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3. Collecting Financial Data > The Best Data for Free

The Best Data for Free

Data that helps you evaluate investments doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg—or anything at all for that matter.

SEC filings, such as the 10-K and 10-Q forms, provide data as reported by the company. Without any value-added manipulation [Hack #15] and [Hack #20] , you have to judge for yourself whether data truly reflects a company’s performance. Many web sites provide information suitable for your initial research and qualitative evaluations. In addition, you can use Excel web queries [Hack #7] to extract data directly from web pages into a spreadsheet for processing and ratio analysis. The only time free data falls short is when you want to feed an investment analysis program [Hack #38] and [Hack #53] that runs on your computer. These programs require data in a specific format, and it’s just too much trouble to format free data to fit their specifications.


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