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Posts Tagged ‘Bloomberg Professional’

Dissertation Research

19 October 2017 1 comment

When seeking to complete a dissertation in the area of Accounting & Finance, a key consideration is ‘Research Feasibility’. This can be summarised by the statement:

 

Can I obtain the data I require, in a timely manner, to successfully complete my research?

 

A typical one year MSc course would allocate 3 months at the end, to complete the disseration. The gathering of company financial quantitative data, (from sources such as: Thomson Reuters Datastream, S&P Capital IQ, Bloomberg Professional, Compustat via WRDS: Wharton Research Data Service) is fundamental to the success of the research.

 

What can go wrong?

 

  1. Data is not available:  It is not contained within the databases the university subscribes to. The years required are not covered. The student is off-campus and the data is only accessible on-campus (as is the case for Datastream and Bloomberg Professional).
  2. Research Proposal:  This may be too ambitious. For example, a student reads an accounting/finance journal article and decides to try to replicate all or part of the research contained within the article. This can be problematic, as the academic probably spent two or more years completing the research – greater than the time available for an MSc dissertation.
  3. Topic:  The choice of topic can be influenced by a desire to work in a particular area of finance. Unfortunately, this may lead to the key difficulty when conducting research – Data is Not Available.

Data is the foundation on which any analysis is based. Where this is difficult to obtain, time pressures may result, leading to the possibility of failure to submit the dissertation on time.

Whilst it could be argued that the difficulties experienced by students in working on their dissertation are part of the research process, as a Librarian, my approach is different: how can I be most helpful, in assisting the student to successfully complete their research?

 

Helpful Suggestions

 

  1. Pilot Project: Essentially this means establishing the best source – there could be more than one available. Also, how to search the source productively. Also, whether all the years of data required are covered.
  2. Seek Guidance:  This follows directly from point one above. It may be that the most efficient method (shortest time to collect what is required) is not known to the student. Guidance from a Librarian can demonstrate the best source and search method, drawing on years of experience in supporting student dissertation research.
  3. Explore Resources:  With so many sources available to students, the difficulty is often one of familiarity – knowing which databases are available and how they can be accessed. A Library web site is a good place to start. The example below is the subject guide for ‘Business and Management’, at the University of Manchester.

 

Database Guide

Business & Management Guide

 

One of the sections is  for ‘Specialist financial databases’. These are useful for dissertation research:

 

Financial Databases

Specialist Databases

 

Summary

 

Making the best use of resources by seeking guidance from Librarians and planning ahead (pilot study) can help to ensure a dissertation is successfully completed. The key factor being, the ability to secure data, on which to base any analysis.

 

Previous related post, in the Library Research Plus blog:

Research Feasibility [18 February 2015]

 

 

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Advanced Company Screening in Bloomberg Professional

Students often enquire about creating a list of companies in a particular area…sector of the economy, or industry.

 

Equity Screening

 

The Equity Screening function [EQS <GO>] in Bloomberg is an obvious starting point. This allows a number of criteria to be specified, to build a search, step by step.

 

When ‘Country of Domicile’ is selected, the expanding menus on the left hand side of the screen give a breakdown from geographical regions to individual countries. However, it is actually faster to type in the country name in the search field, in this case, ‘United States’.

Click ‘Update’. This gives 12,455 companies.

 

Repeat for ‘Sectors’. Here, the expanding menus can come in useful, as you may be uncertain of the category names to enable a keyword search. A recent student enquiry requested US ‘Medical Equipment’ companies. This was located by expanding the options, starting with ‘Health Care’ – and then selected. Click ‘Update’ to incorporate ‘Medical Equipment’ into the search. This gives 202 companies.

 

Results

EQS Results Summary

 

Click on ‘See Results’ to list the companies:

 

List

EQS Company List

 

Whilst there is an icon at the top right of the screen to Export the results to another application, it can be more effective to save the list of companies through the ‘Actions – Save’  drop down menu. Enter a file name (‘US Medical Device Companies’ specified here), press the Enter/GO key to activate the ‘1) Save’ button, and then click on ‘1) Save’.

 

Save

EQS: Actions – Save

 

Excel Add-In

 

To gain access to the results from the EQS search, for additional research, the Excel Add-In interface for Bloomberg provides a number of dedicated search options. The ‘Import Data’ feature is particularly useful. This gives a number of Wizard-type options, with standard screens allowing search selections to be entered. For example:

Import Data  –  Real-Time/Historical  >  Historical End of Day

 

Step 1: Create a List of Securities.

