Bloomberg Help

In this tutorial I will provide an outline to the Bloomberg Essentials On Line training Program also known as BESS. The Bloomberg Essentials program provides a convenient way to learn the basics of Bloomberg Professional financial information system. The training consists of a series of videos (with scrolling transcripts), on-line Help screens and supporting documents. The video tutorial materials are organized into 8 modules as follows:

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1. Bloomberg Core

1. Getting Started
2. Bloomberg News
3. Market Monitors and Launchpad
4. API (Bloomberg Data in Excel)
2. Bloomberg Market Sector
1. Equity Essentials
2. Fixed Income Essentials
3. FX (Foreign Exchange) Essentials
4. Commodity Essentials

To earn a certificate or Acknowledgement of Completion, you must view the four Bloomberg Core videos and pass the Bloomberg Core Exam, then view at least one of the Bloomberg Market Sector videos and pass its corresponding exam. For example if you are interested in foreign exchange markets, you might consider viewing the FX Essentials training video and then taking the FX Essentials exam. Keep in mind that you only get two chances to take each exam so you need to put in some serious time and effort into the training materials and mastering the concepts before you take the exam. To get started with the BESS training, you should first create your own Bloomberg login. Bloomberg tracks your progress and exam scores using your unique login. A brief tutorial on creating a Bloomberg login can be foundhere. You may also wish to have a set of headphones or ear buds handy for listening to the Bloomberg videos without distracting others around you. The Bloomberg keyboard has a headphone jack that (if configured properly) should allow you to listen to the videos in privacy. As you are viewing a video, open up an additional Bloomberg window and type in the commands as they are described. You can also pause the video to do more exploration of a particular function or rewind the video to listen and watch an example again if you did not understand it the first time. Once the video is over, challenge yourself to run through all of the commands just introduced and then practice them to make sure they stay fresh in your memory.


Accessing BESS on Bloomberg
To get started, log in to the Bloomberg Professional software using your own Bloomberg login account. If you do not have a Bloomberg account, click here for a brief tutorial on creating a new login. In any window, type in BESS (type the letters BESS followed by the Enter key) to display the Bloomberg Essentials screen as shown below:

As you can see from the BESS screen, the videos for each of the modules can be launched by clicking on their titles. Along the bottom of the screen there are links to view and take exams, as well as a link to request the Acknowledgement of Completion. On the following pages, each of the videos is introduced along with some pointers for getting most out of your studying time.

Bloomberg Getting Started Essentials

The Getting Started Essentials training video is approximately 18 minutes long and provides a basic introduction to the Bloomberg including how the Bloomberg Terminal software is organized, key terms used throughout the Bloomberg system and the basics ways of navigating through the system. Some specific topics include broad market analysis, single security analysis, browsing News and obtaining help. When viewing this video pay particular attention to the key terms and definitions, the various ways of obtaining help, and the special function keys available on the Bloomberg keyboard.

The video tutorial begins with a high level overview of Bloomberg’s menu based navigation system starting with the MAIN menu function. This function shows how Bloomberg’s data and screens are organized into market sectors, trading systems, customization and settings tools, Bloomberg Law and Government and Help and Support.

The next section of the tutorial introduces the Bloomberg keyboard. The keys are color coded according to their overall purpose such as: Red Keys are used to log into the system (the Red DFLT key) and to cancel a current function(red Cancel key in the upper left corner). Green keys are used for navigation and obtaining help such as the block of green navigation keys on the right for Page Up, Page Down, End, Menu, etc. and the Green Help, Search, News, etc. keys along the top of the keyboard. Yellow keys are the market sector keys. Each one helps in identifying financial instruments or market sectors. These yellow market sector keys include Govt (for Government debt), CORP (for Corporate debt), MTGE for Mortgages, M-MKT for Money markets, MUNI for Municipal securities, PFD for preferred, EQUITY for equities, CMDT for Commodities, INDEX for indexes, CRNCY for currencies (foreign exchange) and finally CLIENT for portfolio management functions.

