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In 2013 we had 64 new posts, just over 110,000 views, and All UK listed companies (part 1) was the most commented post. Of the top 5 posts Journal Ranking – marketing was from 2012, three were from 2011, and one from 2010. Please read Reflecting on Business Research Plus and comment with your suggestions for improvement. [22 January 2014]
Researchers often need to find data on companies that are no longer listed (i.e. dead or inactive companies). Often searching by name will be sufficient, but occasionally further investigation is needed.
Searching for RBS Citizens Financial Group onThomson Reuters Datastream gives some results but none of them equities. Knowing that I am looking for a company acquired by RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland Group) perhaps RBS Citizens Financial Group is the name used after the acquisition.
Searching for citizens financial group gives an equity, Datastream code (DScode) 923677 now dead, as expected, with the last valid price data for O3 Jan 1989.
Now Datastream does not contain information on deals (mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, etc.) but limited information is often available in the “Capital Issues and Changes” report. For 923677 this gives “Takeover (effective) by cash … offer made by a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland” on 16 Dec 1988.
This may be enough to confirm that I have found the DScode needed to get price or return data for the acquired company before the deal. However, to double-check we look for the deal information in Thomson ONE.com.
Using Screening & Analysis -> Deals & League Tables -> Advanced Search and selecting All Mergers & Acquisitions.
Now the RBS group is large, and the acquiror in the database might be a subsidiary so my first few searches fail.
I change and find that lots of companies have names starting “citizens financial”. I select all the ones that are US companies as the potential target and the deal effective date as December 1988.
I get just one result and the predefined Deal Basics Report gives quick access to the deal tearsheet. “Royal Bank of Scotland acquires Citizens Financial Group,RI for US$440M“
- Date announced – March 18 1988
- Date effective – December 16 1988
- Deal value – 440 Million US$
- (SDC) Deal Number – 23691020
The fact that Datastream had price data until Jan 3 1989 though the deal was effective Dec 16 1988 is due to the details of how the shares were removed from the exchange. There would be minimal price change, and probably minimal trading volume, between these dates.
Previous posts featuring hard to find companies
Finding inactive/dead companies on Datastream (Feb 2012) – Vodafone takeover of Mannesman
Datastream – coping with name changes (Oct 2012) - Carlton and Granada merge becoming ITV
The variety of information available on Bloomberg Professional continues to surprise. The Bloomberg function WETR (Global Weather Database) provides a large amount of worldwide historical weather data.
The screenshot below shows that weekly mean temperature for London between February 1 2009 and February 23 2014.
Weather information is of great interest to commodities traders (oil, gas, wheat, etc.) so perhaps I should have expected it to be available on Bloomberg. In addition to WETR, there are a range of other weather functions including BMAP (Hurrican Mapping), SNOW (US Snow Monitor) , USDM (US Drought Monitor) and EUMM (EU Weather & Utility Models).
“EUMM consolidates Bloomberg’s proprietary supply and demand modeling for European gas and power markets, as well as the high-speed, market-moving weather data which drive them, so you can make more accurate trading decisions.” (Bloomberg, 2014)
Sources of free weather data (historical)
You might think that historical weather data would be free and easily accessible on the web, but my searching suggests otherwise.
- http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/past-weather-data – UK Met Office provides a limited amount for free, more than that and you have to pay
- http://blog.worldweatheronline.com/2012/03/05/how-to-get-past-or-historical-weather-forecast/ – World Weather Online provides historical forecasts but only one day at a time (no time series)
- www.wunderground.com sounds promising but has no historical data for London.
- http://www.weatheranalytics.com/industry-solutions/universities-and-labs/ – promotes fee-based data to university researchers implying that free data is not easy find
- Quandl – a search engine for time-series datasets – did not offer anything promising
Bloomberg. (2014) “EUMM help”, Bloomberg Professional. [Online]. Available at: Bloomberg Subscription Service (Accessed: 5 March 2014)
Thomson Reuters Datastream now has a updated version of Datastream Navigator (version 4.5).
