Research Insight (Compustat)
Why use Research Insight?
- Research Insight is the front end for Compustat and Global Vantage data.
- Twenty years of U.S. and Canadian financial statement data and monthly closing stock. Six months of daily stock prices.
- Access to GlobalVantage's ten years of financial data for companies in more than eighty countries.
- While harder to learn for first-time users than some of our other company resources, Compustat has more years of downloadable financials and provides more flexibility in downloading corporate data (to compare data from a set of companies or to look at time series of a few data elements, for example).
Click on the Research Insight icon or click on Start - Programs - Research Insight in Windows. Compustat/Global Vantage data can also be retrieved directly from Excel.
- The most common cause for getting incorrect data is starting from the wrong database.
- Compustat covers U.S. and Canadian companies.
- Global Vantage covers the rest of the world.
- To see what database you are in, click on databases from the top menu and select default database. Use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate database.
To download a pre-formatted report
Convenient templates for Compustat and Global Vantage data have been saved as spreadsheets on the desktop. Users can open these files (PC+ Templates.xls and Global Vantage.xls) and change the tickers and variables as needed. Save your results as values on another spreadsheet.
To download a full income statement, balance sheet, or cash flow statement for one or more companies, use one of the pre-formatted reports, which cover up to ten years of data.
To download an income statement for IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Sun Microsystems covering ten years of data.
Click on the Open Report icon.
If the above menu is not displayed on the screen, click on the handshake icon on the top.
You may have to browse to see the reports that are available. Use the path illustrated below.
When you click on a report name the description comes up:
- Compustat reports start with C.
- Global Vantage reports start with G.
- Next characters indicate the type of report is for income statement and 11 indicating 11 years worth.
- Comparative reports showing up to five companies at a time are also available.
Reports can be saved as text files that are easily read in standard spreadsheets.
Reports can also be loaded directly into Excel.
- Open Excel.
- Click on S&P from the top menu bar and select Open Report.
- You will be prompted for companies and time periods.
Note: Before saving data directly retrieved in Excel, copy and paste the data as values. Otherwise the file can not be read on a workstation that doesn't have Compustat installed.
To Create a Custom Report
The Research Assistant lets you specify a set of companies, either by naming them or by screening for companies that meet your criteria, and then report on specific data elements for those companies.
Report on R&D expense for the past five years for companies in the communications equipment business.
- Click on Research Assistant in the Tools Menu.
- Click on SIC on the left side of the assistant. Select = and 3576 from the related menus.
- Click on Fundamentals from the tabs.
- Click on Sales and > 1000 from the adjacent menus. (Note: Compustat data is indicated in $millions.)
- Click on Next> and Compustat will screen for companies. The companies that meet your criteria will be indicated.
- You can save the set of companies to refer to later or continue to report on these companies.
- You can also add to or remove companies from the set before saving them.
- Click on Next> to continue on to making the report.
- Click on Next> again to enter into Report Assistant.
- Choose the layout of the report. In this case Items vs. Companies under Historical Analysis works best. Select it and click on Next>.
Research and Development is not one of the items listed under income statement annual on the next screen.
- Click on Customize.
- Click on Income - Ann under Item Groups and then the New button under Items.
- Click on the Look Up button in the resulting Item Definition screen.
- Type in R in the Select Items box. R&D Expense will appear on the list.
- Click on the Paste button, then on the Close button. XRD (the code for R&D) will appear in the Expression box in the Item Definition screen.
- Click on Accept Expression. Information about the variable will appear.
- Click on Definition for more information.
- Click on OK and then again on OK from the customization box. You will end up at Step 2 in the Report Assistant, but this time R&D expense will be one of the items under Income Statement - Ann.
- Add it.
- Click on Next>.
Selecting the time period
Compustat has three ways of indicating time periods: relative (to the current year), absolute (fiscal year), and calendar (calendar year). It often is preferable to choose absolute or calendar in a report where the time periods are not indicated since the current year will vary for the companies in the database.
- Indicate your period choices and click on Next and the report will appear.
This process can be done directly in Excel for ease of formatting and downloading.
- Click on S&P from the Excel menu.
- If your report requires more than one table to display the data, there will be a drop-down menu to display the other data.
Note: Before saving data retrieved directly in excel, copy and paste the data as values. Otherwise the file will not be read on a workstation that doesn't have Compustat installed.