Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys is a 3 volume set arranged alphabetically by 52 broad industry groups. Each industry is updated twice annually. The cost per year of this subscription is $2462.

Each industry entry, averaging about 40 pages, starts with a discussion of the current environment of the industry, followed by an industry profile, a glossary of industry terms, trade journals and associations, and a 3-4 page comparative analysis of companies within the industry. The charts within each industry are interesting. For example, in Environmental & Waste Management, charts include U.S.recycling rates for common materials, percent of various materials in municipal solid waste, landfill capacity, etc.

The first 125 pages are repeated in each volume and include an alphabetical index to all companies mentioned within the industry surveys, industry subsector valuations and summaries, and S&P GICS Composite 1500 Component Statistics.

OneSource also has a great deal of industry information, but it's strength is the depth of information on various aspects of industries, for example analysts reports and market share information. There is no place within OneSource to get a summary of the industry (at least that I could find). The strength of this set, then, is having all of this information in one place, readable and understandable in a logical, linear fashion.

So, what's the verdict?

11 comments:

Kristin said...

I vote that we keep this. It is a gem of a reference source that presents each industry in context, painting a clear-cut picture of its current state, as well as an historical overview. Its easy-to-navigate, organized structure makes it actually a pleasure to peruse. For people who are hands-on with their investments or for those who are considering opening a business, it is an excellent resource. A question to consider might be whether it would be as valuable if we could get it every other year? It is updated twice a year...so would that be something to contemplate?

Romina said...

This is a great resource for those that are interested in finding information about what industries to invest in. I think if we keep it, we have to get it on an yearly basis, due to the timely information included. Industries and markets can change quickly.

barbara said...

I agree with Kristin and with Romina. This resource is accessible and works well for a variety of people working on different levels - from students to business people. This is a case where we need to subscribe each year rather than every other year. I use it in conjunction with Factiva for the most current data.

JiHae said...

$2462 per year is expensive. However, I guess that's the price you have to pay for a business reference source that is actually written and laid out for the average person (such as yours truly)to be able to understand. If I had any money to actually invest in the market, I would read these large tomes from cover to cover... maybe. Keep.

mlh said...

I agree with everyone. We are in a very shakey economic time and our clients are probalby going to need this kind of a resource for financial management. Mary Lou

Catherine Harper said...

I’d say we should keep this, in spite of the hefty price tag, but, after having looked more closely at what we’re getting from OneSource, I don’t feel as strongly about it as I once would have. In fact, it wouldn’t take a great deal to convince me to give it up. S&P has one main advantage as I see it: ease of use. It also has S&P’s reputation behind it. But for narrower industry categories, it actually offers less information than OneSource.

To get an idea of how they compare, I searched for industry reports on the soft drink industry. OneSource offers two fairly current ones, from the Freedonia Group (for SIC 2086—dated 12/20/07) and Datamonitor (for NAICS 312111—dated 10/2007). I saved them to the desk top on the reference desk computer in case you want to take a quick look. (Too bad there’s no way to link to them here).

S&P, on the other hand, does not have a report for the soft drinks industry, although you will find information in their article on Foods & Nonalcoholic Beverages (12/13/2007). The discussions of industry trends and how the industry operates cover all food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, and less than a quarter of the eight-page section covers beverages—and even less than that is about soft drinks (as opposed to bottled water). Only one out of six of the charts and tables is specifically devoted to soft drinks. The Comparative Company Analysis tables do have soft drinks as a separate category, though.

For large industry categories like the airline industry, the reports offered by OneSource and S&P are comparable in detail, but different enough in their content to complement each other well.

I guess I’d say that if we ever find ourselves unable to afford OneSource, I would definitely vote for dropping S&P and putting that money into OneSource. I’d also like to see if there are other business and investment databases out there that we could spend $2500 a year on that would provide information that is not also provided by any of our other sources.

Janie L. Hermann said...

I would like to pipe in with a big "yeah that" to everything that CH said. I am all for keeping it, but could also be convinced to drop it in favor of OneSource.

Cynthia said...

I would pass. All of the information is available via other sources, some free. The only real advantage to this source is that it is easy to read and in one place--but that is a really high price for ease of use.

Jane said...

Hmmmm....mixed opinions. I'm going to have to decide. I'll think on it let you all know.

Jane said...

GS says: I like it. Keep it.

Jane said...

We will keep.