Yahoo! Unveils Free Live Stock Quotes

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) launched a service Wednesday that provides free, real-time stock quotes over the Internet through a set of agreements with three electronic communication networks (ECN).

Yahoo! said it is teaming up with Instinet, Island and Archipelago to provide the quotes, which include before- and after-market data, as well as volume and last-trade information.

Most Popular Finance Site

“Yahoo! continues to meet the needs of its users by providing them with a centralized, convenient location to get updated and relevant financial information,” said Tim Sheehan, director of production for Yahoo! Finance.

In July, Nielsen//NetRatings ranked the site as the most popular finance destination on the Internet.

The quotes are accessible by selecting an option labeled “Real-time ECN” from the Yahoo! Finance quote menu. Real-time quotes are also available for users of Yahoo!’s new online account access program, which lets users see information about all their financial accounts in one location.

Individual Investors a Growing Force

A strong economy and surging stock prices have made individual investors a big market force. More than half of all American households own mutual funds, according to data released earlier this week by the Investment Company Institute.

The Internet, too, is changing the way people invest by making more information accessible in real time. Online brokerages make it possible for individuals to trade on their own using this information.

“Retail investors will now have access to the information which has helped institutional investors improve their trading performance for the past 30 years,” said Instinet president and chief executive officer Doug Atkin.

Instinet Targets Broader Audience

Earlier this year, Instinet began a pilot program with featuring summaries of pre- and post-market trading. Because of the program’s success, the company said, it decided to make more of its offerings available to the public.

“Instinet has made a business decision to disseminate its market data to a broad audience and make it available to the marketplace,” said John Oddie, chief executive of the firm’s global equities business. “We are proactively forging relationships with portals, e-publishers and information providers.”

Instinet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reuters Plc, trades in more than 40 global markets each day and is a member of 20 exchanges around the world. The firm, founded in 1969, was acquired by Reuters in 1987. Instinet has plans to enter the retail business by offering direct trading through its Web site.

Island is a subsidiary of privately-held Datek. Archipelago is owned in part by Goldman Sachs and E*Trade.

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