Stock quotes are the information about the price of stock at a particular time. They are displayed either as fractions or decimals. Stock quotes provide most valuable information about stock and stock market changes. They are also the primary tool for traders to execute trade. Quotes are also available for other derivatives like futures, options, forex currencies etc.Stock quotes can be grouped into various types as historical stock quotes, delayed stock quotes and real-time stock quotes. Historical stock quotes are stock prices and change patterns before certain period of time – useful to understand and determine periodical stock trends. Delayed stock quotes are usually free stock quotes provided by various institutions, journals, portals, etc. which have 15 or 20 minutes delay. They are useful for most stock market investors and small scale traders. Real-time stock quotes, also known as live stock quotes or streaming stock quotes, are provided by specialized quote sites and through stock market trading systems with less than a minute delay. Live streaming stock quotes are vital for online day traders trading according to very small changes in stock prices.The presentation of stock quotes can vary greatly, they may be graphs with values, simple line of phrase with alphabets and decimals, or tables showing values. Similarly stock quote presentation of different sources may also vary from single ‘last price’ value to full details including the price change of the day, the trading range of the day, 52 week (one year) range, the volume traded, the average volume of trade, market capitalization, earnings per share (EPS), dividend yield, P/E ratio, closing price, highest price of the day, and lowest price of the day.By theory, a stock has a set of stock quotes as bid price and ask price. The bid price is the price which market makers or specialists are ready to pay for the stock and ask price is the price at which the market maker is ready to sell the stock. The difference between the ask and the bid price is the spread, which is mainly responsible for liquidity in low priced stocks. The need of ask and bid prices in a stock quote is purely because the market need a market maker to buy the stock whenever one trader sells it and to sell the stock whenever on want to buy it.A stock trader can find stock quotes from a variety of resources. Free delayed stock quotes are available from newspapers, journals, company websites, stock market, market maker and stock broker websites, popular search engines and portals like Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money, and various financial websites. As told earlier real-time stock quotes are paid services. These services also provide timely alerts and triggers to automate and better execute traders, and are integrated with powerful mathematical and visual tools to formulate right trading strategies. Recently Google and CNBC have presented their readiness to provide free real-time stock quotes of NYSE stocks to SEC, which if come true will be an added benefit to all type of traders.
As every wise investor knows, getting the right information regarding stocks, gives one the knowledge necessary to make sensible investment decisions. Unlike earlier times when investors had to rely on limited stock quotes published in the daily newspapers or broadcast over radio or television, the internet is today full of real-time information on stocks. In some cases, quotes are delayed for a period not exceeding 30 minutes, during which analysts summarize and publish accurate information about the stock. In different sites, one can easily find out what the mutual funds, bonds, indexes, stocks, and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are trading for. In addition to stock quotes, one can access earning reports, financial reports, short interest reports, analyst coverage, and SEC filing on and about specific companies from the web. Knowing the history of the company helps the investor decide whether the stock is solid enough to warrant his or her investment.Most stock quotes are freely accessible, and all one has to do is identify the most informative site for use. To make the user experience even more rewarding, some of the sites that quote trade prices on specific stocks allow the user to download the information into computer applications like OpenOffice and Microsoft excel among others. Should one chose a site like Yahoo! Finance or MSN Money, he or she would be able to examine price quotes on a specific company by typing the company’s name into a provided text box. In cases where an investor wants to compare stock prices for different companies, he or she can type the names (or acronyms) of the companies, he or she is interested in, and click on the search icon.For investors who are curious about where websites like Yahoo! Finance, MSN money or DailyFinance.com get their information from, it is worth noting that the websites rely on more than 3,000 information sources. Some of the sources stream similar information into the websites, and it is hence the website administrator’s job to compare the information and verify that only the most accurate is published on the website. Investors’ evaluation of stock quotes is further boosted by the interactive charts published on different financial websites across the internet. Company events such as financial earnings and dividends given to the shareholders can also be used as a viable indicator regarding the company’s financial performances and hence the level of risk attached to its stock.Across different financial websites, real-time stock quotes are available from stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), American Stock Exchange (AMEX), and NASDAQ. To access quotes from other countries, one may need to search the specific stock exchanges where the stock is listed. With the internet making the world a global village, investors interested in oversee stocks can access quotes on stocks in a similar way that they access quotes on domestic companies. This has made business for the oversee investor not only fast, but also effective.
Frustrated by all the symbols in a stock quote? Here’s a basic overview to reading a stock quote on Yahoo Finance.If you’re like many new stock market investors you are learning all sorts of new things, one of the many things you need to know is how to read a stock quote.Yahoo Finance has a nice stock quote page, please follow along and go to this web page http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=msft and find out what everything means.Near the top of the page it will tell you that you are looking up Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) this tells us what company we are looking at. You will then see the last price (which is delayed 20 minutes) and you will see how much the stock has gone up or down for the day.If you scroll down the page you will find a table with a bunch of data.Last Trade: This is the last trade that happened on this stock (delayed 20 minutes)Trade Time: This is the date or the time of the tradeChange: Amount the stock traded up or down in dollars and percentagePrev. Close: The amount the stock closed at the last day it traded. Generally the day before, unless holiday or weekendOpen: Price the stock opened at today or if weekend or holiday last day it tradedBid: What various investors are looking to buy the stock for at the current momentAsk: What various investors are willing to sell the stock for at the current moment1 yr Est: Estimate for the stock’s price in one year’s timeDay’s Range: The range in price the stock has traded that day52wk Range: Stock price from low to high over the past year of tradingVolume: Number of shares of stock traded so far todayAvg. Vol (3m): Average number of shares traded each day for the past 3 monthsMarket Cap: This is the market price for the company take the number of shares outstanding and multiple by the price of the stockP/E: Price to earnings ratioEPS: Earnings per shareDiv & Yield: The dividend (if any) that you could receive from the company for owning stockThose are the basic items on that Yahoo finance page; you can also find charts, headlines and some more background information on the company.