The most obvious difference is that the “datatype search” screen has been redesigned – see screenshot below.
As usual in Datastream, first check that you have the correct category in the top left (choose Equities or Equity Indices or Exchange Rates or Interest Rates or Economics or …)
The results are displayed using “Sort by Ranking” as default. For equities and equity indices the datatype RI (total return index) is a little way down. (I guess it is not as popular with commercial Datastream users as academic ones.) If you want “key datatypes” then use the “Display Hierarchy” link on the left-hand side.
Selecting a row will give the definition in a pop-up window – clicking the symbol link selects the datatype. Use the check-boxes at the left if you want to select multiple datatypes.
The search box works well with the sort by ranking – search for “debt” and “Total Debt”, “Long Term Debt” and “Net Debt” are in the top five of 352 results. Searching for “book to market” finds the MTBV (Market to Book Value) datatype – improving on the previous Datastream Navigator version -see Datastream searching for book to market (posted April 2013)
There is further information available on the “Help” tab, including a Thomson Reuters training video What’s new in Datastream Navigator 4.4 (Thomson Reuters Datastream customers only).
Finally, you may wish to use our three Datastream getting started guides, updated to reflect the changes above.
- Datastream: Part 1 (Getting Started)
- Datastream: Part 2 (List Creation)
- Datastream: Part 3 (Request Tables)
Previous posts on Datastream Navigator:
Compustat North America Fundamentals on WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services) offers such a large number of data items that it can be tricky to find the ones you require.
The following tips for finding data items can be used whether you are Compustat Fundamantals directly, or through CRSP/Compustat Merged (CCM) Fundamentals.
There is a WRDS Compustat North America request - Simplified Financial Statement Extract – that gives only the most commonly used items – 25 rather than 382 from the balance sheet, 14 rather than 328 from the income statement etc.
Selecting the Variable Descriptions link at the top of the request online form gives an alphabetic list of these variable (item) names and their descriptions (see screenshot). As on other WRDS pages you can use “Ctrl-F” to search for specific word.
There is also the Complete Financial Statements form under Compustat Tools. This gives the most common items in a financial statement order.
On occasions you may be looking for Compustat data items that have been mentioned in academic research papers.
If you see a paper mentioning Compustat numbers, e.g. “6 – Total Assets”, then the paper is referring to the older method of identifying data items. In 2007-2008 Compustat changed from a legacy FTP format to the current Xpressfeed (XPF) format. The CRSP/Compustat Merged Database Guide Annual Data -Industrial provides a link between the older item numbers and the newer item names.
The WRDS Support tab provides Vendor Manuals – Compustat vendor as one of the frequently visited links. This gives a quick way of reaching the WRDS Support – Compustat Manuals and Overview page.
This page has links to the detailed Compustat manuals, including two describing the format change “Comparison of the Legacy FTP format to Xpressfeed” and “Variable Translations – Compann Compqtr and PDE”.
- Worldscope meets Compustat: A Comparison of Financial Databases by Niels Ulbricht and Christian Weiner may be useful if you are looking to find comparable Worldscope and Compustat data items.
Thanks to Praj Desai for the advice on searching Compustat, especially when papers refer to older compustat numbers, included in this post.
Do University of Manchester researchers have access to company credit ratings? Yes, but the data is limited so may not be sufficient for some researchers.
There are no company credit rating datatypes (variables) in Datastream (including Worldscope), but they do exist in the deals module of Thomson ONE.com.
