WRDS platform: major changes

This week some major changes were implemented in the Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) platform. These changes mainly concern the search options for databases (step 2) and the selection options (step 3). In essence: no options were changed for the databases. Only the way you used to make a selection has changed and the way you make a selection of variables. These are the most recent (major) changes since July 2015.

The selection screen is now much more compact and straightforward with all the options immediately available and more intuitive:

The selection screen has undergone a much bigger change. Instead of scrolling downwards through the list of boxes with lists of variables, you can now scroll sideways through the lists of variables:

The other two steps in WRDS are usually: Step 1 (Selecting a time period), and Step 4 (Output options). No major changes seem to have happened there. If I notice any more major changes in the interface I will post them here.

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New BETA platform: Wharton

The WRDS platform (Wharton Research Data Services) is a web-based interface that allows you to search through many licensed databases and makes it easier to download data from them. The learning curve on how to use the Wharton platform is minimal as all databases can be searched in a similar way. The main effort that you need to expend is: learning the details of individual databases and how the data is made available. Databases that can be searched through Wharton include: Compustat Global & North America, Execucomp, CRSP, Amadeus & Audit Analytics.

The past few weeks it has been made possible to view the new changed BETA version of the WRDS platform which looks much different from the current platform. The old interface looks as follows:

The new BETA WRDS interface looks very different:

Overall, the changes are mostly cosmetic. when you click through to a specific database you still get the same search options that are available in the previous / current version: 1) Select time frame, 2) Make a selection, 3) Choose variables, and 4) Select the output format and date format.

N.B.: The new BETA version can be viewed but as yet I do not know when the current version will be replaced. I expect it to be sometime during the summer or autumn of 2015.

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Company changes and NYSE TAQ

The NYSE TAQ (New York Stock Exchange – Trade and Quote) database is available through the Wharton portal. It contains tick by tick data (millisecond-timestamped information) on stocks traded on the NYSE stock exchange. I was intrigued by the search result I got from Compustat North America and I performed a test search to find out more about how the split of Fortune Brands Inc is handled. As I expected the ticker symbols FO, BEAM and FBHS give good output results when looking for information in either the Trades or Quotes databases.

What I did not expect was that the Code lookup tool only provides part of the company information.

Both the BEAM Inc and Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc could not be found using Code Lookup. Only information on Fortune Brands Inc could be found:

Name: FORTUNE BRANDS INC
Ticker symbol: FO
CUSIP: 349631101000

Name: FORTUNE BRANDS $2.67 CONV PFR
Ticker symbol: FOPRA
CUSIP: 349631200000

Historical ticker codes for indexes like the S&P 500 (regardless of the source) apparently work fine if you want to use them for research.

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