Whilst MetaStock will provide market data for their users through the Reuters DataLink service, you are able to source market data through numerous third parties.
The widely known “MetaStock” data format was developed from the earlier ‘Computrac’ format which dates back to the early 1980s. It came to be informally known as the “MetaStock” format through its association with the popular MetaStock charting/analysis program. Due to the popularity of the MetaStock software over the years, the “MetaStock” format became the de-facto industry standard, and over time, many other pieces of charting/analysis software were developed to be able to read and use this format – even if they had their own format too.
Many new users of MetaStock adopt the Reuters DataLink service to provide their end of day data for the MetaStock D/C. As you probably know with the release of V15, MetaStock re-accommodated ‘Local Data’ services. This was not available with versions 12, 13 and 14.
There are numerous 3rd parties who provide market data in a MetaStock, and the best available is TXL Data (provided by Norgate). (Humble apologies to Reuters and MetaStock)
TXL Data is a software package that updates end of day prices from stock exchanges in Australia and the United States. In the case of the Australian Securities Exchange, progressive hourly snapshots are also available.
The software is easy to install and run. Once you’re set up, it’s simply a matter of connecting to the Internet and clicking the ‘update’ button. There are no restrictions on the number of updates that can be performed. When the program connects to our data servers, it supplies any data that hasn’t as yet been downloaded. If you have been away on holidays, the intervening period is filled in automatically.
Reuters vs TXL Data
Whilst TXL Data provides far more flexibility for their users, the source of the data is still the same. Both Reuters and TXL Data source their data from the exchanges. The subtle difference is simply how the data is presented to you and what extra functionality and customization they provide you.
Both services are comparable in price although Reuters provides a monthly payment option – the shortest subscription period with TXL Data is 6 months – in this instance you pay an additional 10% surcharge.
One thing that TXL Data is provide data for indices as part of the standard subscription. For example, you receive data for the ASX200 index and All Ordinaries index, whereas with Reuters these are not included in an ASX package – you need to pay an additional fee to obtain ‘world indices’. Many would consider this nonsensical – a market index is an integral part of the market and should be included along with all of the stocks.
A ‘Custom Folder’ is a physical folder that you can create on your device to hold a specific group of stocks – for instance, the constituents of an index or industry sector. When you create a custom folder, the relevant data files are copied from the ‘standard’ exchange’s stocks database. The custom folder is then updated as part of the database and is fully maintained with database maintenance actions.
Custom Folders are based on lists of symbols that are held in simple text files. TXL Data provides a large number of pre-generated lists that it keeps up to date. These lists provide index constituents, industry classifications and other useful criteria – click on the image for just a small sample of what is available.
Seamless Data Maintenance
In addition to supplying daily data updates, the service provides essential database ‘housekeping’. Maintenance actions keep the historical database in good order by automatically:
- adding newly-listed securities
- eliminating delisted securities
- accounting for name and/or code changes
- adjusting historical prices for the effect of stock splits, capital returns, de-mergers etc (capital-base adjustments).
As a general rule, free sources of data do not perform any maintenance – they simply provide flat ASCII or CSV text files each day with no corporate action information.
Incorporating into MetaStock
With MetaStock V11 (and earlier versions) a user simply went to File > Open to have direct access to the contents of a local data folder.
For MetaStock V15 users, you will need to conduct a short synchronisation process to link your 3rd party data stored on your hard drive to MetaStock – in other words, so MetaStock knows your data is there and can include it in its own navigation. Effectively you need to import the contents of a local data folder as a list of symbols. Click on the image for an idea of what it will look inside MetaStock.
The main problem with importing symbols is that the import procedure needs to be repeated in order to keep up-to-date with changes to the folder contents – see above under ‘Seamless Data Maintenance’. For example, if a stock undergoes a symbol change, or a new stock is added to the folder, the changes would not be reflected in the list of previously imported symbols.
This issue is particularly relevant to our update services for ASX and US Stocks, where symbols are added or changed frequently.
Free Trial for TXL Data
Try it for yourself … free 3-week trials are available for the TXL Data updating service. The trial includes full functioning versions of the updating program, along with free shortened data histories. There is no obligation to subscribe afterwards. Click here to express your interest – no credit card or payment information needed.