By the end of the civil war, the expansion of the American economy led to the shares of hundreds of companies being traded in the United States. Many of them were banks and insurance companies that were too small to list on the regional exchanges. Consequently, an active over-the-counter market in the shares of smaller companies began and grew.
Because banks and insurance companies were unable to operate across state lines, and rarely listed on the NYSE until the 1960s, ignoring the shares that traded over-the-counter means ignoring 100 years of United States financial history. GFD has data on over 5000 banks and insurance companies that traded over-the-counter between the 1860s and 1960s.
One hundred years ago, and even fifty years ago, the shares of newly incorporated firms traded over-the-counter before they listed on an exchange. Most companies did not make IPOs directly onto the NYSE. Instead they grew in size until they were large enough to list on the NYSE or AMEX. A company such as Haloid traded for two decades over-the-counter before changing its name to Xerox and listing on the NYSE. Hundreds of other companies, such as Wal-Mart, Disney, Kentucky Fried Chicken and others traded over-the-counter before listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ignoring these companies’ growth when they traded over-the-counter often means missing the dramatic gains these companies made before moving onto an exchange. And, of course, there were thousands of companies who never made it. Only GFD provides 150 years of history for over-the-counter companies. Daily data begins in 1968 and is monthly before then.
GFD has a complete daily history of the companies that traded on the NASDAQ back to its inception on February 4,1971.