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I am currently doing a research which will need ETF and REITs' historical data back in early 2000s.

The problem is I do not know what symbols existed back in then, unlike indices like S&P and DOW, which I can easily look at the historical components.

Is there any (free) way of downloading a dynamic list of symbols on a daily or monthly basis back in early 2000s?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have access to the CRSP database? $\endgroup$ – noob2 Aug 29 '16 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ applied with non academic or corporate email address. not sure if access will be granted. $\endgroup$ – cxwf Aug 29 '16 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ For non academic it is prohibitively costly. $\endgroup$ – noob2 Aug 29 '16 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ There is something called the MSCI REIT Index and checking the membership of that index over time could provide one way to approximate 'what is a REIT'. AT least it would give you the major ones that instl investors are interested in. $\endgroup$ – noob2 Aug 31 '16 at 12:39
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ETF.com has a section called ETF Watch (http://www.etf.com/sections/daily-etf-watch.html) where you can view all ETF Launches, ETF closures and Index and Ticker Changes by year.

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I don't know of any free sources for a dynamic list of symbols. Note that symbols change all of the time, so just having a list of symbols at a particular point-in-time will be difficult to match with a price database of symbols that have "current" symbols.

REITs are a subset of normal operating/holding companies. They differ from these by electing to be taxed differently to a normal investment company. There are various qualification rules to be considered a REIT: https://www.sec.gov/answers/reits.htm

Not all REITs have always maintained this designation across their lifetime. Have a look at the REITWatch newsletters - probably the most comprehensive source for such information but you should cross-check the REIT designations with more sources as sometimes it took a while for that newsletter to add/remove valid/invalid REITs. http://reit.com/data-research/data/reitwatch

For example, Crown Castle International (NYSE:CCI) gained REIT status in late 2013 but the prior 1998 through to late 2013 it was just a normal company. http://investor.crowncastle.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=107530&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1888377

A further anomaly is that a company may think it is operating as a REIT but then has to retrospectively alter its designation once the SEC declare it is no longer a REIT.

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