What is a Tear Sheet?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

In the financial world, tear sheets are sheet reports that provide up to date information about the status of various types of stocks. Generally, a tear sheet will refer to page or sheet that is lifted from the Standard & Poor Stock Report. The page is commonly called a tear sheet, since at one time the page or sheet would be ripped from the binding of the report and forwarded by brokers to various clients.

Tear sheets are used by couriers as a receipt that goods were delivered.
Tear sheets are used by couriers as a receipt that goods were delivered.

The origin of the tear sheet predates the modern methods of communicating with clients through electronic means. Prior to computers, it was not unusual for a broker to contact a client by phone regarding one or more public companies who were receiving high ratings from Standard & Poor in the latest edition of the stock reports. As a follow up to the phone call, the broker would often remove the pages relating to the companies from the current edition. The broker would then forward the loose pages to the client through a courier service or perhaps regular mail. In later years, the tear sheet could be faxed to the client. After reviewing the tear sheet or sheets, the client could advise the broker on whether or not to execute an order on the stocks.

While the traditional use of the tear sheet remains common in some parts of the world, the use of electronic tear sheets has become increasingly the standard. Today, it is possible to access an online database and produce a tear sheet that contains all the vital information about the status of a current company and any stocks or bonds issued by the corporation. An electronic tear sheet can be saved in several different formats and easily emailed to a client for inspection. The use of an electronic tear sheet is especially helpful, in that emailing the document is often faster than any courier service, and even will often be more efficient than faxing the physical tear sheet.

The data that is usually included on the tear sheet will provide an investor with information required to make a decision about buying or selling shares related to a specific company. Along with basic financial data about the corporation, there will be a projection of the future performance of the company, along with information about the current performance levels of the company’s stocks. Reviewing the data and comparing the company’s projected performance to current market trends can help the investor determine what, if any, action is recommended in regard to buying or selling shares.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I am a graphic designer at a small newspaper, and the sales reps use tear sheets to write down the price of an ad, along with the name of the customer, their contact information, and instructions to me on what goes in the ad. Even though a lot of our contact is by email these days, we still continue to use the physical tear sheets.

There is a white sheet attached to a pink and yellow carbon copy, so when the sales rep writes the information once, she will have three copies to distribute. One goes to the customer, one to the graphic designer, and one goes on file at the office.

Lately, they have been asking me to scan in the tear sheets so that they can email them to the customers. I really wish we could just have an electronic form made up so that they could do this themselves, but even if I created one from scratch, they don’t have the design program on their computers, so they couldn’t open it and enter in the new information for each customer.

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