 

Import Data

Import Data search screen.

 

The ‘Select securities’ section allows the source to be specified from a drop menu of options. This includes Indices and EQS – Equity Screening. Once EQS is selected, the field below (Saved Screens) gives access to file names saved – in this case ‘US Medical Device Companies’ – normally at the bottom of the list. This loads the full list of companies to the ‘Available securities’ window. From here, the complete list can be selected (‘Add all’) and copied into the ‘Selected securities’ window, or a subset, then ‘Add’ – as is the case in the screen shot below.

 

List

Step 1: Security List

 

Click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed:

 

Step 2: Create List of Fields.

Whilst there are a series of expanding menus [New Fields, Analysis, Corporate Actions, Descriptive, Earnings Estimates, Fundamentals, Market Activity, Ratings] to reveal the data items available, it is actually more effective to search by keyword(s). To illustrate, ’employees’ has been used as a search term, to locate the ‘Number of Employees’ field. Once selected, a definition is provided below. Click ‘Add’ to copy into the ‘Selected fields’ window.

 

Field

Step 2: Field Selection

 

Click ‘Next’, for Date and Frequency options: Yearly, back to 2010 specified.

 

Step 3: Select Perodicity and Time Frame.

 

Dates

Step 3: Dates / Frequency

 

The next two steps (Currency, Pricing Defaults) are not relevant to this search, so click ‘Next’ to proceed to

Step 6: Layout Options.

 

Layout

Layout Options

 

Click on ‘Finish’ to display results – it may be necessary to widen columns.

 

Results

Results in Excel

 

Although a simple example, this could include many additional data items for each company, for which Excel is well suited.

 

Bloomberg Professional is available to current students and staff of The University of Manchester.

Company Financial Statements: Comparisons in Different Databases

Students are often confused when viewing company financial statements (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement) in different databases. The reason being, that the values displayed, for the same company, often don’t match.

 

Commercial vs Educational Emphasis

This confusion is understandable. Surely values for the same company, for the same statement, should be identical? In explaining this apparent anomaly, the primary purpose of specialised financial databases needs to be appreciated. That is, to provide data/information to allow analysis of many types of securities – different classes of assets, such as Equities – or companies.

The key user groups are within business and commerce. However, there is sufficient useful content, to also be of value to educational establishments, and therefore students – but business users have priority.

For example, when seeking to gauge the relative performance of two or more companies, from different countries, with different accounting standards, there is a clear logic in being able to compare on a like-with-like basis. Therefore, when looking at a value in an Income Statement, for example, it would be clear which company had superior performance. To compare companies otherwise, the so-called apples with oranges analogy, lacks transparency and is ineffective.

Hence, the evolution of common methods for calculating accounting values in different databases, to ease comparisons between companies. Bloomberg Professional and Thomson ONE.com databases both reflect this need, but use different terminology. A look at a company example is instructive.

 

Bloomberg Professional – Financial Analysis [FA]

The Income Statement (‘I/S’) for Tesco PLC, a UK supermarket group, is set out below, using the Financial Analysis function, within Bloomberg Professional.

 

Income Statement - Adjusted

Bloomberg – Financial Analysis (Income Statement – Adjusted)

 

Note that the tab towards the top left: ‘Adjusted’, is highlighted in blue. This is the default view, meaning this is how data is normally displayed for financial statements in Bloomberg Professional. Therefore, companies from different countries can be compared on a like-with-like basis, when the same currency is selected (top right of screen). In the example above, this is set to GBP, or Great Britain Pounds.

Another option is also highlighted – the ‘As Reported’ tab. This selection would display values from the company’s official annual report and accounts.

 

Thomson ONE.com – Reuters Fundamentals

 

The Income Statement for Tesco PLC is displayed again, using Thomson ONE.com database: drop down menu selection:

Company Overviews – Fundamentals – Reuters Fundamentals

 

T1 Income Statement

Thomson ONE.com – Income Statement (Standardised)

 

The ‘Report Format’ option on the left, gives the choice of ‘Company Specific’ (official values – annual report and accounts) and ‘Standardised’.  When the ‘Standardised’ view has been selected and ‘Update View’ clicked on,  the drop down menu to choose a common currency become available, thus allowing like-with-like comparisons, between different companies.

 

Conclusions

The ability to quickly search for companies within databases such as Bloomberg Professional or Thomson ONE.com is an effective means to locate company financial statements and take advantage of like-with-like comparisons.

