When there’s news at a publicly traded company, there’s probably also an 8-K filing. These are the filings that many investors watch most closely, and among the ones companies file most often. Beat Basics: MORE on 8-K Filings An introduction Kinds of 8-Ks Tips and Tricks Traps and mistakes Resources Video tour: 8-K Glossary of [...]
Theo Francis, a veteran financial and investigative reporter who runs Disclosure Matters LLC and works closely with footnoted.com, has put together a step-by-step guide through SEC documents.
One often-overlooked feature of the 8-K is the number that designates which 8-K “item” is being reported by a particular filing. These numeric codes appear in the Edgar filing database’s list of results. They also often appear in the alert emails or results lists for third-party filings services, and some such services also let you use the categories to narrow your searches; that lets you you can zero in on, say, director departures and related events. Often even a single development can trigger disclosure under multiple items.
The 8-K’s strong suit for reporters is news. After all, companies use them to disclose (or try to bury) news of their own.
Most 8-K filings are pretty straightforward, but some can still prove confusing. Some companies bury important information, or emphasize the rosy and downplay the gloomy. Further complicating matters: widespread misconceptions about what companies are required to do, and what kinds of developments are significant enough to appear in an 8-K.
The SEC’s Edgar database is free and relatively simple. Start with the company search page to find a particular company’s filings, by name or ticker symbol. Use the full text-search page to search across companies for individual words, or for phrases (use quote marks); see the proxy guide’s Introduction for a screen shot. The advanced version of the full-text search page lets you filter by company name, date, type of form and other details.
Beat Basics: MORE on 8-Q Filings An introduction Kinds of 8-Ks Tips and Tricks Traps and mistakes Resources Video tour: 8-K Glossary of key terms More SEC database info Theo Francis, freelance journalist and researcher for Disclosure Matters LLC, takes us on a tour of a 8-Q filing by Philip Morris, Walmart and others. This [...]
In this tutorial, we look at quarterly reports issued by publicly traded companies and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Called 10-Q filings, they can range from dozens to hundreds of pages long.
A full course in finance is beyond the scope of this guide. But for those new to examining a company’s financial statements, a few basics may be helpful.
The 10-Q is a multi-purpose tool. You can use it to break news, to get a better understanding of the companies you cover, or simply for reference, to fill in the gaps as you report and write.