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The Value of Equity Research

Equity research is an invaluable asset for anyone looking to stay up-to-date on market and industry trends. In this guide, you will learn about the type of information contained in equity research, the value it offers to corporate professionals, and how the most advanced teams are already leveraging the expertise of Wall Street’s top analysts to inform critical business decisions.

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Introduction

Equity research, which forms a multi-billion dollar industry for investment banks, is produced by thousands of analysts worldwide to provide the market with valuable information on companies, industries, and market trends. Today, over 90% of equity research is consumed by fund managers, who have the Wall Street relationships to acquire it and the analyst resources to mine it for insights. For corporate strategy professionals who lack this access, however, equity research has historically been challenging to obtain and navigate.

To help corporations circumvent these challenges, AlphaSense has introduced Wall Street Insights, the first and only equity research collection purpose-built for the corporate user. Through the AlphaSense platform, any business making strategic plans or product decisions, conducting competitive analysis, evaluating M&A, or engaging in investor relations can now tap into the deep industry expertise of Wall Street’s top analysts.

Chapter 1

What is Equity Research?

Equity research is developed by sell-side firms to help investors and hedge fund managers discover market opportunities and make informed investment decisions. Increasingly, this expert analysis has also been identified by forward-looking corporations as a highly valuable tool to inform strategic decision-making.

There are thousands of sell-side firms that employ expert analysts around the globe to write equity research for the market. The majority of firms producing equity research are hyper-focused and only have one or two analysts developing reports on a specific industry. However, larger firms, such as Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, collectively employ thousands of analysts to write reports on thousands of public companies--covering everything from TMT giants to niche products.

Equity research analysts are deep subject matter experts who are often former executives, industry veterans, or academics. These analysts conduct in-depth research and publish reports on corporations, industries, and macro trends, offering an expert lens into a subject.

Historically, over 90% of equity research was consumed by buy-side fund managers, who had the Wall Street relationships to acquire it and the analyst resources to mine it for insights. For buy-side professionals, equity research is a critical tool to inform sound investment decisions backed by expert insights.

Today, equity research is increasingly relied upon by corporate teams as a high-value source of information. These teams leverage equity research to make strategic business plans, conduct competitive analysis, evaluate mergers and acquisitions, and make product and marketing decisions. For corporations, the value of equity research lies in the detailed coverage of their company, their competitors, and how they are performing related to the marketplace they are within.

Chapter 2

What is an Equity Research Report?

An equity research report is a document prepared by an equity research analyst that often provides insight on whether investors should buy, hold, or sell shares of a public company. In an equity research report, an analyst lays out their recommendation, target price, investment thesis, valuation, and risks.

There are multiple forms of equity research, including (but not limited to):

  • Company Reports

    An update report that highlights the latest news, company announcements, earnings reports, Buy Sell Hold ratings, M&A activity, anything that impacts the value of the company.

  • Initiation Reports

    A comprehensive company report that is compiled when an analyst or firm initiates their coverage of a stock. Initiation reports cover all of the divisions and products of a company in-depth to provide a baseline of what the company is and how it is performing. Initiation reports can be tens to hundreds of pages long, depending on the complexity of a company.

  • Industry Reports

    General industry updates that cover a group of similar companies within a sector. Industry-specific reports typically dive into additional factors such as loan growth, interest rates, interest income, net income, and regulatory capital.

  • Commodities Reports:

    A report compiled by research firms either daily or weekly. These reports can often be a great place to get more in-depth insight on commodities and also get market opinions from commodity analysts or traders who write the reports.

  • Flash Reports

    A quick 1-2 page report that comments on a news release from a company or other quick information

What is Included in a Typical Equity Research Report?

Research reports don’t need to follow a specific formula. Analysts at different investment banks have some latitude in determining the look and feel of their reports. But more often than not, research reports follow a certain protocol of what investors expect them to look like.

A typical equity research report includes in-depth industry research, management analysis, financial histories, trends, forecasting, valuations, and recommendations for investors. Sometimes called broker research reports or investment research reports, equity research reports are designed to provide a comprehensive snapshot that investors or corporate leaders can leverage to make informed decisions.

Here’s a quick overview of what a standard equity research report covers:

  • Recent Results and Announcements

    This section covers events, such as quarterly results, guidance, and general company updates.

