Stock Brokers With Real-Time Streaming Quotes 2019


See which discount online brokerage firms are offering free real-time streaming stock, ETF, and mutual funds quotes.



Brokerage Firms That Offer Real-Time Streaming Quotes




What Are Streaming Quotes? And How Are They Useful?


If you’re trying to trade a stock, it sure would be helpful if you actually knew what the going price for it is, right? This may sound logical enough, but believe it or not, in the not-too-distant past, some brokerage firms and websites didn’t provide up-to-date pricing information.


Enter Real-Time Quotes


In the 1990’s, a stock’s price usually was displayed on the Internet 20 minutes behind, which can be an eternity in the stock market. In the past several years, there’s been a shift towards displaying stock quotes in real time.

With the advent of the Internet, it’s now possible to see stock prices at the speed of light. Prices can be transmitted from New York to any computer or mobile device anywhere in the world in a matter of milliseconds. Before the Web, stock quotes would be printed in the newspaper, which means they would be at least a day behind. Most brokerage firms today offer data in real time, either for free or for a price.


How Should Real-Time Quotes Be Used?


The word “streaming” could be a little misleading. On television, you might see stock quotes streaming across the screen from right to left. This is possible on the Internet as well, but most sites simply display price information in a stationary format, without the price moving across the screen. Whether the price is actually moving across the screen or is stationary, you want to make sure it is a real-time quote. You can do this by asking your broker; or usually, the quote time is displayed underneath the price. Obviously, a real-time price will have the current time stamped with it, and a delayed quote will be 20 minutes behind the current time.


How Should Real-Time Quotes Be Used?


If you’re trading a stock, you definitely want to use the real-time price. In a span of 20 minutes, a stock can shift rapidly in price. This is especially true of stocks with a history of high volatility. Twitter (symbol TWTR), for example, tends to have a lot of up and down price swings. When you place an order for the stock, you really need to know what the equity is trading for right now, not 20 minutes ago. With up-to-the-minute information, you’ll know what a good price is and what your limit order should be.


Real-Time Quotes at Broker-Dealers


TD Ameritrade provides real-time streaming quotes (and news) to non-professional traders free of charge. Professional clients must pay for data, except for Level II quotes, which are free. Streaming news costs $99 per month, Nasdaq Level I quotes are $24, real-time NYSE quotes are $45, and streaming AMEX costs $23.

At TradeStation, delayed quotes are always free. Real-time data varies according to the exchange and professional status of the account. Professional accounts generally have to pay more for real-time quotes, although there are exceptions.

Merrill Edge charges nothing for real-time Level I quotes, although it does impose active trader requirements on its desktop platform. On its website, a quote is time stamped with the date and time that the price is taken from. When you’re trading with any broker-dealer, you want to make sure you check this timestamp to verify that the information you’re getting is in real time.


Merrill Edge streaming quotes


E*Trade’s app Power E*Trade doesn’t indicate if a quote is in real-time, but it does show time and sales information with times of trades.


Real-Time Quotes on Financial Websites


If your broker doesn’t offer real-time data, you could alternatively use some free sites that offer stock quotes. Some of these provide real-time information for free, while others use delayed data. As with our advice on trading with a broker, you’ll definitely want to be sure to check the date and time to verify whether you’re looking at delayed or real-time information.


Morningstar streaming quotes


On Morningstar’s site, we found real-time price information displayed for Nasdaq stocks like Facebook. This information is displayed along with bid and ask sizes and average volume. Because Morningstar doesn’t charge anything for this information, it’s a good way to obtain it.


MarketWatch streaming quotes


At MarketWatch, we found delayed quotes for the same stock (Facebook). A label identifying the data as a delayed quote is displayed directly under the price.


Updated on 1/28/2019.