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Trefis crafts search for info-starved investors

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The world really does need another search engine. At least both do-it-yourself and professional investors do, according to Trefis, which is launching a new search option that it says will return only pertinent, rich data about  the companies these investors follow.

The new Trefis search separates the wheat from the chaff, said founder and CEO Manish Jhunjhunwala in an interview Friday. The service will augment the Trefis financial information site launched two years ago.

If you were to run a search on “coffee” on Google (s GOOG) or Yahoo Finance (s YHOO) or another search engine, you would get a ton of responses including a list of coffee companies, but none of them very useful, he noted.

But with Trefis search, “you will instead get rich data around Starbucks (s sbux), McDonalds (s MCD), and Dunkin Donuts (s dunk), information about their revenue, their profit margin, units sold and revenue per customer,” he said.

That builds on Trefis’ original thesis that for an investor to know about a company’s financials, he must know about that company’s products and how well (or not) they are selling.

For example, if you’re an investor following Disney (s DIS), you might wonder what Disney’s largest business is. “Is it Mickey Mouse and characters? Is it parks and resorts? Is it movies? Well, if you go to Trefis, you’d see that ESPN is actually Disney’s largest business. ABC, Lifetime, parks and resorts are all small [by comparison]. Parks and resorts make up around 10 percent of Disney’s business,” Jhunjhunwala said. (See the Trefis Disney analysis here.)

If investors know that type of info they can make more intelligent assumptions about how different macro events will affect Disney’s prospects.

Similarly, if you follow Apple (s AAPL) you probably would like to know how much of Apple’s stock price is related to iPad as opposed to iPhone as opposed to Macs. Trefis experts — many of them are former Wall Street sell-side analysts — have already been compiling that sort of data since the company launched the site two years ago and their knowledge informs the search results (as it turns out, Trefis estimates that iPhone accounts for  52 percent of Apple’s stock value compared to 12.2 percent for iPad, and 12 percent for Macintosh.)

Trefis services  — both its existing online research and the new search — are free to casual, intermittent users but people who run a lot of analyses and searches will hit a pay wall. At that point, the Trefis Pro service is available for $15 per user per month.

Boston-based Trefis has partnerships with ETrade and Microsoft (s MSFT) Bing search.