How to download historical stock market data

Historical stock market data is important for any charting software that is used for technical analysis. Technical traders use different chart software packages to produce historical charts.

These historical stock charts are important for analysis of the longer-term situation. It is wise to use several different time frames, as these long and mid term charts allow you to analyze major technical situation much better.

Good software for market chart analysis allows you to setup more than one chart on the screen and comparing situation on different time frames is very helpful for profitable trading. I can say that the ability to see several different time frames is essential knowledge for any type of stock trading.

If you are day trader who trades for minutes or hours or a swing trader who trades for days or weeks it is very important to analyze mid-term charts and long-term charts. The big picture provides key information about major trend and about major levels of support and resistance that cannot be see so easily on short term charts like intraday charts or daily charts.

Active investors or position traders use mid-tem and long-term historical stock charts almost exclusively for their trading needs.

Free or paid data for stock market charting software?

Any stock chart software will not be able to produce long-term charts without historical stock market data. Such data should be downloaded from some good and reliable source.

There are several different options to download historical stock market data to your software. There are data providers that deliver real time and historical price data for traders’ needs. These providers could be some online brokers and there are also specialized market data providers.

Data delivered by brokers or by specialized data providers is often a paid service. Stock brokers could also provide data for free if you are able to generate enough commissions by trading with them. Professional data providers are a very good and reliable source for active traders or investors that want to have a really reliable source of end of day historical stock market data and also realtime stock market data for their stock chart software package.

Beginning traders would prefer to start with some cheaper option. They often also use some form of free stock market software so they prefer to use free historical stock market data as well.

This option is good for learning and education and I recommend using this option in the beginning. The stock trading education and learning process will be easier without heavy costs.

Free stock market data sources for AmiBroker charting software

I have started to use AmiBroker quite soon after I decided to learn how to trade equity markets – btw. it has been more than 10 year now.

I found it on the Internet, downloaded a trial version and found it very good. Really good. So I decided to buy it – it is really cheap stock chart software. When you compare features available in AmiBroker you can find that there are a lot of different programs for equity market charting that are much more expensive and do not offer so many features as AmiBroker.

The big bonus of this charting software is that AmiBroker is independent to a data provider. It is possible to use different sources of historical stock market data. You can have one source for stock market quotes and another source for data from currency markets etc.

I bought a Professional version as this version can also produce realtime charts and I can monitor stock market development in realtime. AmiBroker can work with different databases of symbols / tickers. It is possible to have one database of stock market tickers for US markets. Another database could be for the currency – Forex – market. It is also possible to have some database for commodities or international markets.

I trade US markets so I have prepared database of tickers traded on US stock exchanges. When the database is created and opened in AmiBroker then it is empty. There is no historical stock market data for stock tickers and it is not possible to see any charts.

Now it is time to download historical stock market data. AmiBroker offers a feature that allows you to use several different sources of free stock market quotes. These sources are accessible by a special utility delivered in the AmiBroker stock chart software package. This utility is called AmiQuote. Here is a screen-shot of free sources that can be used .

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How to download historical stock market data

When you create a new database of stock tickers, it is empty. The AmiQuote utility can fill this database with historical stock market data for all tickers from some source of free stock market quotes.

I personally prefer to use Yahoo finance as a source for historical price data for my needs. Here are the steps how to fill a newly created database.

First start AmiBroker and open a newly created database of tickers. You are not going to see any chart, as there is no data in the database.

Now start AmiQuote. You can find it in a list of programs in the Windows Start menu in the AmiBroker folder.

Now use the AmiQuote menu option “Tools” and use sub-menu option “Get tickers from AmiBroker”. The list of tickers from the AmiBroker database appears in the AmiQuote window with “waiting” status, as you can see on this image below.

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We have to define the date range for historical data download. I think that 20 years is quite enough history, but it is possible to download data back to 1900 I think.

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The selected data source is Yahoo historical, as you can see in picture above.

Notice that there is a check box that must be checked to allow automatic import of data into AmiBroker.

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Now we click the green arrow under the menu and AmiQuote starts to download data from the Yahoo financial data site.
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The download status can be monitored by info provided in the bottom status bar of the AmiQuote window.

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Status of an individual ticker can be seen in the main AmiQuote window ticker list. Data are immediately copied from AmiQuote into the AmiBroker database.

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When downloading is finished, the status bar describes the situation as “Completed”.

Now you have data automatically downloaded into AmiBroker and it is possible to see and analyze historical stock charts in AmiBroker charting software.

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