Obtaining Help in Bloomberg

There are a number of ways to obtain help in the Bloomberg system. As the tutorial continues, note that Pressing the green HELP key while on any screen will bring up a help screen that explains the function the screen is implementing as well as tips on using the screen and what each field or area of the screen represents. The picture below shows the help screen for the MOST function (Most active equities).

Another way to obtain interactive help is to press the HELP key two times. This will open up a chat session with the Bloomberg help desk. Type in any question you might have and a Bloomberg help desk representative will walk you through any functions or screens to answer your question.

The third way to obtain help is to press HELP key after typing in the name or ticker symbol of a financial instrument (or any word for that matter). The result will be a list of different search categories matching your query. For example, typing in BOB EVANS provides the search results that follow. Note Bloomberg found results in categories such as Companies, People, News, Law, Equities and Fixed Income.:

Content Areas: News, Economics and World Indices
The next section of the video tutorial focuses on four major content areas: News, Economic Calendar, World Equity Indices, and Economic Statistics. Bloomberg Top News
To access Bloomberg Top News press the green NEWS key or type N .

Bloomberg Economic Calendar
The Bloomberg Economic calendar displays prior and announced economic report releases. To access Bloomberg Economic Calendar type ECO .

Bloomberg World Equity Indices
The Bloomberg World Equity Indices screen displays leading indices from equity markets around the world. This screen allows you to compare both current market levels as well as historical levels. To access the Bloomberg World Equities Indices screen type WEI .

Bloomberg Economic Statistics
The Bloomberg Economic Statistics screen can be used to display economic indicators such as Consumer Price Index (CPI), unemployment, housing, consumer confidence and many others for dozens of countries around the world. To access the Bloomberg Economic Statistics screen type ECST .

Single Security Analysis
The next set of functions demonstrated all work on a single security. So to get started with each one, we type in the ticker symbol of a company, then press the EQUITY (F8) key. Then follow this up by typing in the name of the function.

Company Description

The company description screen provides an overview of the company including its industry, current and historical price chart and data, recent searching and dividend data and other summary information. There are a total of 4 screens (press PG DOWN for additional screen). For example, assuming the target company is IBM, the command would be: IBM DES

Bloomberg Historical Prices
The HP function can be used to view a set of historical equity prices. For example, assuming the target company is IBM, the command would be: IBM HP

Bloomberg Graph Prices
The GP function can be used to create a price graph of a security. Assuming the target company is IBM, the command would be: IBM GP

Bloomberg Company News
The CN function can be used to search for news articles mentioning a specific security. Assuming the target company is IBM, the command to search for news would be: IBM CN

Bloomberg “Cheat Sheets”
In addition to the help screens that Bloomberg provides, there are also “Cheat Sheets” – one or two page documents – that provide quick access to many of the different Bloomberg functions organized by asset type or by job function. To get started viewing Cheat sheets, use the function tt>CHEAT to bring up the screen:

For example given the above CHEAT screen, click on the link 1) Getting Started to view the Getting Started cheat sheets as shown below:

Clicking again on the 1) Getting Started link will display the actual cheat sheet for getting started. Various language versions are presented. Click on the link for the desired language and the two page PDF will be downloaded and open in Adobe Acrobat.

Bloomberg Messaging System
The last portion of the Getting Started tutorial video introduces the Bloomberg Messaging system. This is basically an e-mail system built into the Bloomberg software that allows you to send messages, screen captures and other materials to others on the Bloomberg network. To get started with the Bloomberg Messaging system, simply press the green MSG button or type in the function: MSG

Messages are listed in the inbox – click on a message to view its contents.
There is a yellow text box used to search for messages and buttons to create new messages, etc. Bloomberg News Essentials

The Bloomberg News Essentials video is approximately 20 minutes long and focuses exclusively on the Bloomberg News functionality. Specific topics include drilling down from the top level news function N down through different news categories to specific news articles. Custom news searches, screens and alerts are also covered. When going through this material pay particular attention to how the Bloomberg news is organized and the various methods used to browse and search for news articles.

The Bloomberg Top News Screen
The video tutorial begins with a review of the BLoomberg Top News screen. To access Bloomberg Top News press the green NEWS key or type N or you can type TOP .

