Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesThe media frenzy surrounding the news that Bloomberg reporters were using their terminals to access important information about bankers, government officials, and more serves to remind us of one thing — the Bloomberg terminal is one of the most powerful machines in the world.
If you’ve never used one before, it’s impossible to understand the kind of information users can access. For the most part this is public info (you could find it in a company’s filings, fo example), but Bloomberg just makes it customisable and easy to find. We’re talking about taking big data, and squeezing it into easy-to-manage charts and lists right at your fingertips.
Business Insider contacted terminal users all over the Street to get the functions they consider most valuable.
One answer we got that can’t even be measured is the fact that users can build their own functions based on their needs. That means some of the best functions out there are probably closely held secrets.
Here are a few powerful public functions Wall Streeters told us they couldn’t live without.
- BMAP (Bloomberg Map) — This is a function like Google Earth but faster, easier to use, and more clear. It’s especially useful for anyone that deals with energy and commodities because you can get alerts on weather events (like earthquakes) and then see, for example, what mines or (say) nuclear plants are in the area.
- MLUX (Luxury Shopping) — Takes you to a page where you can check out some really expensive, awesome stuff to buy. Great for a busy banker who can’t leave his desk, and just wants to get taken to luxury.
- FA (Financial Analysis) partnered with a function like GEO (Geography) or PROF (Product) — Instead of pouring through pages and pages of SEC filings, this makes it possible for a user to find exactly what they want from a company’s data. For example, say you want to find out how much of Apple’s sales are in Austria, you’d hit APPL, FA, GEO. If you want to look at say, a new Caterpillar product, you could look it up using FA, PROD.
- MVP (Most Valuable Player) — This function lets you know who the everyone that has a Bloomberg Terminal is reading/talking about daily. This is a must if you want to be plugged into gossip.
- PEOP (People) — Consider this like a Wall Street LinkedIn showing who’s worked where and when.
- GP (Graph Price), RSI (Relative Strength) — Functions like these are very valuable for anyone doing technical analysis because you can instantly look at these charts. More importantly, you can customise them as you wish and look at say, price over a 20-year period in monthly intervals or price over a 6 month period with daily intervals.
- Bloomberg Messaging — This isn’t necessarily a function but it’s incredibly valuable. This allows you to instant message anyone that has a Bloomberg Terminal. Period. For some people, it’s the sole reason why a terminal is a must-have product.
- HDSM(Holder Group Mode) — Shows who holds a stock but also allows you to filter for certain accounts. This is especially valuable in sales. You can build a list of your clients and then type in, say, IBM — all your clients that hold that stock will come up. If you drop the M (HDS) you see the non-customisable version of this, which is just the top holders of any given stock.
- RRG (Relative Rotation Graph) —This function analyses shifts in market sector leadership (one of our favourite blogger/traders explains its power at length here). It breaks down your universe of stocks into Improving, Leading, Weakening and Lagging and you can watch how the sectors move over a given period of time.
- POSH (Classifieds) — Think of this like a Bloomberg Craigslist that allows users to list anything they’re selling from cars to apartments. How awesome is that function name?
- SPLC (Supply Chain) — Lets you track who a company’s customers are and what percentage of a company’s revenue they make up.
- ADL (Advanced/Decline Line) — This shows you the advance/decline line of any index in the world over a given time.
- TDH (Trade History Function) — Because bonds aren’t traded on a central exchange, it can be hard to get accurate prices. However, dealers are required to report their sales using a reporting system called TRACE. Bloomberg takes these reports and gives users the price history of a given bond so they know what price they should be paying.
- BI (Bloomberg Industries) — Get research on any industry under the sun from airlines to minerals.
- OVDV (Currency Volatility) — This gives users the foreign exchange bet on any given currency pair around the world.
- DINE (Restaurants) — This is basically Wall Street’s Yelp. Get reviews on loads of restaurants, especially high end spots.
So while this “spying” scandal looks bad, there aren’t many people willing to disconnect from all of this stuff.