Annual Report (ARS): A firm's annual statement of operating and financial results. The annual report contains an income statement, a balance sheet, a statement of changes in financial position, an auditor's report, and a summary of operations. Because many annual reports are prepared with public relations as a primary focus, serious investors should obtain a copy of a firm's 10–K in order to obtain detailed financial data.
10-K: An annual report of a firm's operations filed with the SEC. Compared with the typical annual report sent to stockholders, a 10–K is much less physically attractive; however, it contains many more detailed operating and financial statistics, including information on legal proceedings and management compensation.
SEC: The U.S. government agency, established in 1934, charged with protecting investors and maintaining the integrity of the securities markets. The SEC requires public companies to disclose meaningful financial information to the public, and it oversees participants in the securities business including stock exchanges, broker-dealers, investment advisors, mutual funds, and public utility holding companies.
Note: All the definitions listed above are from Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company.