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Free Real-Time Stock Quotes Available Online

STEPHEN BERNARD   06/ 2/08 07:06 PM ET   AP

Real Time Quotes

NEW YORK — The average investor will no longer have to wait 15 or 20 minutes to find out what stocks are doing as multiple financial Web sites launch free real-time quote services.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. on Monday began a six-month pilot program to provide real-time stock quotes for Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange and American Exchange listings. CNBC, Google Inc., The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Xignite are the four companies taking part in the pilot program.

Last Wednesday, Yahoo Inc. launched real-time quotes on its financial site for NYSE- and Nasdaq-listed companies as well. Yahoo receives quotes from BATS Trading Inc., not from an exchange operator.

Nasdaq OMX plans to launch a similar real-time quote service for its European exchanges later in the month, said Adena Friedman, Nasdaq OMX's executive vice president of global data products and corporate strategy.

In the past, real-time quotes were available, but often for a fee or through retail brokerages. Financial pages on sites like Yahoo and Google previously posted stock quotes that were delayed between 15 minutes and 20 minutes. Now, any investor with Internet access can look up real-time quotes.

It is unclear how the new real-time quote services being provided to users for free will affect data providers, such as Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, which have in the past charged professional investors for such information. Both Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

"This is an overdue development for markets," Nasdaq OMX's Friedman said. The offering will add transparency to stock markets, she added.

At both Yahoo and Google, real-time quotes were among the most requested data by users.

"There was always a disconnect," between users receiving real-time news about a company and its stock price, said Mark Interrante, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Finance. That disconnect between how news affects a stock price and the actual movement of the stock made financial markets more difficult to understand, Interrante said.

Besides real-time quotes from BATS, Yahoo is receiving bid and ask prices. It plans to incorporate that additional live data into its site in the coming months, Interrante said.

As part of Google's mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible," real-time quotes are a key component to completing that mission within financial news, said Katie Stanton, Google's principal of new business development.

The four companies using the Nasdaq feed will receive real-time quotes for free for the first month, before switching to a flat-rate fee to receive the data in the future, Friedman said. Nasdaq OMX aims to attract more Web sites into the service in the coming months as well, Friedman added.

Google will continue to provide the real-time quote service to users for free even when Nasdaq OMX begins to charge for it, Stanton said. Google will offset costs through other services such as advertisements to cover the fee for receiving real-time quotes, Stanton said.

Yahoo receives the data from BATS for free, paying just a "small distribution fee," a spokesman said. The real-time quote data is provided free for anyone logging onto the site.

John Nester, a spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the Nasdaq will need regulatory approval once it begins charging its partners for the market data. The SEC approves such fees as a rule.

Yahoo's announcement, meanwhile, doesn't require regulatory approval because the company is using data from BATS, rather than from an exchange, Nester said.

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AP Business Writer Chris Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.

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Filed by Nick Graham  |