When viewing financial statements within databases, the realisation that a company’s annual report and accounts is the ultimate (official) source, represented by ‘As Reported’ in Bloomberg Professional and ‘Company Specific’ in Thomson ONE.com, can help to avoid confusion for students, in conducting company analysis.

 

Bloomberg Professional and Thomson ONE.com are databases available to current students and staff of The University of Manchester.

Top 10 Companies

16 December 2016 1 comment

A student recently asked the following: ‘how do I get a list of the top 10 companies in the pharmaceuticals area?’.

What ‘top 10’ means, or is meant to mean, is a little fuzzy…could this be ordering by turnover (sales), number of employees, earnings per share or other measure? Upon further questioning, the size of the company, represented by Market Capitalization, was deemed acceptable. In addition to this, the relative position of a specified company (Glaxosmithkline: GSK-LN) was queried.

 

Thomson ONE.com

One possible approach is to search for the specified company and see what options then present themselves. By typing the company name or ticker code (GSK-LN) in the search box at the top left of the screen, it is possible to select the appropriate option from those displayed. This gives a Company Overview screen to start.

 

Company Overview

Thomson ONE.com – Company Overview

 

By selecting the ‘Comparables’ screen, a number of related companies are displayed. To reach this screen, use the drop-down menus at the top of the page:

Company Views – Fundamentals – Comparables

 

GSK Related Companies

Thomson ONE.com – Comparables (GSK)

 

Whilst this gives a list of related entries in the sense that they are pharmaceutical companies, it is not clear if these represent the ‘top 10’. To do so, a measure would have to be targeted, such as Market Capitalization, using the ‘Equity Screener’ feature. This can be reached from:

Screening & Analysis – Companies – Company Screener

By entering ‘Pharmaceuticals’ within the Business Description field and ‘greater than or equal to 5000’ within the Latest Market Cap ($Mil) field [Stock & Earnings Criteria section], then clicking on the ‘Search’ button, this gives 66 results.

 

T1 Screening Search

Thomson ONE.com – Screening & Analysis search

 

Selecting the column title (‘Market Cap’) orders the companies by this field’s values. The Excel icon allows data export.

 

Search screen

Thomson ONE.com – Screening & Analysis

 

The data displayed within Excel:

 

Excel Export

Thomson ONE.com – Company List Exported to Excel

 

Glaxosmithkline appears at number 6 in the results. A particular concern with this list may relate to how precisely ‘Pharmaceuticals’ matches with companies which are so classified. For example, 3M, which appears at number 5 on the list, makes many varied products, and isn’t primarily thought of as a pharmaceutical company. Another alternative is to try features within other databases – for example, Bloomberg Professional.

The first function which suggests itself is ‘Relative Valuation’ (RV), which would seem to provide a similar role to ‘Comparables’ within Thomson ONE.com. Enter the following on the Command Line:

GSK LN  F8/Equity  RV

 

Relative Valuation

Bloomberg Professional – Relative Valuation

 

Another potential choice would be to use the Equity Screening function (EQS). This allows companies to be selected according to the Sectors (or sub-sectors) to which they are assigned. There are a number of other categories which can be used to refine a search, if so desired.

 

Sectors

Bloomberg Professional – EQS – Sectors (Pharmaceuticals)

 

By selecting ‘Pharmaceuticals’, then ‘Update’, the number of results are shown. In this case 1,146 companies:

 

EQS Results

Bloomberg Professional – EQS Results

 

By clicking on ‘Results’, a listing is displayed, sorted by the default data field – Market Cap(italization). The currency is not clear at first sight. However, by hovering the mouse pointer over the column title (Market Cap), a pop up box confirms details: Currency: GBP, representing Great Britain Pounds.

 

Pharmaceutical Companies

Bloomberg Professional – Pharmaceutical Companies

 

Glaxosmithkline appears at number 10 in this listing. Interestingly, 3M doesn’t appear within the top 21, reflecting the earlier comment on categorisation of companies in different databases.

 

So, Equity Screening within Bloomberg Professional and Screening & Analysis within Thomson ONE.com databases have provided a listing of companies sorted by Market Capitalization and represent a reasonable solution to what was initially a difficult question to address.

 

Thomson ONE.com (from Thomson Reuters) and Bloomberg Professional are available to current students and staff of The University of Manchester.

 

Related posts include:

Company Employee Data Using Different Databases: [24 February 2016],  and

Company and Industry Comparisons: [10 July 2015].

 

Help!