  • Upgrades/Downgrades

    Upgrades/Downgrades are positive or negative changes in an analyst’s outlook of a particular stock valuation. These updates are usually triggered by qualitative and quantitative analysis that contributes to an increase or decrease in the financial valuation of that security.

  • Estimate/Price Target Revisions

    Estimates are detailed projections of what a company will earn over the next several years. Valuations of those earnings estimates form price targets. The price target is based on assumptions about the asset’s future supply & demand and fundamentals.

  • Management Overview and Commentary

    Management Overview and Commentary helps potential investors understand the quality and makeup of a company’s management team. This section can also include a history of leadership within the company and their record with capital allocation, ESG, compensation, incentives, stock ownership. Plus, an overview of the company’s board of directors.

  • Industry Overview

    This section covers competitors, industry trends, and a company’s standing among its sector. Industry research includes everything from politics to economics, social trends, technological innovation, and more.

  • Historical Financial Results

    Historical Financial Results typically cover the history of a company’s stock, plus expectations based on the current market and events surrounding it. To determine if a company is at or above market expectations, Analysts must deeply understand the history of a specific industry and find patterns or trends to support their recommendations.

  • Valuation

    Based on the market analysis, historical financial results, etc., an analyst will run equity valuation models. In some cases, analysts will run more than one valuation model to determine the worth of company stock or asset.

    Absolute valuation models: calculates a company’s or asset’s inherent value.

    Relative equity valuation models: calculates a company’s or asset’s value relative to another company or asset. Relative valuations base their numbers on price/sales, price/earnings, price/cash flow.

  • Recommendations

    An equity research analyst’s recommendation to buy, hold, or sell. The analyst also will have a target price that tells investors where they expect the stock to be in a year’s time.

Chapter 3

What Does an Equity Research Analyst Do?

Equity research analysts exist on both the buy-side and the sell-side of the financial services market. Although these roles differ, both buy-side and sell-side analysts produce reports, projections, and recommendations for specific companies and stocks.

An equity research analyst specializes in a group of companies in a particular industry or country to develop high-level expertise and produce accurate projects and recommendations. Since ER analysts generally focus on a small set of stocks (5-20), they become specialists in those specific companies and industries that they evaluate or follow. These analysts monitor market data and news reports and speak to contacts within the companies/industries they study to update their research daily.

Analysts need to comprehend everything about their ‘coverage’ to give investment endorsements. Equity research analysts must be conversant with the business regulations and regime policies within the country to decide how it will affect the market environment and business in general. The more you understand the industries in detail, the easier it will be for you to decipher market dynamics.

One prevalent aspect of an equity research analyst’s job is building and maintaining valuable relationships with corporate leaders, clients, and peers. Equity research is largely about an analyst’s ability to service clients and provide insightful ideas that positively influence their investing strategy.

Equity Research Analysts:
  • Analyze stocks to help portfolio managers make better-informed investment decisions.
  • Analyze a stock against market activity to predict a stock’s outlook.
  • Develop investment models and provide trading strategies.
  • Provide expertise on markets and industries based on their competitive analysis, business analysis, and market research.
  • Use data to model and measure the financial risk associated with particular investment decisions.
  • Understand the details of various markets to compare a company’s and sector’s stock

Buy-Side vs. Sell-Side Analysts

Although the roles of buy-side and sell-side analysts do overlap in some respects, the purpose of their research differs.

In a buy-side firm, such as a hedge fund or a wealth management firm, an equity research analyst typically supplies information and recommendations to the firm’s investment managers, who oversee client investment portfolios and make decisions about what stocks to buy, sell, and hold. A buy-side analyst makes a direct impact on an investor’s portfolio.

In a sell-side firm, such as a brokerage or a bank, an equity research analyst produces reports and recommendations for sales agents and clients. Unlike a buy-side analyst, a sell-side analyst’s work is not used internally to make investment decisions. Instead, a sell-side analyst’s work is either sold to clients or is used to influence the buy-side’s investment decisions.

Chapter 4

How Do Corporates Currently Access Equity Research?

If you were to Google “equity research reports,” you would not get access to equity research, earnings call transcripts or trade journals. You would, however, discover an unmanageable amount of noise to sift through.

