8-Ks, 10-Qs And 10-Ks: How Investors Use SEC Filings

Shareholders of public companies have a legal right to material information and news about what’s going on inside the company. Since shareholders can’t attend management meetings or daily company briefings, companies must disclose this information by filing a number of mandated documents with the SEC.

All of these documents are publicly available to shareholders, and they often serve as catalysts for stocks.<//p>

Here’s a look at three specific types of filings that traders watch for.


A 10-Q filing is a company’s quarterly financial report. When traders refer to a company’s “earnings date” or “earnings report,” they are most often referring to the company’s 10-Q filing. The 10-Q report contains information such as a company’s income, its revenue and its debt levels, and it must be filed within 35 days of the end of each quarter.

Related Link: The Ins And Outs Of Dividend Capture Strategy


A 10-K filing is a company’s annual financial report. A 10-K filing is like a 10-Q on steroids and is typically a much more in-depth report on the business. In addition to all of the standard metrics contained in a 10-Q report, 10-K reports often contain executive compensation figures, audited financial statements, updates about specific business segments or initiatives and commentary on the outlook for the company in the quarters ahead.


Finally, an 8-K filing is a “real-time” report on any important changes that impact the company. Public companies must inform shareholders immediately of “unscheduled material events that are important to shareholders,” and they do so by disclosing them via 8-K filings. Common unplanned events include business deals, employee layoffs, lawsuits, store or factory closings and bankruptcy filings. It’s common for companies to file a number of 8-K forms throughout a given quarter.

Investors can search and monitor all SEC filings on the SEC website.

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