Who knows what an historical price is?

Jay Gourley
Jay Gourley Member ✭✭
edited January 2 in Investing (Windows)
This is a general investment question. I am unable to find much agreement on historical prices. Can someone explain why? The discrepancies are significant. Here's a typical example from low to high:

Pfizer closing price for12/31/18:
$41.35 WolframAlpha
$41.41 Nasdaq.com
$41.41 Yahoo Finance
$42.96 Quicken for Windows on 12/31/18 (not sure how it got in the price history)
$43.65 Quicken on 1/1/19 (a holiday so presumably the closing on 12/31/18)
$43.65 Merrill Lynch (on my brokerage statement).

Comments

  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    My Quicken data is consistent with yours = 43.65

    I think what you are seeing is the consequence of the Viatris spinoff in Nov 2020.  From the Yahoo finance data, I see that presented as a 1.054 / 1 split.  

    It seems to be common for data suppliers to adjust the historical prices downward when such a spinoff takes place.  The premise is that before the spinoff the ongoing company was made up of the ongoing Pfizer and Viatris.  After the spinoff the historical info should only reflect the ongoing protion, not the spinoff contribution.  I think in the corporate books they may do something simeilar with respect to restating earnings and expenses.  

    That then creates a significant (IMO) problem for Quicken.  Our data (my data) wants to know the real trading value of PFE on 12/31/18, not one adjusted for a subsequent corporate action.  Unless the user has kept up with the price data all the way along, misrepresentations can develop.

    I believe the 43.65 is the correct value for Pfizer for 12/31/2018 for Quicken data.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I have no idea why the prices would be different.  I even used =STOCKHISTORY() in Excel and it gave me a different price from all of these above, but I think I can explain the 1/1/19 Quicken entry.

    One of the places Quicken gets its prices from is in the information that the financial institution provides during downloading of transactions.  Some financial institutions post their prices for the previous day early in the morning of the next day and set the date to that day.  This results in a price recorded "one day late".  So, the Monday price is codes as Tuesday, and so on, but when Quicken gets the price from its third-party quote service it overwrites this price, so people seldom see this unless they are looking at it on Saturday/Sunday.  I believe because it has caused some problems confusion these days Quicken drops prices that are marked for the weekend.
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