Accessing equity research reports is highly dependent on relationships and entitlements, particularly for corporate teams. Unlike financial firms and investor relations teams, who can access equity research by procuring the right entitlements, corporate teams have a much harder time finding and purchasing high-quality equity research.

If you were to search online for equity research, for example, you would be presented with sub-par options such as:

  • Research resellers

    Some websites allow you to search for research reports on companies or by firms. Some of the reports are free, but you must pay for most of them. Prices range from just $15 to thousands of dollars.

  • Summary sites

    If you want just the bottom-line recommendations from analysts, many sites summarize the data. Nearly all the websites that provide stock quotes also compile analyst recommendations, however, you will only get the big picture and not any of the detailed analysis.

  • Research providers

    Some independent research providers sell their reports directly to investors. These reports typically include an overview of what a stock’s price could be, plus an analysis of the company’s earnings. These reports often cost less than $100 but can be more.

The majority of equity research is completely unsearchable, which is why AlphaSense’s Wall Street Insights is changing the game for corporations globally. Now, with WSI, corporations can leverage this high-quality research to augment their understanding of specific companies and industries; plus, AlphaSense’s corporate clients can now conduct more meaningful analysis and make more data-driven decisions.

Real-Time vs. Aftermarket

Real-Time Research: Real-Time research is available to eligible users (based on an entitlement) immediately upon publication by the broker. Financial Services users with entitlements are the primary consumers of real-time research, while some Corporate professionals are also eligible. Payment for real-time research is made directly from clients to brokers through trading commissions or hard dollar agreements.

Aftermarket Research: Aftermarket research is a collection of many of the same documents as the real-time collection, but it is available after a zero to fifteen-day delay. Investment bankers, consultants, and corporate users are the primary consumers of Aftermarket research.

Chapter 5

What is Wall Street Insights?

Wall Street Insights is the first and only equity research collection purpose-built for the corporate market, providing corporations unprecedented access to a deep pool of equity research reports from thousands of expert analysts.

Through partnerships with Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, Bernstein, Bernstein Autonomous, Cowen, Deutsche Bank, Evercore ISI, HSBC, and others, corporate professionals can now access the world’s most revered equity research, indexed and searchable in the AlphaSense platform.

From macro market trends and industry analyses to company deep-dives, the Wall Street Insights content collection provides corporate professionals with a 360-degree view of every market. With the valuable expertise of thousands of analysts on your side, corporate teams can quickly compare insights, validate internal assumptions, and generate new ideas to guide critical business decisions and strategies.

In terms of search and accessibility, Wall Street Insights is the first of its kind. Not only does AlphaSense offer hard-to-find equity research reports, but we also provide a robust and seamless search experience.

Chapter 6

What Research Do You Get Access to with WSI?

Get access to the world's leading equity research with Wall Street Insights. Download the e-book to learn more about equity research from Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Bernstein, Deutsche Bank, and more.

“We are delighted to partner with AlphaSense to expand access to Morgan Stanley’s global research platform,” says Simon Bound, Global Head of Research at Morgan Stanley. We have over 600 publishing analysts covering companies, industries, commodities, and macroeconomic developments across more than 50 countries. Morgan Stanley will bring corporates a unique perspective from our best in class analysts, a global platform, and a collaborative culture that enables us to unravel the most complex market and industry trends.”

Chapter 7

How Can Companies Leverage Equity Research?

Discover how the world's most innovative companies leverage Wall Street Insights to make critical business decisions every day. Download the e-book to read real case studies from a Corporate Development team and a Corporate Strategy team.

AlphaSense’s corporate users are typically Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development, and Investor Relations professionals. Today, thousands of enterprises rely on equity research to power data-driven decision making. These teams leverage equity research reports to:

  • Create investment ideas
  • Monitor peers in real-time (and discover what equity research is being produced about them)
  • Model and evaluate companies (for M&A or general benchmarking)
  • Dive deep into customers, partners, and prospects
  • Get up-to-speed quickly on specific industry trends
  • Prepare for earnings season

Ready to explore the world's leading equity research

From macro market trends and industry analyses to company deep-dives, the Wall Street Insights content collection provides corporate professionals with a 360-degree view of every market. With the valuable expertise of thousands of analysts on your side, corporate teams can quickly compare insights, validate internal assumptions, and generate new ideas to guide critical business decisions and strategies.

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Wall Street Insights

Wall Street Insights: Equity Research for Corporate Teams

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