In particular, I previously used Yahoo Finance to 'scrape' share prices, to keep my portfolio spreadsheet up-to-date, at the click of a laptop button.
That has worked fine for a few years but, all of a sudden, in September (2013), it all seemed to go pear-shaped. Perhaps another indication that all is not peachy at Yahoo - hot on the heels of the bungled Yahoo Mail update.
What's Gone Wrong?
Back to the Yahoo Finance share price data. To get into details: the problem is that the figures for the 'latest' prices - the 'bid' and 'offer' prices - don't seem to be available consistently any more. More often than not the indication 'N/A' appears, throwing my spreadsheet into confusion. And where they are available, the spread - the difference between bid and offer - often doesn't look right.
Have a look at the data for Braemar Shipping, for example: no current price data at all!
Effectively, I am down to using only the closing prices for the previous trading day - which is OK, but it means that I won't know about any share price movements during the day, which might be important if rapid reaction is needed.
Is there an alternative?
The usual suspects unfortunately have websites (lovely as they are) that don't permit 'price scraping':
Fortunately I have found one site with 'scrapable' current prices: ADVFN. However this doesn't seem to give me the closing price from the previous day, so it looks like I'll have to obtain market data from two sources for each shareholding.
Having said all that, I am surviving on my Google Finance 'My Portfolio' page, which gives me a nifty summary of the latest prices for everything in my portfolio: really nice - but not 'scrapable'.
Ho-hum - reformatting my spreadsheet is probably something to another day (preferably on a rainy morning while I'm lying in bed). Until then - does anyone have a better solution for updating my portfolio spreadsheet?
Update 12/9/13: Obviously Yahoo is closely watching this blog as they seem to have taken immediate action to fix the problem!
I had no idea it was so influential... :-)
Update 16/9/10: The problem is still occurring on some of my share prices. It is amazing that it is taking Yahoo weeks to a) recognise that there is a problem and b) fix it comprehensively. The bottom line is - be careful will Yahoo price quotes!
I am not a financial adviser and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.