How to Extract Stock Data

by Cindy Quarters

Extracting stock data allows you to collect historical data from a financial website and download it into a spreadsheet or other financial program on your computer. Once you have the data you can manipulate it in any way you wish, looking at trends in a single stock or comparing several different stocks. This is a convenient tool for analysis and may be used as one factor when determining which stocks to buy or sell.

Go to a financial website that reports stock information. There are many such sites on the Internet, such as Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance.

Enter the stock symbol for the stock in question and click the “Get Quotes” or similarly labeled button on the page. The system should return a current quote page for that stock.

Click the “Historical Prices” link, which is typically found on the left side of the page, along with various other links. Different sites may use slightly different terminology, but it should be similar enough to be easily recognizable.

Locate the variable parameters on the historical prices page. Select and set the range of dates you are seeking and whether you want to view the weekly or daily information within that range.

Use the “Download to spreadsheet” link to extract this data. Clicking this link will create a file containing all the data that fits the parameters you established. The new file contains comma-delimited data, which in its raw form looks like rows of numbers separated by commas.

Open the downloaded file by double-clicking it. Depending on how your computer is set up, you may be asked to provide a program to use for opening this file or it may choose one automatically based on the file type. If you must choose, select your spreadsheet program. The spreadsheet will open and the extracted data will be automatically entered into it. The data is now ready for use.

Tip

  • Other types of financial software may be able to handle extracted stock data. Check the program information to see if it can accept comma-delimited data. You can use any software that is able to handle such data.

Warnings

  • If the spreadsheet doesn’t look right, it may not be able to utilize comma-delimited data. Check to make sure it has this capability.
  • While extracted historical data can be a valuable analysis tool, past performance of a stock doesn’t mean it will continue to perform in the same manner. Data should be used as a guide, but other factors such as current market trend and the stock’s volatility must also be taken into account.

Items you will need

  • Spreadsheet software capable of utilizing comma-delimited data

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images