A world leader in providing market data information across the globe through its websites, apps and dedicated feeds and software products, Bloomberg offers a variety of tools available on free and paid basis, allowing finance professionals to use them in their research, analysis and related trading activities. Bloomberg’s coverage includes all possible financial securities ranging from equities, fixed income, derivatives, commodities, forex and OTC products, across the globe. (Investopedia has a great beginner's guide to the Bloomberg Terminal, for the novice.)

This article discusses the tools available from Bloomberg, for using their products, terminal and online services, as used by the financial analysts. We’ll begin with the free tools, followed by paid premium products and services and conclude with brief mention of enterprise level functionality from Bloomberg.

Bloomberg website: The official Bloomberg website offers a wealth of free and subscription based tools and utilities, most offering customized views as per regions/markets.

·         News: News drives the market, and Bloomberg has a strong presence for publishing financial developments through its news section. Offering customized views across sections (Regions, Asset Classes, Industry, etc.), Bloomberg offers vast global coverage of market news. (Related: Top sites for Stock Market News)

·         Bloomberg Market Synopsis: Another useful tool for free access to global markets indicators; this is one of the most frequently visited webpages on Bloomberg site.

·         Personal Finance: A dedicated section mostly containing news items covering Real Estate, Retirement Planning, Taxes, etc. It finds use by individuals for expert opinions and info on the matters of personal finance.

·         Calculators: Bloomberg offers dedicated financial calculators for retirement planning, mortgage calculations, 401(K) savings and currency conversions based on timely forex rates

·         Portfolio Tracker: Personalized watchlist tool enables tracking of investment holdings, although this needs registration. It offers detailed views for charts, percentage changes, company fundamentals, earnings and news items for the holdings assets.

·         Radio Bulletins & Podcasts: The site also offers live streaming radio bulletins and podcasts tools, offering news details, along with expert opinions and recommendations. Quiet a useful application for people of the move.

·         Other tools: In addition to the above, Bloomberg site also has sections dedicated to US politics, natural resources, macros economic indicators and even specialized sections for property, billionaires, travel, etc.

Symbol Lookup Service: Introduced couple of years back, Bloomberg Open Symbology tool offers Symbol lookup service and mapping of different symbols (SEDOL, CUSIP, ISIN, Stock exchange ticker, etc.) at global level. Individual traders as well as large investment firms having a need to consolidate data sourced from multiple sources with different symbols use this service. For e.g. a mutual fund company may take 2 different data feeds – one from Bloomberg containing Bloomberg symbol and other from Stock exchange containing local ticker. Symbology service enables cross referencing to validate data across two sources with different tickers.

Apart from the generic Open Symbology service, the widely followed Bloomberg symbols can be accessed through its dedicated symbol search tool.

Bloomberg Professional Products & Services:

The paid professional products and tools available from Bloomberg offer coverage across 360+ exchanges, 24000+ companies, global currency markets, and includes recently launched bitcoin coverage. These products and tools today are used by more than 315,000 subscribers across 175 countries, demonstrating the depth and variety of offerings from Bloomberg.

Bloomberg Market data terminal remains the most saleable product for both individual and enterprise use. A good 2 pager Getting Started Guide is available for introduction to financial analysis tools available within the Bloomberg Terminal. Apart from usual charts, graphs, technical indicators and market data coverage, one of the key selling points of Bloomberg Terminals is its instant messaging feature which enables easy communication across individuals, dedicated workgroups and even Bloomberg representatives for assistance.

Bloomberg Briefs: A dedicated service in the form of digital newsletters for the global financial markets, Bloomberg Brief offers insights into sector or region specific areas in PDF format.

Briefs for following categories are published daily - Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Economics, Economics Asia, Economics Europe, London, Municipal Market and Oil. Publication for other categories is weekly - China, Clean Energy & Carbon, Financial Regulation, Hedge Funds Europe, Hedge Funds, Leveraged Finance, Mergers, Private Equity, Structured Notes and Technical Strategies.

Such wide varieties of tools offered by Bloomberg come with lots of portability. All website based functionality can be accessed through standard browsers on mobiles and tablets, and even professional products offer portability for mobile and remote access through desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Bloomberg Enterprise Solutions

At the enterprise level, Bloomberg offers dedicated data feeds, pricing, reference and market data, news and information services to meet the needs of large financial enterprises employing financial analysts, traders and researchers. The Bloomberg trading solutions, offer connectivity and integration for buy side and sell side institutional clients. These find usage in complementing the OMS (Order management system), and recent EMS (Execution management system), for trade execution.

The Bottom Line

Being a market leader in financial information, Bloomberg has managed to retain its position since decades. Other similar offering which can be explored by end users are from competitors like Thomson Reuters (Eikon Terminal), Prime TerminalInfront Market data TerminalQuoteStream Professional, etc. Ultimately, it’s the fitment to the end user needs that should be the deciding criteria to subscribe to a paid product or tool. The vast variety of freely available online resources and tools from premium financial portals and exchange websites can also be explored.