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When an event is reported as it happens -- such as a quick jump in a stock's price or the constantly changing numbers on a market index -- you are getting real-time information.
Traditionally, this type of information was available to the public with a 15- or 20-minute time delay or was reported only periodically by news services.
Because of the Internet and cable TV, however, more and more individual investors have access to real-time financial news. Knowing what's happening enables you and others to make buy and sell
decisions based on the same information that institutional investors and financial services organizations are using.
Real time, when used in computer technology, means that there is an interactive program that collects data and reports results immediately. The alternative, called batch processing, occurs when data is collected, stored, and then reported later in the evening or the next day.