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Keeping real-time quotes out of reach

Bob Moon Nov 14, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: If you want to know what’s happening right now, right this very minute, there’s a good chance you can find it on the Internet. Except when it comes to the latest stock prices. Maybe you’ve noticed: Google, Yahoo and other websites have dropped those real time stock quotes they used to give you for free. Now, the data’s delayed by 15 minutes. Stock exchanges want real money for the real-time numbers. And Marketplace’s Bob Moon reports Internet companies don’t want to pay it anymore.

BOB MOON: In case you missed it, here’s the latest on the World Series:

ANNOUNCER JOE BUCK:“For the first time since 1982, St. Louis has a World Series winner.”

The Cardinals beat the Tigers 4-to-2.

The fact that’s month-old news is exactly the point the trade group NetCoalition is making. It says the stock exchanges have set prices so high for real-time stock market data, that average investors can’t afford it. Markham Erickson is NetCoalition’s executive director:

MARKHAM ERICKSON:“Most everyday investors who are not paying professional rates for access to real time won’t have access to real-time data, and we think that that’s contrary to the other incentives the federal government’s been providing to try to empower everyday investors with as much information as possible, to empower them to make their own decisions.”

As of September 1st, the exchanges started charging as much as a dollar per month per viewer to display real-time stock quotes. The Internet heavyweights say that’s too much for government-regulated monopolies to charge. They’re asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to review those prices. But Indiana University law professor Marshall Leaffer says setting prices for raw data isn’t easy:

MARSHALL LEAFFER:“You know, willing buyer, willing seller. Where are you going to get that kind of benchmark for this sort of information. I suppose it can be done, but it certainly wouldn’t be done seamlessly or easily.”

Leaffer says pro sports leagues have been fighting for ownership of scores and player stats in the courts with mixed results. And the legal ownership of such things remains murky.

In Los Angeles, I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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