations, committee reports, rulings, and more. International tax and some foreign tax law are covered. RIA Worldwide Tax Law provides English translations of tax and commercial laws from jurisdictions around the world.

Economic Statistics and Forecasts

Global Financial Data (GDF) (on campus or proxy server access required)
Contains over 15,000 files for the United States, Europe and other countries that include data on Employment, Government Receipts and Expenditures, Industrial Production, International Trade, Monetary Aggregates and National Accounts. Data is exportable to Excel.

CEIC Global Database (on campus or proxy server access required)
Covers over 110 countries and provides current and historical data on national accounts, industrial, sales, construction-property, demographics-labor, domestic and foreign trade, stock markets, banking, inflation, monetary, forex, investment, tourism, and transportation, and telecom. Data is exportable to Excel.

Last edited by Gary Peete, 21 June 2011