New WRDS databases!

Recently acquired new WRDS databases from the UConn School of Business include:

ExecuComp – provides compensation history for U.S. directors and current compensation for executives for companies within the S&P 1500. Includes over 80 different compensation related data items, coverage of each company’s top 5 executive officers, Over 35 measures of company financial performance, comparable data across companies & industries, and companies contained in the S&P 500, S&P 400 MidCap and S&P SmallCap 600 indexes.
RiskMetrics – this dataset includes details on the structures and practices of boards of directors at S&P 500, S&P Midcap, and S&P Smallcap firms. WRDS keeps 1996-2006 old IRRC-methodology data in the Legacy file.
comScore – tracks web browsing behavior. Offers web visitation and transaction behavior data based on a random sample from more than 2 million Internet users. Includes panelist-level browsing and buying behavior from tens of thousands of web users.

Still to come – CRSP/Compustat Merged Database and CRSP Indices

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US Credit Rating Downgrade

US National DebtWhile markets swoon and political bickering continues over downgrade of American debt, the Christian Science Monitor reports that at least 3 other rating agencies had already downgraded US before S&P’s latest drop from AAA to AA+. Top foreign holders of US debt include China, Japan, and United Kingdom.

According to this article on MSNBC website, countries that still have an S&P triple A rating include Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Japan lost its AAA rating in the late 1990s. It was further downgraded earlier this year. Other countries to lose their triple A rating in recent years include Ireland, Italy, and Spain.

CNNMoney points out the irony that there are currently four U.S. companies: Automatic Data Processing, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft that have a better credit rating than US. All four are non-financial firms and that according to S&P, “insulates them from the impact of the U.S. downgrade, which has little effect on the companies’ ability to make good on their debts.” The article reports that, “decades ago, there was a lot more AAA to go around. In 1983, there were a record 32 non-financial companies rated AAA. But a stumbling economy, an increasingly globalized market, and lots of mergers and acquisitions have made AAA a true rarity.”