While real-time stock quotes have been available online since approximately 1998, they haven't always been available free. In the early days, one could pay anywhere from ten to 100 bucks a month for real-time stock quotes, but it was pretty much a "buyer, beware" situation. Some sites just trawled other sites for their stock info (making it de facto old news) and others, that were charging a premium, were merely passing on the fees charged them by the NYSE. After all, $100,000 per month is a pretty hefty amount to provide everyone with a ticket to ride.
Thankfully, we have escaped that past and now in the new millennium can reasonably expect up-to-date information, some of it free, to be available to us 24/7. That, of course, is a joke. Simply obtaining the bare facts of a standard news story these days can frequently take weeks. However, for investors focused on their portfolios, Google, CNBC, and the Wall St. Journal are major benefactors. All provide real-time stock quotes free on their Websites, with no registration required. And they, in turn, are obliged to NASDAQ's Last Sale, a recently launched new service from the tech-heavy stock exchange whose business is all conducted electronically.
Obtaining real-time stock quotes online is vital for success in the stock market, especially if you like to buy and sell quickly. Just make sure you know the difference between real-time and streaming stock market quotes. Real-time quotes are accurate, while streaming stock quotes are typically delayed at least 15 minutes before being published on the Web..
Many Internet Websites such as Google Finance have a cost-effective yet sophisticated stock quote system that provides high-performance real-time streaming market data, covering stocks, options, e-minis, and mutual funds and currencies for all major North American exchanges. Some sites also offer real-time streaming stock quotes including penny stock quotes via browser-based applications which require no downloads.
The ideal is a Website that not only offers real-time stock market quotes, but also economic indicators plus up-to-the-minute news that will help you make educated decisions about your investments. Free sites usually offer streaming, not real-time stock market quotes, so you'll probably have to subscribe and pay a fee to access sites offering real-time quotes and additional pertinent information.