Always Double Check Your Prices

Reader ‘G’ and I have exchanged notes today on some incorrect price quotes on a list.

After double checking it appears that Google had a bad price or two on Tsakos Energy Navigation preferreds.  Of course with a bad price for today it makes the ‘change’ column incorrect–a compounding of issues so to speak.  The volumes on the issues were correct.

In this case the prices are incorrect by about 20 cents–so not terrible–and many times we find prices differ from exchange to exchange by 2-3 cents.

We have double checked our formulas etc and they are correct.  We have used Google quotes for years and find them generally correct–but they do go off the rails on occasion.

So as we have said before we believe the data in all the lists should be around 98% correct-but the lists are just a starting point for you and your brokerage quotes are the gospel for your trades.

6 thoughts on “Always Double Check Your Prices”

  1. Appreciate the reply, Tim. I certainly wasn’t bashing the spreadsheet – just wondering why the large discrepancy. I checked three other sources before posting and they only varied by a penny for the closing price.

    I do agree, that after-hours trading goofs up the quotes. I actually have had quite a few trades trigger at 4:03 or 4:08pm, so I wonder how the different sources of pricing deal with that. All depends on their cutoff time I suspect – which will skew things for sure.

    Appreciate the spreadsheet. It is indeed, a good starting point.

    1. Hi G–no offense taken by me. I depend on folks to help me keep things as straight as possible.

      I’m noticing the shipper today are not ‘updating’ very fast–sometimes Google just doesn’t do as well as we would all like.

      I use another quote source for the baby bonds, but I have to use javascript to do it and every time I add data – or use javascript things slow down a little. I will be watching these items to see how we can improve.

  2. On a regular basis I check hundreds of preferred/baby bond closing prices between data sources. In every case that I can recall, there were discrepancies. There are several good explanations for discrepancies. One of them is when a brokerage includes after hour trades. Most days, on most preferred/babies there are NO after hour trades. But when there is a trade, often it can be a major change of price, say $1.00 to $2.00. Some brokerages include these after hour trades in their price data, others do not.

    Another reason is where was the last trade done? Understand there are literally about 50 different stock exchanges/platforms where a trade can be consummated. Some data sources do NOT include data from all sources. For example, some quote services only use data from the BATS exchange especially for bid and ask prices. For illiquid issues like preferreds/babies, you can have significant differences in bid/ask prices between different exchanges. In theory, all trades get reported to “the Consolidated Tape” which is the “official source” for all pricing data. It is NOT 100% though.

    A common question is “why does my trade at XYZ price NOT show up anywhere?” The most common reason that I see is that the trade was for less than 100 shares. These trades do NOT show on any platform as last, min or max price.

    Beyond these reasons, sometimes prices are just flat wrong with no rational explanation. Like the min price is greater than the max price or vice versa.

    I agree with Tim, that you should always double check prices before placing an order.



  3. Good evening Tim, what do you think about expanding the “Recent Comments” section. This section/links only go back 5 recent comments and since there will be more traffic on this excellent investing site, you may want to consider 10 or even 20 recent comments, so no one misses anything. Also, if someone reply’s to your comment it would be great to get an email saying such. Just some thoughts my friend, Nomad

  4. Wow Tim, if I was “correct” 98% of the time I would be pretty darn happy!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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