Stock Market: Market Data

Understanding market data of Stocks is pretty easy. Let me divide it into three categories:

  • Realtime Data/Quote – Stock price at any given point of time during trading hours
  • Historical Data – Historical Stock prices. Stock prices are available right from the day their IPO release.
  • Analytical/Research Data – Analytics and research information of company’s performance

(Other information like Stock Splits, Dividend Announcements etc is also considered as market data)

Realtime Data:

Realtime Data is also known as Quote. Quote is the snapshot of the market at given point of time during trading hours. Quote basically explains the current market condition. It includes:

  • Bid – Highest Offer
  • Ask – Lowest asking price
  • Last Trade – Price of the most recent trade
  • Trade Time – Time of the most the recent trade
  • Open – Day’s opening price
  • Previous Close – Previous trading day’s closing prices
  • Volume – Volume traded so far on current trading day (on listed stock exchange)

Brokerage firms and institutional investors get their live data from market data vendors like Bloomberg and sometimes directly from exchanges. Individuals can get live quotes from their retail broker. Delayed quotes are available on many public web sites like Yahoo Finance, CNN Money etc
(Quotes are available as Level I and Level II. I will explain this in another segment)

Historical Data:

Historical prices are key to measrue the performance of the stock. Key data elements of historical data are:

  • Date – Date of the stock data
  • Open – Opening price of that mentioned day
  • Close – Closing price
  • High – Highest price traded during the day
  • Low – Lowest prices traded during the day
  • Volume – Total volume traded on that day

Ananlytics and Research Data:

Market data vendors may provide many more details on analytics, performance and research data of the stock. Some of these items are:

  • 52 Week Range
  • Average Volume (3M)
  • Market Cap
  • P/E Ratio
  • EPS
  • Dividend
  • Industry research
  • Market analysis
  • Industry Ratings  etc

Where do I find stock market data for free?

  • Yahoo Finance is one of the major free resources for individuals. Yahoo also gives you an option to download historical data in excel spreadsheet format. It is a good place to get some first hand statistical and research data.
  • If you have a trading account with any retail brokerage firm, usually they have extensive reports on most of the stocks.

Major sources/Vendors are:

  • All stock exchanges publish the prices of the stocks listed
  • Bloomberg – Live, Historical and Analytics
  • Reuters – Live, Historical and Analytics
  • IBISWorld – Research reports
    And many more…