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BUS 107 - O'Neal: First Steps

This guide will help you find information about companies to prepare you for your persuasive speech.

First Steps

 

First, you have to find a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). If you want to browse a listing of the companies on the NYSE, go to the NYSE Listing Directory page and click through the alphabet. If you know your company or just want a different search method, try Yahoo Finance or CNBC.

A good industry to find money-losing companies (not an easy task with the market running hot lately) would be the energy companies, especially minor players such as Marathon Oil (MRO) and oil services companies such as Diamond Offshore (DO, now DOSFQ during bankruptcy). Another good challenge might be Boeing (BA) with their recent 737 Max problems. The materials sector has been somewhat weak, with Freeport-Mcmoran Inc. (FCX) being one example. Industrial giant General Electric (GE) has had lots of issues lately. JC Penney (JCP, now JCPNQ) is always an easy target, as are other retail giants.

How to find Money-Losers:

(1) Try the Fortune 500 list and click the Profits Percent Change column (3 times) to get potential money losers up to the top of the list. A lot will have dashes in the Profits Percent Change column, but go down a few pages and you will find companies with big negative changes in profits. These may lead you to companies with quarterly losses, but remember that even though Berkshire Hathaway had a big swing in profits recently, they are still earnings rich!

(2) Yahoo Finance is a good site to quickly find net income for public companies. It features a nice, clean interface. We will use the aluminum giant Alcoa as a sample company.  The aluminum industry has had some big challenges recently, including the rising dominance of China in aluminum production and growing environmental and sustainability challenges.

Search for the company or enter the ticker symbol (in our case AA) in the search box. You should find a page that has lots of numbers on it. You want to focus on the Financials link.

 

(3) On the Financials page, look at the Net Income from Continuing Operations line under the most recent date. In the case of AA, we can see that they recorded a loss on 12/31/2019. That is what you need to see for the company to qualify for your assignment (see below).