The default top news screen shows top news world wide. There are a set of Topic heading along the left side in the gray colored sidebar. Clicking on any one of those topics narrows the news search down. Clicking on any news headline will bring up the full news article.

Once the news story is displayed, it can be printed, bookmarked by clicking on the star icon (or option 91)), or forwarded to a colleague using the Send Story feature. These are shown in the upper right corner of the screen. If the news story has an attachment it will be available under the 97) selection. In this example there is a chart attached to the story. The search field is in the upper left corner and allows you to search for keywords within the story. Note that this story has 3 pages. By scrolling to the end of the story you can view a section of Related News and Information in addition to the author’s contact information.

Customizing Top News
The Top news screen can be customized to filter and display only those news headlines relevant to the user. For example, the Top News pages by including only relevant topics selected form the list of categories on the right as shown here:

Bloomberg News Advanced Search
The Advanced Search feature can be used to build up a sophisticated search on Bloomberg news (beyond looking for simple keywords). From the Top News screen (N ), pull down the 97) Actions screen and click on the Create Advanced Search menu item. Searches can be saved and associated with alerts so that any new news article matching the advanced search criteria will be brought to your attention. For example, the advanced search below is set up to look for the phrases “Share Buyback” or “Stock Buyback” that appear in stories related to the Information technology and Telecommunications industries. The source of the news story should be Bloomberg News (BN).

Bloomberg Launchpad Essentials
The Bloomberg Launchpad is a graphical user interface that can be customized to create multiple screens or “Views” made up of market data, charts, news and other components. A view can consist of multiple pages that can be created, customized and saved. While going through this 30 minute video, it is easy to create your own Launchpad views along side the instructional video. Pay particular attention to the types of components (watch lists, news minder, etc.) that can be added to the Launchpad view and the different ways in which these components can be linked. For example, the Monitor (watch list) component has a number of ways in which individual and collections of securities can be added to the watch lists and then linked to other components such as News.

Below is an example of a Bloomberg Launchpad view showing a number of different components (click for a larger image). A Market Monitor is in the upper left corner showing major market indexes for North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Asia/Pacific. This monitor is linked to the News/Research pane below such that clicking on a market index will bring up Bloomberg News filtered for that specific index and region. The monitor is also linked to the line chart in the upper right corner so clicking on one of the indexes causes the chart to display. An Economic Calendar is displayed below the line chart showing historical economic indicator releases. An intraday Market Map is displayed in the lower right corner and is also linked to the Market Monitor. The Market Map is an interactive map showing stocks by market capitalization broken down by industry and sector and colored according to their price gains (green) or losses (red) during the current trading day.

Bloomberg API Essentials
The Bloomberg API is a spreadsheet Add-in module for Microsoft Excel that provides various methods for bringing Bloomberg data directly into Excel. The Excel API video is the longest and probably the most detailed tutorial in the Essentials collection. Highlights of this 30 minute video include working with the different Wizards that are available to fetch different types of data. These wizards include: Data Navigation – Download data for a single security from a set of categories including Company Summary, Financial/Valuation, Consensus Estimates, Ownership, Peer Group Analysis, Options Credit and FX. Real-Time / Historical Navigation – Fetch real-time and historical market data including intraday and end-of-day data. Equity Screener – The Equities Screen feature allows you to screen stocks based on different criteria. Financials / Estimates – Provides the means to retrieve historical balance sheet and analyst estimates data. Technical Analysis navigator – Similar to the historical data wizard but includes a collection of technical analysis indicators. Ultimately given a description of the final data set required, you should be able to identify the appropriate Wizard to run and/or or Bloomberg Excel function to use to fetch that data. Other features described in the video are the Template Library which is a collection of pre-designed spreadsheets that can be further customized.

Below is a picture of the Bloomberg Ribbon bar running in Microsoft Excel 2010.

