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Can anyone speak to the reliability of the Alpha Vantage (AV) api for fundamental stock data? I have tried for a couple of stocks to get balance sheet data, and it seems close to accurate but I feel like I either don't clearly understand the data dictionary or it is unreliable.

Here is a sample code to pull balance sheet data for XOM using R:

library(tidyverse)
library(httr)
library(jsonlite)
library(lubridate)
# Download Data ------------------------------------------------------------
my_api_key <- 'my_api_key'

url <- 'https://www.alphavantage.co/query?'

query <- list('function' = 'BALANCE_SHEET', 
              symbol = 'XOM',  
              apikey = my_api_key)

r <- GET(url = url, 
         query = query,
         accept_json())

j <- content(r, type = 'text', encoding = 'UTF-8') 

d <- fromJSON(j)

# Clean the data ----------------------------------------------------------
bs_quarterly <- d[[3]]

bs_quarterly <- tibble(bs_quarterly)

bs_quarterly <-
  bs_quarterly %>%
  mutate(fiscalDateEnding = ymd(fiscalDateEnding)) %>%
  mutate_at(.vars = -(1:2), .f = as.numeric)

# Review the data ---------------------------------------------------------
bs_quarterly %>%
  filter(fiscalDateEnding %in% 
           ymd(c('2020-12-31', '2019-12-31'))) %>%
  select(fiscalDateEnding, 
         currentDebt,
         shortTermDebt, 
         longTermDebt,
         shortLongTermDebtTotal)

Here is the output from that code: R results

Now if I go to the sec.gov website and look at the XOM 10-K report at this site: https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/34088/000003408821000012/xom-20201231.htm

This is what I see from the balance sheet (column 1 is 2020-12-31, and column 2 is 2019-12-31):

enter image description here

The long term debt for 12-31-2019 is listed as 24,672 in AV compared to 26,342 from the 10-k. I have no idea what the AV value of short term debt as 1,701 represents. The shortLongTermDebtTotal of 26,273 is the sum of these two AV values, but this seems to grossly understate the company's debt.

My findings are the AV fundamental data is arbitrarily close to accurate but not reliable to do any real analysis with. Please let me know if I am missing something, or what other users think of this api data quality.

If AV is unreliable, is there a free or reasonably priced alternative that is reliable?

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  • $\begingroup$ Have you checked that the data is coming from comparable reporting periods, e.g. 10-K for annual, and 10-Q for quarterly periods? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ For the balance sheet I don't think it matters, a balance doesn't have a duration (like year or quarter). I have checked to make sure the periods match I am comparing against from the AV data and the SEC data. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisKiniry did you manage to get to the bottom of this? I seem to be having the same issue. I feel as if they are somehow mixing the current and non current debt into the "shortLongTermDebt" and they don't seem to be filing the debt under the correct headings. I have comapred against yahoo finance, morningstar and sec. $\endgroup$
    – mfaiz
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ I have been working with Alpha Vantage API for fundamental data more since this post. My overall sentiment is that it provides a lot of numbers, but I would not find it super reliable. I think from reviewing their documentation the method AV uses to collect the data is from companies SEC filings, specifically the xbrl files they submit. See this page from AV: documentation.alphavantage.co/FundamentalDataDocs/index.html Those xbrl submissions seem flaky to me because there are too many degrees of freedom for companies to use different tags. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 20:28

2 Answers 2

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It's mostly OK for larger, more established companies, but see here:

For 'DOCN' why do they have only 1 year?

enter image description here

vs Yahoo has 5:

enter image description here

I don't believe this is because of the free tier. That's just what they have available. You'll need to see if it works for you. I am not a big fan. Also I emailed support but they never got back to me. Again I was testing waters and was a free tier customer. I dunno, maybe they are awesome. That was my experience.

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https://simfin.com has quite robust fundamental data in the same price range as AV. Also bulk download and web API.

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  • $\begingroup$ Seems more suitable as a comment $\endgroup$
    – KaiSqDist
    Commented Mar 22 at 7:34

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