A solid approach to decision-making is essential for all traders. And the ability to consistently make good decisions is often founded on access to pertinent and timely information.

It's for this reason that the tastytrade community is fortunate to have someone on their team that knows a little bit about data in the financial markets - Dr. Data!

Dr. Data (aka Dr. Mike Rechenthin) recently hosted an episode of The Skinny on Options Data Science to help every tastytrader boost their access to market data.

The focus of this episode was the three primary avenues that Dr. Data finds most useful when collecting the "bytes" he needs to do the research that helps make tastytrade tick.

As Dr. Data indicates on the show, one of the biggest challenges in the Research Department at tastytrade is identifying and accessing the data they need to provide context to stories unfolding in the market on a daily/monthly/yearly basis.

As indicated on the show, the three methods that Dr. Data uses most frequently are:

  1. Direct Downloads from websites

  2. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

  3. "Scraping" websites using "Beautiful Soup"

While the latter two methods may be more useful to advanced consumers of data, the first item listed above can be useful even for amateur data scientists.

There are many financial websites on the internet that provide market data for free. Typically, this data is made available through a link on the page notated as "download." An example is illustrated below:

Once the data is downloaded into a local application (such as Microsoft Excel), it can be analyzed, manipulated, or combined with other data and further parsed/evaluated.

The next two methods of accessing market data that Dr. Data presents are definitely more for the "programming literate" types. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are provided by companies (typically for a fee) and allow for more sophisticated access to market data.

The third method of accessing market information that Dr. Data presents is referred to as "scraping." The tool that Dr. Data uses for website "scraping" is Beautiful Soup - a Python library used for pulling data out of HTML and XML files.

While data dependence will vary by trader, this episode of The Skinny on Options Data Science can certainly open up new possibilities for almost every trader and approach.

We hope you'll take the time to review the complete episode in order to get the best possible understanding of Dr. Data's latest recommendations on accessing market information.

If you have any ongoing questions about market data, don't hesitate to reach out to Dr. Data directly at support@tastytrade.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Sage Anderson has an extensive background trading equity derivatives and managing volatility-based portfolios. He has traded hundreds of thousands of contracts across the spectrum of industries in the single-stock universe.