Bloomberg API – Data Navigation
The Data Navigation wizard provides a convenient way to download a set of related data for a single security. After launching the wizard and selecting a security (Apple (AAPL) in this example), a list of categories are presented including Company Summary, Financial/Valuation, Consensus Estimates, Ownership, Peer Group Analysis, Options Credit and FX as shown below:

After navigating from Company Summary to Overview, the resulting data can be dropped into Excel using the “Drag to Excel” button as shown below:

Bloomberg API – Real Time / Historical Data
The Real Time / Historical data wizard provides a set of steps to ultimately create a formula (or set of formulas) in Excel that will fetch real-time data from the Bloomberg network or populate the spreadsheet with rows of historical data. The icon and drop down menus for the Import Data function are shown below:

For example, the Real-Time/Current wizard prompts for a security (AAPL in this example) and then a set of fields (PX_LAST for last price, PX_BID for Bid Price and PX_ASK for Ask price were selected). the result is a set of three Bloomberg BDP functions (Bloomberg Data Point functions) that pull the data from the Bloomberg network into Excel as shown below (note the formula in cell B2):

Additional Resources for the Bloomberg Excel API
Bloomberg offers additional tutorials and other resources to help you learn even more about the API. An interactive Bloomberg Excel tutorial can launched using command function : XATP XAPI

This tutorial launches MS Excel and provides a collection of example worksheets that document the various features of the Bloomberg Excel Add-in. Of particular interest are the large collection of BLoomberg-specific functions such as BDP, BDH, BDS, BCURVE, BEQS, and others. Bloomberg Equity Essentials

The Bloomberg Equity Essentials video covers one of the four alternate Market Sectors for the Bloomberg Essentials program. This 35 minute video covers the main functions for researching equities (stocks) using the Bloomberg terminal.

Bloomberg Fixed Income Essentials
The Bloomberg Fixed Income Essentials video is 25 minute in duration and covers the main functions for searching and analyzing fixed income instruments such as corporate bonds, municipal bond and government treasuries. The Fixed Income video is one of four alternate Market Sector areas.

Bloomberg Foreign Exchange (FX) Essentials
The Bloomberg Foreign Exchange (FX) Essentials video is 35 minutes in length and covers various foreign exchange instruments such as spot FX, forwards, swaps and interest rate products.

Bloomberg Commodities Essentials
The Bloomberg Commodities Essentials covers the use of Bloomberg to monitor and analyze the spot and futures commodities markets. This video is 27 minutes long and represents one of the four alternate Market Sector specialties in the Bloomberg Essentials program.

In the next pages I will provide some tips on taking the exams. Taking the Bloomberg Essentials Exams
Once you have reviewed the four Core videos you will be eligible to take the Core Essentials exam. From the BESS screen click on the link to View and Take Exams. The Master Exams screen will appear as shown below:

Usually the first exam to be taken will be the Core Essentials exam with Mnemonic COREESS. When you are ready to take the exam click on this link and the exam will launch. Taking the Bloomberg Essentials Core Exam

When the Bloomberg Core Essentials (COREESS) exam launches it will present a notice about the grading policy for the exam. Note that the exam is not graded until answers to all 30 questions have been submitted. Pressing the Menu button will close this notice screen and the exam will start off with question number 1.

Below is an example question and answer format (the actual question and answers have been obscured). Answering a question is a two step process: First click on your answer choices, and then click on the red Submit button at the bottom of the screen. You cannot proceed to the next question until the current question is submitted. Note also that the entire exam’s answers are not checked until the last question is submitted.

Continue answering questions and Submitting answers until you reach the last (30th) question. Bloomberg University
Bloomberg University is a collection of help and documentation guides along with schedules and sign-up sheets for Bloomberg training events. To access Bloomberg University use the code BU to bring up the screen:

Of particular interest to new Bloomberg users are the various “Cheat Sheets” – one or two page documents that provide quick access to many of the different Bloomberg functions. TO get started viewing Cheat sheets, use the code CHEAT to bring up the screen:

For example given the above CHEAT screen, click on the link 1) Getting Started to view the Getting Started cheat sheets as shown below:

Clicking again on the 1) Getting Started link will display the actual cheat sheet for getting started. Various language versions are presented. Click on the link for the desired language and the two page PDF will be downloaded and open in Adobe Acrobat.

In this series of posts I have covered a very basic introduction to Bloomberg including creating your own Bloomberg account and going through the Bloomberg Essentials training.

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