Beginner's Guide To The Bloomberg Terminal: Analyzing Securities

In addition to monitoring news and markets, Bloomberg can also be used to analyze individual securities. In fact, the analytics available in Bloomberg are quite robust, and they cover a number of major asset classes including equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, mutual funds and ETFs. This Beginners Guide will attempt to cover a couple of the basic functions that are available. To learn more, contact a Bloomberg representative for training, read Investopedia's Advanced Bloomberg Guide or explore additional functions in a hands-on manner. (For additional reading, see How To Create A Modern Fixed-Income Portfolio.) If you are uncertain what the ticker symbol is for a security you want to look at, you can find the ticker by hitting the key for the asset class you are looking at followed by <TK>. For example, if you wanted to analyze Microsoft stock but didn't know the ticker, you could hit <equity> <TK> and then type in Microsoft and the ticker would appear. Note: using this function will pull up a list of all the tickers for that company. For instance, if a stock is listed on multiple exchanges, all of them will appear. Therefore, it is important to make sure you select the correct security from the list when using this function (for instance, in this example most users would be seeking the ticker for Microsoft stock listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange).

Once you have the correct ticker, the basic screen for beginning security analysis is the description page, Bloomberg abbreviation <DES>. The screenshot below shows page one of the Bloomberg description for Microsoft stock (similar screens are also available for many types of bonds and other asset classes). As you can see, the description page provides a brief overview of what the company does, as well as basic information such as a price quote, 52-week high and low, market capitalization, earnings per share, P/E Ratio, dividend yield, etc. The page below is only the first page of ten pages of security description information. By scrolling forward, you can access additional information, including contact details for the company, and a breakdown of the company's revenue and earnings by geographic region and market segment. You can also find detailed financial data such as an income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet. (Note: the financial data can sometimes be a bit dated, so you might want to double check the date listed next to the financial statements if seeing the most recent data is important to you.) (For additional reading, check out 5 Must-Have Metrics For Value Investors.)

In addition to looking at descriptive information or financial fundamentals, Bloomberg can also be used to analyze a security's price history and trading patterns. By typing <HP> into the system, users can access a price history for whatever security they are looking at, while typing <GP> will bring up a simple graph of that price history. For users interested in more advanced technical analysis, Bloomberg offers an advanced suite of charting capabilities. While a complete description of available charts is beyond the scope of this article, some of the tools available include relative strength indicators (RSI), Bollinger Bands®, intraday price and volume charts, candlestick charts and comparison charts displaying multiple securities. An example of a simple price and volume chart for Microsoft stock is displayed below. (For more, see The Basics Of Bollinger Bands®.)

Bloomberg also provides easy access to company updates. For instance, in addition to the top news stories discussed in chapter 4, Bloomberg also offers company-specific news. For example, once you have pulled up a security (such as Microsoft stock) you can type <CN> into the Bloomberg and a scrolling list of the most recent news stories concerning that security will come up. You can then click on any of those headlines in order to read the full story. Additional security specific information that can be found on Bloomberg includes earnings estimates (Bloomberg ticker EE), analyst recommendations (Bloomberg ticker ANR) and credit ratings (Bloomberg ticker CRPR). (For more, see What Is A Corporate Credit Rating?)

Beginner's Guide To The Bloomberg Terminal: Tips And Tricks