Business House Research - Resource Guides
Statistics Resource Guide - Commercial Websites
DialogWeb (fee-based) is the most straightforward of the comprehensive options for accessing the more than 600 Dialog databases. The Dialog aggregator offers data in an enormous range of areas, include industry, market, and product information. There is company information available for U.S. and international firms both public and private. DialogWeb is one of the resources most likely to help in research of private company data. More technical data is available in the various areas of reference, such as science and technology.
Happily, the Guided Search option does not demand the infamous, esoteric Dialog search language.
One of the relevant databases, TableBase, contains tabular information regarding industries, markets, and products. The Dialog databases' indexing is an invaluable tool. The various output options in DialogWeb allow you to identify the characteristics of the search results before purchasing the entire documents. Dialog's content has always been of primary importance to the researcher; now the interface is updated, and the enhancement is invaluable.
The US Macro database (fee-based) on the DRI-WEFA site gives a ten-year forecast of the U.S. economy, updated monthly. It also offers a twenty-five year forecast, updated semi-annually. The data items here would satisfy the most specialized economist. They include a long list of financial indicators, such as GNP, GDP, imports and exports, CPI, etc. It looks at consumer markets, housing & construction, investment, government, inflation, and labor. It offers projections, as well, of GDP for global regions. The researcher can retrieve packages of data or the entire forecast. It takes specialized training - and patience - to utilize this resource, but this is the definitive source for dependable projections.
There are few resources available for the researcher looking for information on private companies - it is here that Dun & Bradstreet (fee-based) is uniquely useful. The Business Information Reports give the financial information on private companies that is not available anywhere else. The various areas of the report are updated on different schedules. It is not comprehensive because it only has figures that private companies choose to give them. Still, we could not do without it for the basic data and the interface cannot be faulted.
The free material on this site is impressive, with basic company financials, corporate affiliations, and the number of employees one each company page. American and foreign public companies are covered, and even some private companies. It is not in-depth material but it is designed to quickly meet common needs. There is also an area for IPO's.
The fee-based material goes into considerably more detail for public companies, with financial ratios, company history, key personnel, leading brands, competitor comparisons, and other information. This is very processed data, a thorough introduction to a company. For free or for a fee, searching is easy.
The Company Filings area of this fee-based database offers material that the SEC offers for free. So why pay? Because the material has been reformatted, so it is more palatable for the user. The nasty tags on Edgar documents are gone, and you can link to the various areas of the document. The functionality is also improved so the financial information can be viewed in Excel.
This Web site makes electronic filings available as soon as the SEC receives them. Many paper filings are also available, and the database reaches back farther than the Edgar database on the SEC site. It is easy to search. In this fee structure, the user accumulates charges by the minute; many researchers will find this preferable to paying by the document.
S&P NetAdvantage (http://www.netadvantage.standardandpoors.com/netacgi/netadv)
The eleven (fee-based) Standard & Poor's databases that form this resource contain data on a range of business topics focusing on investment. Company information covers stocks, bonds, directors and officers, dividends and the various financials figures; the well-known S&P tear-sheets are available. In addition, there is material covering mutual funds and security dealers, as well as information from the S&P Industry Reports.
The interface here is clear. There are links to data related to the data is on the screen. The supple search mechanisms allow you to search by parameters such as measures of size and location. This is an indispensable resource for company or investment research.
TradStat, one of the specialized (fee-based) products from Thomson Dialog, uses data from governments of twenty-six countries to produce trade information. It often identifies trading partners. The report options are designed to present various types of data for products and countries, or aggregate data for the EU as a whole. There is a specialized report identifying trends.
This search tool is supple, and there are various personalization options, including options for currency and formatting. Some yearly data goes back twenty years, and, it is possible to create alerts. TradStat claims to record ninety percent of world trade - but then it also claims to be "the only way to obtain trade statistics online." At any rate, if you need information regarding international trade, this source should not be overlooked.