Yahoo Finance Message

Yahoo Finance API Down For Good?

The word on the street is the API allowing developers to access Yahoo Finance data is down for good. Last Tuesday, I was working in my R environment and tried to obtain prices using the default source for the Quantmod library. If you are unfamiliar with this library, it gives you access to stock quotes, financial statement data, etc. At the time of this writing, financial statement data is still available. It’s unclear whether Yahoo intends to discontinue support for this as well.

When I first ran into the problem, I thought it had to do with my virus checking software. During this same period, there was a world-wide attack of ransomware. This motivated me to download the latest version of my virus checker. Although, I question why they didn’t alert me to do that anyway?!

The command in Quantmod that was causing trouble was getSymbols. I tried it for several ticker symbols and it returned the same error for each. Then, I tried another browser, thinking that perhaps Firefox added some security measure due to the ransomware fiasco. No luck. It reported the same error.

I searched on some of my favorite technical forums and could not find anything reported about the problem. That is what led me to believe it had something to do with my machine or IP address, etc. So, I decided to try the same command while in VPN mode from a different country altogether. This did not work as well.

I gave up, thinking that perhaps Yahoo API server is down. The next day I tried it again to no avail. However, when I started checking forums, there was more buzz about it, mostly in the form of questions regarding the issue. This gave me hope that it was not my machine and that the issue was with Yahoo.

Scissors cutting cord

I gave up, thinking that perhaps Yahoo API server is down. The next day I tried it again to no avail. However, when I started checking forums, there was more buzz about it, mostly in the form of questions regarding the issue. This gave me hope that it was not my machine and that the issue was with Yahoo.

I was not dead in the water as I simply switched the source in getSymbols to Google. The only annoying part about this is that Google uses different symbols for indexes. Existing code would need to be changed. If you are worried about this happening, you could create wrappers from the various data sources. Then, your main code doesn’t need to change. Of course, this is going to help you only if you account for all the indexes ahead of time. If you need data from a new index, you’ll have to update your wrapper with code to handle that.

I also received an interesting email from Quandl (another market API provider) stating that Quandl.com will no longer be supporting feeds from Yahoo and Google for its API and that current users may want to work with Yahoo and Google API’s directly. I can’t say if the timing of this was coincidental, or due to Yahoo discontinuing its support for data via API access. However, does this mean Google is following suit? If so, who is left to provide API access?

It’s important to understand that Yahoo is not the true provider of its data. They license the use via its website from another provider. Therefore, it could be the licensor is no longer allowing Yahoo to provide this access. If so, Yahoo is not to blame.  Although, it would have been nice if they were more upfront about it instead of leaving everyone guessing.

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