This entry provides information on:
- U.S. Stock Prices
- Foreign Stock Prices
- Ticker Symbols
- Stock Ratings
A. U.S. Stock Prices
Current Quotes: You can get free real-time stock quotes on the Internet from several sites including Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance and Free Real Time. Alternatively, you can get real-time quotes from Factiva for a fee, or WSJ.com if you subscribe.
If you don't want to register or pay, you can get free quotes with a 15 or 20 minute delay from several Internet sites including the the Washington Post.
Note: The markets close at 4PM and final information is generally all in by 4:30. Subscribers can get after-hours quotes available from WSJ.com.
Quotes for most stock traded on the over-the-counter (OTC) market are are available from the OTC Markets (including the former "Pink Sheets") and on Yahoo! Finance. Quotes for other OTC stocks are available from the OTC Bulletin Board.
Stock Indexes: You can get current quotes for the major stock market indexes -- the Dow Jones Industrials, the S&P 500, etc. -- on the Washington Post web site and Yahoo!. More information is available directly from Dow Jones and Wilshire. See also the paragraph on Stock Indexes in the Historical Quotes section of this entry, following.
Historical Quotes: You can get free historical quotes (including open, close, high, low and volume) from Yahoo! Finance, Big Charts and Google Finance, generally back to 1970. IMPORTANT: As of 2009, Yahoo provides both unadjusted prices and prices adjusted for stock splits and dividends; Big Charts provides both unadjusted prices and prices adjusted for stock splits; Google provides only prices adjusted for splits (see Historical Stock Prices by Lark Birdsong).
To go back further, use Westlaw, which provide similar data (go to Site Map > Alerts > Quotes) or one of a number of subscription databases, such as Bloomberg Law or S&P NetAdvantage, which has daily prices back to 1984 for stocks (1998 for mutual funds).
For even older quotes, look in the relevant volume of the Daily Stock Price Record and/or back issues of the Wall Street Journal. These are generally available in larger public and business libraries.
Yet another way: Call NASDAQ Market Research (202-858-4000), which sells historical stock prices by the month.
If you can't readily find a price for a stock, it may be an "obsolete stock" (i.e., worthless), or the business may have been absorbed into another company that does have value. See "Companies No Longer Quoted," below.
Stock Indexes: Getting free historical return information for stock market indexes can be tough. You can find historical data on the S&P indices from Standard & Poor's, and return information for the Russell indexes is posted by the Frank Russell Company. Note: The Russell 3000 is a composite of the Russell 1000 (the biggest 1000 companies in the index, and the Russell 2000, the smaller 2000 companies out of the top 3000).
Alternatively, Westlaw has historical data for indexes, and the other fee-based quote services mentioned above might too.
Intraday Trades and Quotes: You can get intra-day data on trade and quotes (i.e., bids and offers) for the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, OTCBB and OTC Markets from NYSE Technologies Daily TAQ,
NASDAQ Data-On-Demand (2008-present), TickData.com and The Fitch Group. Otherwise, you can call the relevant exchange.
Companies No Longer Quoted: Stock prices for delisted companies are available through Bloomberg terminals and Bloomberg Law (bring up the company report, then click at the bottom of the PERFORMANCE box on the right). The Westlaw quote service used to have delisted companies, but I looked for historical prices for a prominent delisted company in 2012, and it was not there.
If you want to know whether the stock of a company no longer quoted is worth anything, try StockSearchIntl.com and/or OldCompany.com. More resources for researching potentially obsolete shares are posted on the SEC's Stock and Bond Certificates, Old page and the "Obsolete Securities" section of A Guide to Finding Business Information at the Library of Congress.
Tax Valuation: The IRS requires stock to be valued at the "mean" price plus "accruals" for Trust, Estate and Gift Tax purposes. You can get these prices from the Appraise system from Evaluation Services, Inc. (ESI) or a competitor.
B. Foreign Stock Prices
Free quotes for stock traded on about a dozen foreign exchanges are available from the Financial Times and WSJ.com, which provides intra-day quotes for some countries. Free quotes may also be posted on the Web site of the relevant foreign stock exchange; links to foreign exchanges are posted at www.world-stock-exchanges.net/. Quotes for Canadian stocks are posted on Canoe.
Current prices for foreign stock market indexes are posted free on Yahoo! and the Financial Times web site. You can get some historical quotes through Yahoo! by clicking on the hypertext ticker symbol, then choosing "Historical Prices" in the left hand column.
You can buy historical prices for many foreign exchanges from Tick Data.
C. Ticker Symbols
You can look up a company's Ticker Symbol using Yahoo! or one the other free online lookups. Subscribers can search for a ticker in Bloomberg Law or, for the broadest searching, a Bloomberg terminal.
Alternatively, you can call the relevant Stock Exchange. Or you can search for the company name in a business news database and you might find the ticker at the top of a press release or in one of the articles.
D. Stock Ratings
Stock ratings from Moody's, S&P, Duff & Phelps, etc. are available from Bloomberg, but you'll need a Bloomberg terminal to get current information. The ratings are available with an 8+ hour delay on Lexis. MorningStar also does stock ratings, available to subscribers.
For more comprehensive evaluations of a stock's prospects, see "Analyst Reports."