I am aware that the Beatles had a hit with Help!, but not the associated details, without looking it up.

Similarly with Bloomberg Professional, I may suspect that particular data is included, but not be sure, without looking it up. With a vast number of functions (10,000+) and many types of data available, this could be tricky. Fortunately, Bloomberg has an excellent Help system, including:

 

Autocomplete

You don’t need to know lots of codes to make progress. The ‘Autocomplete’ feature means you can just type a Company Name on the command line (top left of the screen) – Tesco PLC, for example (a UK supermarket group). This provides a list of results under Functions (not relevant here) and under Securities (relevant here).

SECURITIES

TSCO LN Equity                                   Tesco PLC (London)

 

This also includes the Ticker Code [TSCO LN], which stands for Tesco on the London Stock Exchange. You don’t need to know this code, you can just click on the entry to proceed.

 

Function Help

Behind every function, there is a Help screen enabling you to be become familiar with what it does and how it works. For example, the Help screen for the Financial Analysis [FA] function is shown below.

 

FA function Help

Financial Analysis Help

 

FA has the option to display financial statements (e.g. Income Statement) in a currency other than that in which the company reports its results. For Tesco PLC, that would be GBP, representing Great Britain Pounds. This could be changed to US Dollars (USD), to compare with another company based in the US.

In a training session looking at Bloomberg, a student asked the question: ‘What is the basis for the currency conversion in the example you demonstrated?’. Not knowing the answer, my first step was to press the green Help key at the top left of the Bloomberg keyboard, to display the Help screen for this function. This did not provide an answer. Therefore, I tried another Help feature, which is incredibly effective – the search engine.

 

Search Engine

By typing a few keywords on the command line and pressing the Help key, Bloomberg tries to understand the question being asked. In effect, it operates like a search engine. This typically provides about five answers, one of which is usually relevant – unlike a normal web-based search engine, delivering millions of results, but not necessarily what you are looking for.

To obtain an answer, I typed:  FA Currency Conversion  and pressed the Help key.

Help: Currency Conversion

Help: Currency Conversion

 

This produced three results, the second of which (shown above) provided a solution. Click on the title to display additional content.

 

Bloomberg Help Desk

Where you have a question for which an answer has not been forthcoming, using the above Help features, the final option is to contact the Bloomberg Help Desk. To do so, press the Help key twice. Students will see the display below.

Click on ‘Bloomberg Help Desk’ at the bottom of the screen.

 

Bloomberg Help Screen

Bloomberg Help

 

Next, type your email address and question, then click ‘Submit’, for a response within 24 hours.

Help Email

Help Desk Enquiry Screen

 

The Help system is a productive resource, saving you time, when looking up all things Bloomberg…financial data…economic data…appropriate functions for analysis.

Just don’t ask when Help! was released. [1965, for the Film, Single and Soundtrack Album]

Bond ISIN to company ISIN — EDSC manuals, tips & tricks

9 November 2016 Leave a comment

Suppose you created a list with bonds and the accompanying ISIN codes. You can’t use these ISIN codes to download information from the issuer of this bond. But here is way to use the ISIN codes you collected so far to find the ISIN code of the issuer An example: the ISIN code US44044KAA97 belongs […]

via Bond ISIN to company ISIN — EDSC manuals, tips & tricks

Bloomberg Essentials Training Program to Bloomberg Market Concepts

 

Bloomberg Essentials Training Program [BESS], better known as ‘Bloomberg Certification’, was discontinued at the end of August 2016. When entering this function code now, followed by the Enter/Go key, users are diverted to Bloomberg Market Concepts [BMC].

 

Bloomberg Market Concepts

BMC Function

 

BMC is an introductory Finance course, linked to about 70 Bloomberg functions – therefore different to BESS, which required study of content in Core (e.g. Getting Started, Bloomberg Excel Add-In) and Market Sector (e.g. Equity Essentials) areas. This provided a wider overview of Bloomberg functions and operation. Successful completion of the Core and at least one Market Sector examination resulted in a certificate.

Although a loss to keen students wishing to obtain this qualification, the content is still available within Bloomberg, from the Help pages. By typing HPL on the command line, followed by the Enter/Go key, this leads to the ‘Bloomberg Help and Learning’ pages. ‘Getting Started’ can be selected from the right hand menu.

 

Help Pages.

‘Bloomberg Help and Learning’.

 

This displays content previously available through the BESS function.

 

BESS content.

Getting Started content.

 

Other posts are available on Database Certification (mentioning BESS) and BMC.