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Edgar Narrows the Information Gap

This financial data provider helps educate at-home investors.

This was originally sent to subscribers of 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



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


(GOOG) - Get Free 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


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.

Edgar made another XBRL-related announcement Feb. 9, this time with

RR Donnelley

(RRD) - Get Free Report

, the world's leading full-service provider of commercial printing services. RR Donnelley said its global sales force will offer Edgar's I-Metrix suite of XBRL products to RR Donnelley customers, which has the potential to greatly boost Edgar's top line.

And on March 27, Edgar announced a new release of I-Metrix, version 1.5, which includes analyst earnings estimates, revisions and trends, and recommendations for a company, its industry and the

S&P 500

. This upgrade provides cost-conscious customers with a more robust product.

Edgar finished 2005 with a solid balance sheet. The company's cash and investments totaled $5.33 million, or 22 cents a share. In addition, its deferred revenue, which is revenue that has been received by the company but not yet recorded on its income statement, grew to $3.45 million in 2005 from $2.58 million in 2004. While this is listed as a liability on Edgar's income statement, growth in deferred revenue is offset by growth in cash on the balance sheet and is indicative of solid underlying business trends for Edgar.

The company generated a meager $14.3 million in sales in 2005, and lost an unimpressive 22 cents a share. Even so, Edgar should have enough cash on hand to fund operations in 2006. We believe the company would have easy access to equity markets, if need be, based on the recent strength in the Internet sector and the potential for XBRL to drive outsized growth specifically. Presently, only one analyst covers the stock, and his earnings estimates for future periods are not available.

Edgar's shares are not inexpensive; the company's trailing 12-month enterprise-value-to-sales multiple is 8 vs. an industry average enterprise-value-to-sales multiple of closer to 5. Still, we believe the potential for strong sales growth could catapult shares higher.

Robert Renck, who covers the stock for research firm R.L. Renck & Co., estimates that the announcement with RR Donnelley could eventually lead to additional sales of $40 million and additional profits of $27 million. Even if the company achieves only 10% of this assumption in 2006, sales results could easily reach $20 million, or 40% better than 2005 results. This implies a forward enterprise-value-to-sales basis of 5.75, or only a slight premium to its peers.

With the company sporting better than 80% gross margins, incremental revenue gains should lead to meaningful earnings leverage for Edgar in the years to come. With that in mind, we believe the Street will soon take notice and begin recommending shares to clients.

Please note that due to factors including low market capitalization and/or insufficient public float, we consider Edgar Online to be a small-cap stock. You should be aware that such stocks are subject to more risk than stocks of larger companies, including greater volatility, lower liquidity and less publicly available information, and that postings such as this one can have an effect on their stock prices.

William Gabrielski is a research analyst at In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Gabrielski welcomes your feedback;

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to send him an email.

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