Understanding Common Investments: Investing in a Public Company

When you invest in securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), you're buying some of the largest U.S. and foreign corporations. The NYSE lists approximately 1,700
stocks and 2,300 corporate bonds. But many more stocks and bonds are offered on other markets, including the American Stock Exchange, the Pacific Exchange, Boston Stock Exchange,
Chicago Board Options Exchange, and NASDAQ.

Vital Information About Public Companies
Information about public companies whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, or over-the-counter is contained in the documents these public companies file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Among the items reported are:

  • Financial statements
  • Description of business
  • Location and character of principal properties
  • Legal proceedings
  • Stock options and compensation of top executives
  • Proposed offerings of securities
  • Number of shareholders
  • Number of employees

Issuers of registered securities must file annual and other periodic reports that provide a public file of current information about the company. These reports include the 10-K, which
provides a comprehensive overview of the company. The 10-K is filed within 90 days after the close of the company' fiscal year.

The 10-Q is a quarterly financial report filed by most companies, which although unaudited, provides a continuing view of a company's financial position during the year. The
10-Q must be filed 45 days after the close of the fiscal year quarter. To obtain copies of these reports, contact the SEC.