At times, too much information can be worse than not having enough. When picking stocks, focusing on a few companies is more efficient than trying to evaluate many.
Below are sites that provide useful information to investors. They are free but links may be moved or removed, or the services may eventually be provided for a fee. This page will be kept as current as possible.
Securities and Exchange Commission web site. This is the Federal agency that regulates all publicly traded companies. In the Edgar database, enter the company name, and the filings of that company will be listed. The 10-Q report shows the quarterly report, and the 10-K is the annual report. Being able to read financial income statements and balance sheets is very important.
Industry Browser on Yahoo Finance. You can drill down by specific industry to the company level. It is useful to click on specific columns and sort it by industry or by company in a single industry for comparison reasons (by P/E or dividend yield for example).
Analyst Earnings Estimates and History Yahoo Finance page for IBM. To access a different company, enter the symbol and then click on Analyst Estimates in the left margin (or type over the IBM symbol in your browser address bar). It is extremely useful to view the earnings history for a company and also the forecast of what analysts think a company will earn. When a company misses the analysts average estimate, it's often referred to as an earnings surprise, either positive or negative.
Analyst Ratings and History Yahoo Finance page for IBM. To access a different company, enter the symbol and then click on Analyst Opinion in the left margin (or type over the IBM symbol in your browser address bar). It is useful to view the analyst ratings history for a company, but remember they often act like schools of fish (recommending high flying stocks at the same time, regardless of rational valuation of a company).
Earnings Calendar on MSN. The page shows the planned release date for that day, and if you enter a stock symbol, the planned release date for that company for the current quarter will appear.
Dividend Calendar from Thomson Investments that shows companies going X-Dividend for that day. There is also a tab to search by company.
Economic Indicator Calendar on MSN. Quite often, if economic data varies a lot from Wall Street expectations, the stock market can go up or down significantly on that day.
Energy futures on Bloomberg. It is useful if you own energy stocks, or are thinking of buying energy stocks / mutual funds / ETFs.
Federal Deficit of the United States (requires Microsoft Excel). It's over $3 billion a day right now (gross amount, before raiding the Social Security surplus). There are useful historical tables that show the gross total deficit, and as a percent of GDP.
Mutual Fund portal on Yahoo Finance. The fund screener, located in the left margin, is a useful tool for evaluating mutual funds.
ETF portal on Yahoo Finance. A good site to learn about Exchange Traded Mutual Funds.