Assignment Wk 5 (Autosaved).docx

You can access these company filings using the secs

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Qs and interim reports on Form 8-K. You can access these company filings using the SEC's EDGAR database. While they aren't always exciting reading, SEC filings can be a treasure trove of information about a company. When you're reading a company's financial statements, don't skip over the footnotes. They often contain red flags that can alert you to pending lawsuits, regulatory investigations, or other issues that could have a negative impact on the company's bottom line. The company's prospectus, especially the risk factors section, is another reliable tool to help you evaluate the investment risk of a newly issued stock, an individual mutual fund or exchange- traded fund, or a REIT (real estate investment trust). The investment company offering the mutual fund, ETF, or REIT must update its prospectus every year, including an evaluation of the level of risk you are taking by owning that particular investment. You'll also want to look at how the fund, ETF, or REIT has done in the past, especially if it has been around long enough to have weathered a full economic cycle of market ups and downs—which might be as long as 10 years. Keep in mind, however, that past results cannot predict future performance. Also verify that mutual fund managers have not changed. In actively managed funds, it is the managers' picks that determine returns and the level of risk the fund assumes. Past returns would not reflect a new manager’s performance.
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Rating Services— It's important to check what one or more of the independent rating services has to say about specific corporate and municipal bonds that you may own or may be considering. Each of the rating companies—including A.M. Best Company, Inc.; Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. (also known as DBRS Ltd.); Egan-Jones Rating Company; Fitch, Inc.; Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd.; LACE Financial Corp.; Moody’s Investors Service; Rating and Investment Information, Inc.; Realpoint, LLC (which focuses on commercial mortgage-backed securities); and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services—evaluates the issuing company a little differently, but all of them are focused on the issuer's ability to meet its financial obligations. The higher the letter grade a rating company assigns, the lower the risk you are taking. But remember that ratings aren't perfect and can't tell you whether or not your investment will go up or down in value. Also remember that managing investment risk doesn't mean avoiding risk altogether. There might be times when you include a lower-rated bond or bond fund in your portfolio to take advantage of the higher yield it can provide. Research companies also rate or rank stocks and mutual funds based on specific sets of criteria. Brokerage firms that sell investments similarly provide their assessments of the probable performance of specific equity investments. Before you rely on ratings to select your investments, learn about the methodologies and criteria the research company uses in its ratings. You might find some research companies' methods more useful than others'.
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