Some good news for journalists and amateur investors looking for a quick real-time quote: Yahoo Finance turned on a real-time quote service today, with data provided by the BATS ECN. If you recall, real-time quotes basically disappeared from the free internet back in 2006, when the various financial portals and the stock exchanges couldn’t agree on a price for the service. That impasse over pricing has not been resolved. But the major exchanges don’t have a complete grip on the data, as the independent BATS exchange (which trades a full spate of stocks) agreed to provide the data sans charge.
Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and the other major financial portals (Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Finance, MSN, etc.) may still find reason to hammer out an agreement with the major stock exchanges: While it’s a fully liquid exchange, BATS volume accounts for about 8-10 percent of total trading, so it’s possible that a given stock is trading at a slightly different price somewhere else. However any difference is likely to be less than trivial for your average user and journalist, making this a welcome service.