Online Sources of Market Data

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One of the most revolutionary effects of the Internet has been to put timely market data within almost anyone's reach. Up-to-the minute stock prices can be obtained around the clock on virtually every search engine and news site on the Web. Online information on bonds, commodity futures, options, foreign stocks, currencies, and other markets are also now commonplace.

The amount and quality of financial information available on the Web is astonishing. Thanks to upto-the-minute information from virtually every market in the world, even novice investors have begun to seek their fortunes online. If you're a beginner, most financial sites also include background, glossaries of financial terms, descriptions of the various equities and instruments, and how each fits into a balanced financial portfolio.

GENERAL SOURCES is a one-stop site for many financial markets, including stocks, options, and futures. In addition to detailed current quotes on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and Amex stocks, PCQuote provides intraday and historical charts, company earnings, company profiles, and insider trading disclosures. It also includes links to brokers of all kinds. Finally, the site is designed in "experience tiers" for novice, experienced, and expert users. Like most sites that specialize in financial information, many sections of are proprietary—they can be accessed only after a subscription fee has been paid. is a unique source of stock market information. The site is home to one of the most comprehensive and accessible collections of consumer investment information on the Web. It includes the "Stock Sifter," which enables investors to screen stocks based on their own criteria, as well as for-pay, real-time price updates from the NYSE and Nasdaq.'s centerpiece, however, is its "Map of the Market," a world map in which continents are industrial sectors and countries are companies. As you move the cursor over a country—colored green or red depending whether its stock is up or down—a small window with news, stock quotes, earnings estimates, analysts' recommendations, and other information appears. SmartMoney updates the Map of the Market and its other financial maps automatically over the course of the day.

Yahoo! Finance has established a leading place among the portal sites. In addition to current stock quotes, the site has a comprehensive set of research tools that include earnings reports, company profiles, annual reports, and analysis. Furthermore, Yahoo! Finance boasts 23 international Web sites, including major financial centers like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. Each provides quotes on local shares.

Traditional sources of stock information have also established a presence online. Standard & Poor's Web site includes its influential indices of performance for various equity markets: the S&P 500, the S&P Global 100, the S&P Europe 350, the S&P Asia Pacific 100. It also displays the S&P Canadian and Australian indices, as well as non-equity indices for commodities and credit, and the S&P JJ Kenney/PERFORM Index.


Because stock prices can change radically within minutes, or even seconds, brokers and investors need the most current information along with nearly instantaneous access to markets. Nasdaq provides streaming feeds of quotes from its so-called Level II boards that make stock price information available to remote computer users at the same time it appears on the computers of Nasdaq market makers. The service is expensive, however, and is primarily used by brokers and professional traders.


For company research, Hoover's Online and Dow Jones Interactive are among the best. Hoover's includes news, financials, and company profiles. Most of the content is available only to Hoover's subscribers. Likewise Dow Jones Interactive includes full-text articles from the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other business publications, along with analysts' reports, historical data, and profiles of thousands of public, private, and foreign firms. Dow Jones Interactive can only be accessed by subscribers.

For those unable or unwilling to pay for financial research, one free site is a gold mine. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database contains thousands of annual, quarterly, and occasional reports filed by large publicly traded companies. The filings include detailed information about company finances, stock offerings and splits, executive compensation, insider trading, and other topics. Similar information can also often be found on the investors' pages of individual companies' Web sites. The SEC offers the filings—which range from around 1995 to the present—in both HTML and PDF formats. The site includes tutorials on finding information and explanations of the various reports companies must make to the SEC.


More and more, stock exchanges are transforming themselves into completely virtual entities with most trades no longer taking place on trading floors but only on computer screens. Nearly all exchanges, including the NYSE, Nasdaq, London, Tokyo, Singapore, and Frankfurt exchanges, have Web sites which provide current stock prices. A comprehensive list of the Web sites of international stock exchanges is available on the Yahoo! Finance site. Most major foreign exchanges provide quotes and other information in English. A good additional source of information on the Japanese economy can be found at the English language pages of Nikkei Net Interactive.


Comprehensive information on all sorts of bonds can be found at Investing in Bonds. The site allows investors to sort municipal, corporate, and treasury bonds by a variety of criteria, including credit rating, maturity, state, and volume. The site also includes a wealth of educational resources for the beginning bond trader. BradyNet is the most complete source of information about emerging market bonds, such as those issued in developing countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. The leading futures market in the United States, the Chicago Board of Trade, posts quotes on futures in a variety of areas, including grains, metals, livestock, swaps, financial instruments, Dow Jones products, X-funds, and AIG products. Real-time quotes are also available together with news and educational information on futures.


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German Stock Exchange. Available from

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Nagoya (Tokyo) Exchange. Available from

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Nikkei Net Interactive. Available from Available from

Securities and Exchange Commission. EDGAR Database. Available from

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Standard & Poor's. Available from

Yahoo! Finance. Available from