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For my finance textbook, I would like to recommend data sources that students can afford. Obviously, Compustat is not affordable.

Are there any low-cost or free data bases that offer basic historical financial statements on US (and maybe non-US) companies in panel format? I am thinking of just about 10-20 key items for at least 20 years for all US corps: Assets, Current Assets, Liabilities, Current Liabilities, Long-Term Debt, Working Capital, Revenues, Gross Profit, Operating Income, Interest Expense, Income Tax Expense, Net Income, CF Operations, CF Investing, and CF Financing. Plus a ticker, a period date, and a release date.

Presumably, this could even be scraped from Edgar, but I would rather not have to do this myself.

Pointers appreciated.

/iaw

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iextrading

https://iextrading.com/developer/docs/#financials

  • Costs: free
  • Data provided: income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, EOD price, volume, splits, dividends
  • Data format: JSON
  • Data access method: RESTful API + websockets (real-time)
  • Misc.: excellent documentation, very active github issue tracking
  • Drawbacks: historical data goes back by only 2 years

eodhistoricaldata.com

https://eodhistoricaldata.com/knowledgebase/stock-etfs-fundamental-data-feeds/

  • Costs: $10/month
  • Data provided: quarterly/yearly income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, EOD price, dividends
  • Data format: JSON
  • Data access method: RESTful API
  • Misc.: sign up is very easy, documentation is good
  • Drawbacks: I detected missing EOD prices for historical months

InteractiveBrokers API

https://interactivebrokers.github.io/tws-api/fundamentals.html

Note: requires to open a trading account with them. Approval times vary, and might not be suitable to students.

  • Costs: sign-up free.
  • Data provided: everything (including dividends)
  • Data format: depends on the client library (C++, Java, Python)
  • Data access method: only via libraries (C++, Java, Python), no RESTful API. (personal opinion: only suitable for people with a very strong developer background).
  • Misc.: documentation isn't very good.
  • Drawbacks: taking approval time, and time to learn their technical nomenclature into account, I don't recommend using it for student projects. It's good for professionals.

Quandl

https://www.quandl.com/databases/SF1

  • Costs: $29/month to access 5 years worth of data
  • Data provided: 14,000 companies and 150 indicators (alternative data is also provided, but costs more)
  • Data format: JSON, CSV, or library specific (R,Python, Matlab, Excel)
  • Data access method: RESTful API, and via libraries
  • Misc.: documentation + support is very good, excellent data quality
  • Drawbacks: the more data you want to access, the more you need to pay.

I developed software using all of the above services. eodhistoricaldata.com is my favourite so far.

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  • $\begingroup$ can you comment on availability of dividend info? without it, it is impossible to calculate rates of return. $\endgroup$ – ivo Welch Dec 28 '18 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, all three services provide dividend information. $\endgroup$ – Jan Dec 28 '18 at 23:16
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I have compiled a pretty exhaustive list on my website: http://the-world-is.com/blog/resources/general-investor-resources/

Particularly, look under the following headings: "Tools" >> "Research Platforms" and, "Data" >> "Fundamental Financial Data"

There are a lot resources there to get you started. Personally, I use Portfolio123 which might also be appropriate for your purposes. It has several panel-based displays of financial data, some of which are customizable. Moreover, its core data holdings are actually derived from Compustat yet it is much more affordable than purchasing a license to Capital IQ.

In this business, you often get what you pay for. I believe that paying a little coin for premium data is well worth the cost, especially since the costs have come down significantly for retail investors.

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  • $\begingroup$ yes, I think one does get what one pays for. this is very useful for students that need relatively little and pay relatively little. PS: I will also be glad to reference your list in my book! $\endgroup$ – ivo Welch Jul 12 '17 at 7:50

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