Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A stock symbol may either be comprised of letters, numbers or a combination of both.
U.S stock symbol history
In the United States, modern letter-only ticker symbols were developed by Standard and Poor's (S&P) to bring a national standard to investing. Previously, a single company could have many different ticker symbols as they varied between the dozens of individual stock markets. The term ticker refers to the noise made by the ticker tape machines once widely used by stock exchanges.
The S&P system was later standardized by the securities industry and modified as years passed.
Examples of U.S. stock symbols
|# of Letters||Exchange||1||NYSE|
|3||NYSE or AMEX|
|5 or more||(special)|
- A - Agilent Technologies
- BRK.A - Berkshire Hathaway
- KO - Coca-Cola Company
- MSFT - Microsoft
- TGT - Target Corporation
Currently a glance at a U.S. stock symbol and its appended codes can tell an investor where a stock trades and may give insight to the company's performance.
Interpreting the symbol
For most stock symbols, the letters are simple identifiers. One- or two-letter symbols always trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), three letter codes may trade on either the NYSE or American Stock Exchange (AMEX), Four- and five-letter codes trade on the Nasdaq, although five-letter ticker symbols are usually a special class of stock. For example, the ticker symbols of mutual funds must be five letters long and end in "X".
Sometimes the stock symbol has become more recognizable than a company's real name. For instance, more people knew the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company by the way its three-letter ticker ("MMM") is pronounced on Wall Street, "3M," leading to an official name change in 2002. Likewise, International Business Machines officially changed its corporate name to "IBM" to match its ticker symbol.
|NYSE "behind the dot" or Nasdaq 5th-letter codes and other special codes|
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