During lunch yesterday, I came across this tweet from tech writer John C. Dvorak:
BP stock tanking today because of this article: http://bit.ly/aiHyhq which says they are going to go broke
If you haven’t read the article, it’s a quick one-page interview with oil industry expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
Like everyone else, I’ve been following the disaster on the news, but the tweet and the article prompted me to wonder more about BP’s finances. Luckily, I work at the library and know that we have two great investment research resources on tap, Mergent and our newest database, Morningstar Investment Research Center. Since it’s such a new addition to our database lineup, I decided to give Morningstar a try to see what it could tell me about BP.
Morningstar’s clean interface left me no doubt where to enter my search, and the predictive text popped up the legal name of BP so I knew I was getting the right company.
Here’s a screenshot of the beginning of the entry for BP:
There’s a lot of data packed into that clean looking screen! My questions were all about BP’s stock price, so I clicked on Quote. Here’s a screenshot of the top of that page:
I immediately noticed Morningstar includes information from the current trading day. (Our other investment database, Mergent, wouldn’t let me draw a chart that included current trading day information.) While I was studying the page, it automatically refreshed to update the data. The chart component is easy to read & manipulate, and the data points are all labeled well. How much clearer can you be than to say than this?
(Interestingly, as I’m writing this post, those numbers have changed. About 30 minutes ago, consider buying was at $28 I believe, and sell was at $112.)
Since I’m the first to admit that I’m NOT an investment expert, I was intrigued by the link “What does Morningstar think about BP Plc” below the chart. The link takes you to a collection of reports on BP, analyzing the effect of recent BP news on the future outlook of the company. Here’s a snippet of part of the report by analyst Catharina Milostan:
BP may have the cash resources and funding options to cover the costs to stop the oil leak, contain the oil spill, and repair damaged Gulf Coast shorelines. However, it may take years for BP to resolve regulatory and legal issues–and, more importantly, to rebuild its reputation.
One last impressive thing about Morningstar: since most of us have retirement savings invested in mutual funds, you might be curious to know if your fund owns any stock in BP. Morningstar provides two different ways to find out. First, the Fund Ownership section at the bottom of the Snapshot page shows you the major fund owners and links to a more complete listing, including lists of funds buying and selling BP stock. (It will be really interesting to see which funds will move from buying to selling BP stock and visa versa over the next few months!)
The other way to see if you own BP is to click over to the Portfolio tab of the database. Use the X-Ray a Portfolio option to plug in the ticker for your fund to see its report. In the Top 10 Holdings section, click Holdings Details to see which assets the fund owns.
Overall, I was highly impressed with Morningstar Investment Research Center as a source for up-to-the-minute information that might affect your investment decisions. Give it a try some time!