For example, let us search for bond issues:
- TONE.com – Screening and Analysis – Deals Advanced Search – All Bonds
- Issue Date – 1 Jan 2000 to 1 Jan 2010
- Issuer/Borrower Nation – United Kingdom
- Issuer Public Status – Public
Then in the results report include the fields:
- SP - Ratings: S&P Debt/Bank Loan Rating
- MDY – Ratings: Moody’s Debt/Bank Loan Rating
- Issuer Name (I), 6-digit CUSIP (CU),
In this case there are 2625 results that can be exported to Excel. (The export to Excel can timeout for large numbers of results – if this happens vary the issue date criteria a to reduce the number of results from a single request.)
These results do include many observations for the some companies, especially financial companies such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the rating can be NR (Not Rated) or – (unknown).
Further sorting of the results reveals the observations cover 329 distinct companies, but some will be not rated. (The Nov 17 2009 issue for Segro PLC in screenshot above was NR, and that is the only observation for that company in these results.)
US Company Credit Ratings
For US companies there is data in Compustat on WRDS – see Company Credit Ratings ( posted March 2011)
On 28 January 2014, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its Gross Domestic Product: Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2013. The headline figure that appears in the news is the 0.7% increase (Q4 2013 compared with Q3 2013).
In Bloomberg, type ”UK GDP” in the command line and the predictive search will offer the most requested series or “UK GDP <HELP/F1> will take you straight to the headline figure.
UKGRABMI Index – This is the figure just released by the ONS. The general notes clearly explains that this is real GDP (by expenditure) and therefore adjusted for inflation. The corresponding year on year percentage change, and quarter on quarter, can be found from the related indicators tab.
UKGRYBHA Index – This is the nominal GDP (by expenditure) figure, not adjusted for inflation. The corresponding percentage change figures are on the related indicators tab.
UKGRYBGB Index – The GDP deflator (also known as implicit price deflator).
In Datastream, selecting the economics category in the Datastream Navigator and searching for “UK GDP” gives series from the ONS as the top results.
UKGDP…D – GDP AT MARKET PRICES (CVM) – This real GDP figure is the one just released by the ONS: 387691 Millions GBP (£ UK).
UKGDP…B – GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (MARKET PRICES) – This is the ONS nominal GDP figure – the latest value is still Q3 2013
UKGDPIDPE – IPD OF GDP MARKET PRICES – This is the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD)
There are several factors that make searching for GDP figures on Bloomberg and Datastream a little tricky.
There are many potential sources. The main distinction is between national sources, such as the ONS in the UK, and international sources, such as the OECD, IMF, World Bank. International sources may be more appropriate for international studies as they apply a consistent methodology across different countries.
The names can be confusing. The Datastream series UKGDP…D does not use the term “real GDP” in its title. The preferred term to indicate real GDP is “constant prices”, with 2010 = 100 (see screenshot above). For nominal GDP the preferred term is “current prices”.
There are series for different components of GDP, series for different methods of calculating GDP, and series for GDP forecasts as well as the more common GDP historic values.
Robert J. Shiller was one of the three people awarded The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2013 “for their empirical analysis of asset prices”. The other two recipients of the Nobel Prize for economics 2013 were Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen. Since reading about this award I keep noticing Shiller’s research.
Shiller, R.J. (2005) Irrational Exuberence (2nd edition) Princeton University Press is an international bestseller. It draws out the psychological origins of volatility in financial markets – the first edition concentrating on the technology bubble of the late 1990′s and the second adding the US housing market boom that precipitated the recent recession.
The Yale university site has “Online Data Robert Shiller” that gives access to data on investor attitudes, US stock market data from 1871, and historic housing market data. Robert Shiller and Karl Case are the original developers of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices that are now available from Standard & Poors (S&P).
Recently the Financial Times (FT) produced a list of business and management Moocs (Massive open online courses) that includes in its “finance and accounting” section -
Yale University, with Bob Shiller [Coursera]
(Adam Palin, Mooc matters, FT, 16 December 2013)
Finally, Robert Shiller is mentioned in the blog post A good year ends, but what’s next for stocks? (Musings on Markets, 2 January 2014) that describes a variety of approaches to estimating whether the US stock market is over valued.