In this tutorial, you’ll learn what goes into an equity research report, including how it differs from a stock pitch in terms of structure and argument, the main sections of the reports, and how you might write your own reports.

by Mergers & Inquisitions

What’s In An Equity Research Report?

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Stock Pitches vs. Equity Research Reports

Part 2: The 4 Main Differences in Research Reports

Part 3: Sample Reports and the Typical Sections

Recap and Summary

Part 1: Stock Pitches vs. Equity Research Reports

The main difference is that equity research reports are like “watered-down” stock pitches: you still recommend for or against investment in a public company, but your views are weaker, “Sell” recommendations are rare, and you spend a lot more time describing the company and its operations and financials.

By contrast, in hedge fund stock pitches you take more extreme views and spend more time explaining how your views differ from those of the market as a whole.

Part 2: The 4 Main Differences in Research Reports

1) There’s More Emphasis on Recent Results and Announcements

2) Far-Outside-the-Mainstream Views Are Less Common

3) Research Reports Give “Target Prices” Rather Than Target Price Ranges

4) The Investment Thesis, Catalysts, and Risk Factors Are “Looser”

Part 3: Sample Reports and the Typical Sections

The main sections of a report are as follows:

Page 1: Update, Rating, Price Target, and Recent Results

The first page of an “Update” report states the bank’s recommendation (Buy, Hold, or Sell, sometimes with slightly different terminology), and gives recent updates on the company.

A specific “target price” must be based on specific multiples and specific assumptions in a DCF or DDM.

So with Jazz, we explain that the $170.00 target is based on 20.7x and 15.3x EV/EBITDA multiples for the comps, and a discount rate of 8.07% and Terminal FCF growth rate of 0.3% in the DCF.

Next: Operations and Financial Summary

Next, you’ll see a section with lots of graphs and charts detailing the company’s financial performance, market share, and important metrics and ratios.

For a pharmaceutical company like Jazz, you might see revenue by product, pricing and # of patients per product per year, and EBITDA margins.

For a commercial bank like Shawbrook, you might see loan growth, interest rates, interest income and net income, and regulatory capital figures such as the Common Equity Tier 1 (CET 1) and Tangible Common Equity (TCE) ratios:

This section of the report explains how the research analyst/associate forecast the company’s performance and came up with the numbers used in the valuation.

Valuation

The valuation section is the one that’s most similar in a research report and a stock pitch.

In both fields, you explain how you arrived at the company’s implied value, which usually involves pasting in a DCF or DDM analysis and comparable companies and transactions.

The methodologies are the same, but the assumptions might differ substantially.

In research, you’re also more likely to point to specific multiples, such as the 75th percentile EV/EBITDA multiple, and explain why they are the most meaningful ones.

Investment Thesis, Catalysts, and Risks

This section is short, and it is more of an afterthought than anything else.

We do give reasons for why these companies might be mispriced, but the reasoning isn’t that detailed and it’s not linked to specific share prices.

Banks present Investment Risks mostly so they can say, “Well, we warned you there were risks and that our recommendation might be wrong.”

Equity Research Report
Image source: YouTube