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.