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At yahoo finance (and similar) I can download historical data such as the open, close, high, low, volume. Are the prices the bid or the ask price? I can't track the info down so far and was hoping someone on here knew the answer.

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Normal OHLC quotes refer to trade prices, not bids or asks. As you note in a comment, the volume listed also reflects actual trades. True, each trade typically occurs at either the current bid or the current ask, but there are also bids and asks that do not result in trades. The less liquid the stock, the greater the possible range of bids and asks that are not reflected in the OHLC.

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  • Thanks -- very helpful! – user3496060 Feb 25 at 4:02
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The prices could be the bid or the ask, depending on whether the open, close, high, and low were buys or sells.

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    Since there is a volume associated with each line, do you think the prices are the actual values at which the trades occurred? At any moment in time there would be both bids and asks (e.g., at the open/close/high/low there would be both bids and asks....right?? Not just one or the other as you imply...??) – user3496060 Feb 24 at 20:06
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    If stock XYZ opens at $50.00 x $50.10 in the morning and the first trade goes off at $50.10, it traded at the ask price. Looking back at that opening price at a later date tells you nothing about whether it went off at the bid or the ask because you don't know what the bid and ask were at that moment in time. There's an exception to this with option combo orders but I doubt that's relevant to what you're asking. – Bob Baerker Feb 24 at 20:16
  • Thanks -- now I get what you're saying! – user3496060 Feb 25 at 4:01

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