DJIA Closing Prices, October 29, 1929


“Global Financial Data provides the longest history of time series data which are hard to find elsewhere.”

—Feifei Li, Ph.D., FRM, Director of Research, Research Affiliates, LLC
Equities to 1693
GFD’s rich database of prices on individual stocks has been used to put together indices of the stock market dating back to 1693. London was the financial center of the world in the 1700s and we have used data on the Bank of England, South Sea Company and East Indies Company to put together a unique index of stocks stretching back 300 years.

GFD’s data on individual securities for the US has allowed us to create an index on US Stocks back to 1791, a year before the New York Stock Exchange was established, by using data from Philadelphia and Boston. Our index for France goes back to 1801 when the Banque de France was established.

Although stock exchanges didn’t become active until the end of the 1800s, GFD has used data from the London Stock Exchange to chart the performance of companies in South America and Asia going back to the 1820s. As stock markets developed across the globe, we have put together indices for each country.

The equity database includes not only price indices, but total return indices, dividend yield information, PE ratios, capitalization data, sector data, and other technical indicators of equity markets. As each national stock market has grown, GFD has added their historical data to our database so that all global stock markets are included in the database for daily updates.

Fixed Income to 1520

The modern European Economy was born in Italy as its city states began trading with the rest of the world. GFD includes data on bond yields from Naples and deposit rates from Genoa from the 16th Century.

The wars between France and England in the 1600s put the finances of both countries under severe strains. France and England reorganized their finances by issuing large amounts of debt in bonds directly to investors. Data on British debt dates back to 1694 after England reorganized its finances after the Glorious Revolution of 1689, French Debt back to 1746 as it followed England’s lead and US debt back to 1790 after Alexander Hamilton reorganized American finances.

After the Napoleonic wars, London was the financial center of the world, and dozens of countries issued debt to help fund their development (including Poyais, a country that didn’t exist except in the mind of its fraudulent creator). Meanwhile, Central Banks were established in each country to help economies grow as the Industrial Revolution took force.

GFD provides the complete picture of yields on bonds have evolved over time, and how money market rates have changed during the 1800s and 1900s. Using the government bond data from the European exchanges, GFD can provide a rich, detailed history of interest rate yields and risks from across the globe.

Exchange Rates to 1383

As trade grew in the 1300s, the need to transfer money internationally grew as well. Letters of credit enabled traders to obtain local currency at each port they visited. Traders wanted a guaranteed amount of money when they arrived at each port, and this is how the system of global exchange rates was born.

Forward rates were quoted on the currencies of other countries and cities depending upon how long the voyage from one city to another took, allowing for both the differences in the gold content of the coins and the time value of money as the ships sailed across the oceans. GFD charts changes in these exchange rates over time.

In the 1700s, countries began issuing paper money and exchange rates had to reflect the value of government paper, not gold coins. When the telegraph was introduced in the 1800s, money could be wired instantly and exchange rates had to reflect these changes.

Today, there are over 100 currencies and GFD provides daily data on currency fluctuations going back to the 1920s. GFD’s analytical tools allow you to convert economic and financial data of one country into common measure in another currency. No other source provides the detailed, historical data on the lifeblood of the global economy, exchange rates, than GFD.

Inflation to 1209

Monks did more than just pray. They also kept detailed data on the price they paid for the food they used to feed the poor and others they fed from their monasteries. With this data, GFD is able to chart the changes in prices that have occurred over the past 800 years.

Inflation data for the United Kingdom goes back to 1209, further back than any other indices available. The inflation index for France dates back to 1431 and the Netherlands back to 1450. Inflation indices for the United States stretch back to 1720 and inflation indices for most major countries go back to the 1800s.

Subscribers can measure the impact of inflation on the rest of the economy by using GFD’s long-term monetary aggregates to discover the causes of inflation, exchange rates to see how inflation led to a devaluation of the currency, and how inflation increased nominal interest rates. GFD’s analytical tools allow you to adjust nominal economic and financial data for inflation to generate real returns after inflation.

Only GFD can provide the long-term integrated analysis of inflation and its impact on global financial and economic markets.

Commodities to 1252

When Florence issued the first gold coin in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire in 1252, this signaled the revival of trade in Europe. Gold and silver became the basis of the economy and GFD is able to provide data on the price of gold and silver back to 1252 with data from Florence to 1252, London to 1257 and Paris to 1258.

Monks collected data on the costs of running their monasteries and as the trade fairs blossomed in continental Europe, traders kept track of their costs. Consequently, GFD can provide data on agriculturals such as oats, rye, barley, wheat, cheese and butter back to 1348.

