By Julia Leite February 2, 2013
For business journalists, there is no substitute for fast, accurate and reliable data about financial markets or the economy. Many newsrooms cater to this need by subscribing to information services like Thomson Reuters, FactSet, Morningstar and Standard & Poor’s.
The Bloomberg Terminal was among the first such services. The Terminal’s earliest ancestors were installed in 1982 at Merrill Lynch to help traders conduct business. Later, the Terminal became a staple of newsroom business desks around the country, including those of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Today, the Terminal remains a trusted resource for many financial journalists. It has changed significantly (even in the last ten years), but it still offers instant access to company filings, balance sheets, historical stock prices, and real time market and economic data.
With so much information available, the Terminal can seem overwhelming at first, particularly to new reporters unfamiliar with its unique language of commands. Here are a few ways to use the Terminal to help you get the basic information you need to report on financial markets.
Read the News You Need Most
The Terminal publishes news stories written by Bloomberg’s wire service, Bloomberg Businessweek and many third-party publications. There are many ways to organize the live feed of headlines that comes pouring the network each day.
TOP will bring up the most important stories of the day, and READ will take you to the most-read pieces. You can sort news by subject – such as the economy, stocks or bonds; by country; and by source. You can also use keywords to search, and as with an Internet search, the more keywords, the more accurate the results.
Take the Market’s Temperature
The Terminal offers several ways to give users a snapshot of the markets at that instant. WEI will show you how the world’s major stock indices are doing that day. GLCO will bring up the main commodity prices, such as copper and oil. WCRS will allow you to look at the day’s currency movements among the major pairs.
MOST will display the most active stocks by value and volume, and MOV will show which stock is moving an index the most.
Monitor Key Economic Releases
For macroeconomic data, ECO pulls up a calendar of the economic indicators being released over the next few days. The results can be sorted by country. Once an economic indicator has been released, the new data point will appear on the ECO screen almost instantly, and you’ll be able to compare it to the prior release and consensus estimates. This screen is particularly helpful when covering the release of common economic indicators on deadline.
Another helpful function for macroeconomic data is ECFC, which will show economic forecasts for headline numbers like inflation and GDP growth.
FED will take you to the Terminal’s Federal Reserve portal, where you can look at past interest rate decisions, minutes, news, calendars and research from the U.S. central bank.
Keep Tabs on M&A
The function MA will display recent mergers and acquisitions, sorting them by sector, deal size and region. Reporters who cover a particular industry can use MA to get a handle on the liquidity of their sector. A tech reporter might use the function to compare the number of tech buyouts so far this year to the number at the same last year.
Learn About a Company
DES will give you a general sense of the company: stock price, market cap, headquarters, main product or service, chief executives, etc. It’s the fastest way to learn about a company that may be new to you.
From there, you can move to functions that will let you take a deeper dive. CF will show you the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. FA will bring up the company’s financial statements by quarter or year. Here, you’ll find information about revenue, net income, assets, liabilities, R&D expenditures, work force size and even unionization.
If you’re looking at bonds, CAST will show you the company’s capital structure. CRPR brings up its credit profile.
RV compares a company to its peers along dimensions such as market cap or revenue. COMP compares returns of any stock against another or a benchmark like the S&P 500.
Find Out What Analysts Are Saying
The Terminal also has a collection of analysts’ estimates, which you can find using the command ANR. That will show you who covers the company and their ratings on the stock.
EE will bring up an earnings estimate summary, including the date at which the company will report earnings, what analysts are forecasting and historical data from prior releases.
Julia Leite is a reporter for Bloomberg News.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 at 8:06 pm. It is filed under Tools & Resources and tagged with Bloomberg, economy, fed, M&A, S&P, stocks, Terminal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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