Access to listed company data is easy to come by but equally hard to access. I know, that’s contradictory, so let me explain and illustrate two top free online services.
If you have an online brokerage account with one of the large brokers you get most company data included with access to your account (which you pay for via the admin fee that also gives you other bells and whistles such as research, education, charts and the like).
However if you do not have an online brokerage account, or if it’s a zero frills account, you have little access to more detailed data. So then what? Well the company website is one place, but that’s often a web 1.0 maze of confusing links and frankly missing data in a range of conflicting formats. Then of course what of data on international stocks and what’s the quality of the locally listed company data?
So then we turn to Google Finance (google.com/finance). This portal has been around for about a decade but only recently did they start including JSE listed companies. What you’ll find is an absolute treasure trove of information. It includes basic stuff such as news, historic price data (downloadable and in an interactive chart format). You get directors, related companies and 15-minute delayed prices during the day.
For an even richer experience, visit the Thomson Reuters website (reuters.com/finance/stocks/). This is where the free online service really scores, as the ratios supplied are way better than anything I have seen on local broker sites. The local brokers all pretty much get the data from the same source, Profile Media, and they do a great job; but the Thomson Reuters ratios go much further and really add to the ability to analyse a company. On the Reuters site you even get consensus data, and if you’re prepared to pony up some cash, you can buy research reports on a number of JSE listed stocks. Reuters also has charting ability that is better than on Google, albeit Google wins on the ability to download the historic price data.
I use both websites but Reuters has a richer experience and as such is the better of the two websites; unless one wants price data for download, then it’s Google.
Something to keep in mind is that when searching on the two websites you need to append the local share codes. On Google ABL would become JSE:ABL and on Reuters ABL becomes ABLJ.J.