GFD provides daily prices on some commodities back to the 1870s and monthly prices on dozens of others. GFD provides prices on over one hundred commodities. No other source can provide the level of historical data on commodity prices than GFD.

Economic Data to 1168

Since gold and silver were the lifeblood of the economy during most of the second millennium, our oldest data is monetary data on minting gold and silver in England, going back to 1222 and for France back to 1308.

There is great concern today about government debt and the rising levels of government expenditures, taxes and debt. GFD has data on the UK government budgets and debt back to 1691 and the US back to 1789. Data on other countries’ government budgets and debt are included to analyze how the government’s role in financial markets.

Estimates on Gross Domestic Product are provided for many countries going back into the 1800s. GDP data can be combined with other economic and financial data to see how different sectors of the economy have grown relative to GDP.

Globalization is not something that started in the past few years. The global economy has been integrating for centuries as Christopher Columbus could tell you. GFD provides extensive data on international trade, exchange rates and other indicators of international trade back to the 1700s to analyze how the global economy impacts the national economy.

Asset Allocation to 1800

One of the most important decisions a fund manager or investor makes is in how to allocate their investments between different asset classes. How much should go into stocks, bonds, bills, commodities, real estate and other investments as the economic and financial climate changes.

GFD has put together the most extensive total return series for stocks, bonds and bills available anywhere. Return series for stocks go back to 1694 for the UK and 1800 for the US. Stock indices for other major economies go back to the 1800s.

Bond markets are larger than equity markets in size and are an important component of the asset allocation decision. GFD has used its historical data from the London, Paris, New York from the 1700s and 1800s, and from other stock exchanges to put together unrivalled long-term bond indices to match the extensive series on stocks. GFD has also used its extensive money market data for Treasury bills, private bills, discount rates and other yields to provide extensive histories for the third ring of the allocation of stocks, bonds and bills.

US Securities to 1790

Although the New York Stock Exchange was established in 1792, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange predated the NYSE by three years. After Alexander Hamilton helped stabilized the US economy following the Revolutionary War, investment in The Bank of the United States and other early companies helped spur growth in the American Economy.

With GFD’s historical stock data, you can analyze the role of bank and insurance companies in the early US economy, the rise of railroads in the 1840s, the growth of steel companies in the late 1800s, of automobiles in the early 1900s, radio stocks in the 1920s, the collapse of the economy in the 1930s, and health and technology stocks at the end of the 20th Century.

GFD provides historical price data on over 40,000 securities including over 25,000 delisted securities. Data is not only from the NYSE and NASDAQ, but from regional exchanges as well, such as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities.

Foreign Stocks to 1693

During the 1600s, Europe began exploring the world and put its finances on a sounder footing. To do this, they established corporations whose stock traded in the world’s three financial centers. GFD has data from London (Bank of England, South Sea Company), Amsterdam (East Indies Company) and Paris (Mississippi Company) from the 1700s including the Great Bubble of 1720.

After the 1720 crash, stocks were quiescent for the next 100 years, but after the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815, the capital used to fund the wars was allocated to canals, railroads and to governments in Europe and South America. GFD tracks the growth of the European, US and global economies in the 1800s and 1900s for both developing and emerging markets. Starting with canals in the 1810s, railroads in the 1840s, and the global economy in the 1870s, you can study how the bond market and stock markets grew, funding the development of the global economy.

GFD charts the changes in financial markets and the economy in the 1900s as the world went through two world wars, the Great Depression, recovery from World War II, stagflation, the emergence of Asian markets and the internet bubble in the 1990s. The past few years have shown that without a full understanding of the past, you cannot understand how markets behave.

Delisted Stocks to 1693

One of the greatest problems that money managers run into when they are back testing and modeling historic stock data is survivorship bias. Models must see the market as contemporary investors saw it. This requires including data on all the companies which existed at any point in time.

This is why it is important to include not only current stocks, but delisted stocks in the universe of companies available for analysis. GFD’s stock histories include data on UK companies back to 1693 and US companies back to 1791.

The database includes not only the prominent companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange, but smaller companies traded on regional exchanges. Most companies that listed on the NYSE in the past moved there from regional exchanges or over-the-counter markets. By including regional exchanges, analysts can get a richer and deeper history of the performance of companies over time.

Real Estate to 1835

With the collapse in the real estate market during the past few years, it is important to understand how real estate prices have changed over time. The Winans Real Estate Database includes annual housing prices going back to 1835.

In addition to this, the database includes regional data on housing prices, inventories, house size and other important variables that are needed to understand changes in the housing market. Data on real estate can be compared with other asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, bills and commodities to see how each has performed relative to each other.

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