What is a stock “quote”?

What does it mean when someone asks for a stock quote?

Definition: Quote

A stock quote is the price of a stock in decimals as quoted on an exchange.


Stock quotes have been around since the beginning of markets. Although they began as word of mouth quotes there are now much more advanced ways to receive the price of a stock.

After word of mouth, telegrams were used to deliver stock quotes. The main drawback is that by the time a telegram was received the price of the stock could be vastly different.

The first stock price ticker system used a combination of a telegraph and a printer. In 1863 the first mechanical device to convey stock quotes over long distances was invented. The popular cartoon character Scrooge McDuck is famously one of the early adopters. Over time the stock ticker became more reliable and practical to investors around the world. This advanced stock trading forward since investors now had faster access to stock data. This is where the word stock ticker or ticker symbol originated.

After the advent of computer networks, these older devices became obsolete. The computer industry revolutionized the communication of information. Almost instant stock quotes could be retrieved if an office or individual owned a network connected computer.

Today, stock quotes are delivered almost instantly. Several websites provide real time stock quotes. Now more than ever investors use their smartphones to retrieve the latest stock quotes. Some have pointed out that there is still some delay on “real time” quotes in certain brokerage apps. They are also able to instantly trade stocks through an app on their device.

A basic stock quote shows the price of a stock quoted on an exchange. Supplemental information, like high prices, low prices, volume and change in value are typically shown on basic stock quotes. More advanced apps or sites will display additional data to help investors understand a stock price.


”I can’t believe my stock quotes are delayed on my phone.”

“What is the best real time stock quote website?”

“This app provides pre-market and after-hours stock quotes.”

Hipster investors still use old ticker tape machines like those found in the Smithsonian to retrieve stock quotes.

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