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Edgar Narrows the Information Gap

This was originally sent to subscribers of TheStreet.com Stocks Under $10 on April 10 at 1:33 p.m. EDT. For more information on this newsletter, click here.

The flow of free news and financial data has made it easier for at-home investors to do much of their own stock research. Technology has played a large role in improving the dissemination of market-moving information, which is why we believe the future is bright for Edgar Online (EDGR).

We aren't taking a position for the model portfolio because we believe our capital is better used to increase our positions in our One-rated names into weakness. Even so, we would be compelled to consider adding Edgar Online if the stock fell 10% below the recent quote of $4.74.

Edgar Online is a leading provider of financial and competitive information on publicly traded companies such as Google (GOOG) and Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report). Specifically, the company aggregates information provided in corporate filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission into an easy-to-use online database. Edgar sells its services to financial companies and individual investors through its Web site, essentially helping to level the playing field by narrowing the information gap between Wall Street and Main Street.

After the dot-com bubble burst in March 2000, shares of Edgar traded in a narrow range between $1 a share and $3 a share, but recently the stock has found new life. The main reason for increased bullish investor sentiment appears to be Edgar's Jan.18 announcement that it will be the first company to use eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, to deliver financial information on companies based in China.

XBRL is based on XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, and uses tags based on standardized industry definitions to describe and identify different categories of financial information, according to Edgar Online. As individual investors become savvier, consumer demand for more-easily accessible financial data should drive demand for XBRL-based financial reporting standards.

XBRL has the support of SEC Chairman Christopher Cox as a standard for companies to use when filing their financial statements with the SEC. In fact, Cox said on CNBC that implementing XBRL could make it easier for investors to access and understand financial data. Not to be outdone, the U.K. could make XBRL mandatory by 2010, according to news stories.

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