TEXT OF STORY
Kai Ryssdal: It's been true for some time now that stock prices aren't just for professionals. Everyone from mom and pop investors to day traders want to know which companies are up and which are down.
It's been the finding out that's been a problem. The standard disclaimer on most websites says "Quotes delayed 20 minutes" or something like that.
A couple of weeks ago, the Nasdaq decided to let ordinary folks start seeing prices in real time, just like the guys on Wall Street can.
Now, the New York Stock Exchange is getting ready to do the same thing, as our New York bureau chief Jill Barshay reports.
Jill Barshay: Because of that delay, many ordinary investors don't know exactly what price they'll get for a stock or fund.
Adam Sussman is director of research at the Tabb Group.
Adam Sussman: Delaying information by 15 minutes in some cases makes it completely obsolete. When people are looking for financial information, they're looking for what's happening now.
Visitors to search engines and news sites will get real-time quotes for free, but the exchanges aren't giving them away. Sussman says they'll collect flat fees from sites like Google or the Wall Street Journal. These sites wouldn't buy the price data before.
Sussman: In order to show real-time information, there was all this complicated data that you had to collect about who was accessing the real-time information, how often they accessed it, which made it impossible for open financial portals to display the information.
Corporate executives obsessed with checking their stock options will love the new service, says Robert Ellis. He's a financial industry consultant at Celent. But he says real-time prices are not that useful for long-term investors.
Robert Ellis: They really don't care whether General Electric is at $28.83 or $28.93, because the difference of that 10 cents is not significant in the long term.
It's no big deal for day traders either, Ellis says. Their online brokerages already give them fresh prices.
In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.