What Is Compustat?

Compustat is a comprehensive database of fundamental financial and market information on both active and inactive global companies, indices and industries. The type of information published by Compustat includes Global Industry Classification Standards (GICS), pricing data, earnings data, insider and institutional holdings, and other information directed at investors, analysts, economists, academics, and other researchers.

key takeaways

  • Compustat is a comprehensive market and corporate financial database published by Standard and Poor's.
  • Covering thousands of companies worldwide, with info dating as far back as 1950, Compustat is a leading source of intelligence for financial market professionals, investors, and academics.

Understanding Compustat

Compustat is a leading computerized source of market intelligence and company data—and one of the oldest: It has been produced by Standard & Poor's since 1962. Its registered name is an amalgam of "computer" and "statistics," reflecting how novel the format must have seemed to Space Age users.

The service compiles raw financial reports filed by every public company, annually and quarterly. This includes current income, expenses, assets and liabilities, and past reports of the same data to facilitate trend analysis. Stock price history is also available.

The Compustat database is used by institutional investors, universities, portfolio managers and analysts. In addition to publicly available information, Compustat includes datasets proprietary to Standard & Poor's, including stock reports and credit ratings issued by the firm.

Compustat primarily draws its data from SEC filings, which it standardizes to allow for better comparisons. It supplements this info with additional data sources as needed.

Every report incorporated into the Compustat database is reviewed by analysts for adherence to its reporting and presentation formats. Automated systems perform a wide variety of internal data checks that help further assure data consistency.

For example, revenue in an annual report normally reflects the accumulated total of all incoming cash, but in a Compustat report, it may be adjusted to distinguish between revenue from actual operations and revenue that resulted from one-time-only events (which the corporate report might only list in footnotes or supplements). Or take the line item called cost of sales: In some corporate reports, they reflect direct cash outlays, while in others they include material allocations for many kinds of depreciation. In the latter case, Compustat's standardized reporting would distinguish the depreciation elements and list them separately.

Compustat Info and Products

Compustat offers subscribers a variety of databases. The two major ones are North America and Global, but there are several add-on databases as well. Overall, the following information is available:

Fundamentals

  • Compustat Data including Compustat North America, Compustat International, Compustat Global, and Compustat Point-in-Time data sets
  • Industry classification and universe management by GICS, NAICS, and SIC
  • Key market identifiers, including CUSIP, ISIN, and SEDOL

Integrated Databases

  • Monthly and daily pricing data
  • Standard & Poor's and other leading Index Data
  • Estimates data from Capital IQ and Thomson I/B/E/S
  • Qualitative content including business descriptions, officer information, and executive compensation
  • Corporate Actions and Insider and Institutional Holdings

Proprietary Data

  • Capital IQ qualitative data
  • Standard & Poor’s Stock Reports
  • Standard & Poor’s Industry Surveys
  • Standard & Poor’s Issuer Credit Ratings

How Compustat Works

Compustat Stats

Some fun facts about the Compustat database:

  • Covers 56,000 companies worldwide
  • Covers 88,000 securities, 45,500 of them non-North American securities
  • Includes companies from 112 nations
  • Represents 98% of the world's total market capitalization
  • Has annual data dating back to 1950; quarterly data from 1962 (U.S. companies)
  • Has data dating back to 1979 for global companies