What is Your Capital IQ?

SP_Capital_IQ_FINALS&P Capital IQ is a premier financial database used in the industry by leading financial institutions, advisory firms, and corporations. The database covers global public and private companies, investment firms, capital transactions, and people. You can customize reports and export them directly to Excel or use the API to extract data from the database.

We have 8 Capital IQ terminals here at the Lippincott Library. They are located in the Yablon Financial Resources Lab. You need a Wharton username and password to access the database and a librarian to log you in. Full-time Wharton MBAs have remote access to the database though MBA Career Management. Note that access is available only during the school year.

This post focuses on the information available for a single, publicly traded company. While this database does cover privately held companies, the data available for private companies is often minimal because private companies are not required to file with the SEC.


Search by company name in the top toolbar. When you select the company, you will start on the company tearsheet which provides basic qualitative and quantitative information on the firm, including financials, key people, and equity pricing. The left-hand menu allows you to navigate to the different information segments that you can access for the company. Here are some highlights.

Financials/Valuation => Key Stats

The Key Stats page displays high-level financial information for the company you are viewing.  You can view historical financials as well as estimates for data like Total Revenues, Gross Profit, EBITDA, EBIT, Net Income and more. To view historical data (back to the late ’80’s early ’90s), adjust the timeline. Notice that you can easily jump to other financial statements from this screen. The financials can be easily exported to Excel. Select either the single page you are viewing or the entire set of financials. You can also link to the company’s 10-K and 10-Q directly from any financial statement.


In any financial statement, click on hyperlinked numbers to audit Capital IQ’s calculations. For example, click on Total Revenue. A small dialog box will open with the calculations for Total Revenues. Follow the red arrows to further drill down within the calculation. Click on a final hyperlinked number (e.g. Services) to link to the original number within the SEC filing.


Capital IQ will highlight the number within the original SEC filing.

CapitalIQ 2

You can also mouse over any hyperlinked number to view Fiscal Year and Quarter, Period End Date, Filing Date, Period Type, Value, and Currency.

CapitalIQ 3

Peer Analysis => Quick Comps

The Quick Comps page displays a S&P Capital IQ generated list of up to 10 companies they deem to be comparable to the target company. This page can also be customized to display your own set of comparable companies. Below is a snapshot of IBM’s Quick Comps.

Quick Comps 2

The page defaults to show the fields in the Capital IQ Default Comps template, made up of the following tabs: Financial Data, Trading Multiples, Operating Statistics, Business Description, Implied Valuation, and Valuation Chart. You can select a different template from the template drop-down or Add/Edit the Display Columns.

Quick Comps

Business Relationships => Customer and Suppliers

Under Business Relationships there are options to view the Customers and Suppliers for the target company and its current subsidiaries. For each relationship, you can see the customer and supplier name, the supplier’s relationship type and primary industry, and the sources which list each relationship. The table below shows 5 of IBM’s 254 suppliers. For a more visual representation of customers and suppliers use Bloomberg. The command for supply chain is SPLC.


Help Features

S&P Capital IQ offers support through their Help features. From the My Capital IQ tab, click on Help from the top right-hand side. Some of the most helpful features are the Upcoming Training Webinars and the recorded webinars that you can watch at any time (Training Webinar Recordings). The webinars focus on specialized topics like “Anticipating Activist Announcements,” but also cover database features like the three part Screening and Excel webinars. The Help pages also include FAQs by topic (e.g. Screening) and factsheets on different components.


Next time, we will focus on the Screening features in Capital IQ and the logistics of customizing the output and downloading to Excel.

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