February 1, 2023

What is Stock Symbol or Ticker?

A stock symbol is what?

An acronym called a stock symbol is used to denote publicly traded companies. When a business wishes to go public, it first chooses the exchange to list on and then selects a distinctive stock symbol to set itself apart from competing firms on the deal.

They are also occasionally referred to as ticker symbols or stock tickers. The term “stock ticker” comes from when prices were broadcast using ticker tape and characters.

Explanation of Stock Symbol

It looks like a telegraph machine. A ticker tape converted the impulses into characters—alphabetic letters and numbers. The device transmitted real-time stock prices to investors while recording characters on ticker tapes simultaneously. Although ticker tapes were no longer in use by the 1960s, ticker symbols are still in use today.

Here are some different stock tickers:

Common Stock Symbols: These are the fundamental tickers that are constructed from three or four letters from the company name. It might even have numbers in it. While NASDAQ permits up to five characters, NYSE only allows up to four letters.

Stock tickers with modifiers: Many tickers have an extra letter after them. The additional letter designates the asset class, trading limitation, or stockholders’ rights of the securities. Each of these modifiers, which span from A to Z, indicates a different significance. For example, stocks with the letter “K” do not permit stockholder voting, but equities with the letter “Y” are American Depository Receipts (ADR).

Creative Stock Symbols: The letters highlight a creative side, vision, standards, or a unique selling proposition rather than the company’s name. These tickers are intelligent, catchy, and clever by design.

Option Ticker: This ticker indicates whether the underlying stock is a put or a call. It also specifies the strike price of the option and the month of expiration.

Mutual Fund Tickers: Mutual fund symbols can be a combination of letters and numbers. Additionally, it has the letter “X” at the end to help investors distinguish between mutual funds and other equities. Financial companies sometimes provide many mutual funds with the same names. Therefore mutual fund tickers typically include five letters and an “X.” This causes the symbol to be lengthier.

How can I use stock symbols?

Traders need help identifying a particular stock when a corporation releases a variety of securities on the stock exchange. The confusion is further exacerbated when multiple companies with the same name trade on the stock exchange. Fortunately, each stock has a unique abbreviation or ticker symbol. Traders can keep track of price changes by compiling a watchlist of ticker symbols.


Additionally, stock symbols may be used to denote a company’s trading status. For example, on the NYSE, the stock’s common company symbol is followed by a dot and a single letter representing this information. In contrast, a letter is added for stocks that are listed on the NASDAQ.

Most businesses pick abbreviations more memorable than their full names; for instance, Molson Coors Brewing Company trades under the symbol “TAP.”

In my next article. I will discuss the stock’s so-called “secondary offering.” Corporations and investors do these selling shares through “secondary offering,” which is also referred to as follow-on offerings.

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