Stock ticker symbols are mostly alphabetical, though there is sometimes added punctuation to denote special classes of stock. Stock symbols can be from 1 to 5 characters in length. Here are some examples of common stock ticker symbols:
- GM = General Motors
- IBM = International Business Machines
- C = Chrysler
- MSFT = Microsoft Corporation
Preferred stocks are special issues of some stocks. The designation does not necessarily refer to the desirability of the stock. Preferred stocks have a trailing ‘-‘, followed by optional “class” letters. For example:
- AA- = Alum. Co. Amer. $3.75 Pfd.
- FCX-A = Freept-McMo Cp/Gld’B’Dep Pfd
Some stocks have multiple “classes“, such as Class A or Class B. These classes are represented with a ‘.’ followed by the class letter.
- BF.A = Brown-Froman Inc. Class A
- PLA.A = Playboy Enterprises Class A
Warrants, which are sort of like options, have a trailing ‘+’:
- DGC+ = Digicon Inc. Wrrts
- DKT+ = Dakota Mining Wrrt
Some exchanges do something a little differently from the norm. Here we outline those changes that we know about. If you know that we are missing something, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
New York Stock Exchange
“Root” symbols for NYSE stocks are always 1-3 letters. There may be added characters, as described above, to denote other classes than common stock.
American Stock Exchange
“Root” symbols for AMEX stocks are always 3 letters. There may be added characters, as described above, to denote other classes than common stock.
The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc.
Symbols for NASDAQ stocks are always 4-5 letters. The fifth letter is never an ‘X’, to avoid naming conflicts with Mutual and Money Market Funds. Instead, the fifth letter may be one of these letters:
- A Class A
B Class B
C Exempt from NASDAQ listing qualifications for a limited period
D New issue of an existing stock
E Delinquent in required filings with SEC
G First convertible bond
H Second convertible bond, same company
I Third convertible bond, same company
L Miscellaneous situations, including second class units, third class of warrants, or sixth class of preferred stock
M Fourth preferred, same company
N Third preferred, same company
O Second preferred, same company
P First preferred, same company
Q In bankruptcy proceedings
S Shares of beneficial interest
T With warrants or rights
V When issued and when distributed
Y American Depositary Receipt (ADR)
Z Miscellaneous situations, including second class of warrants, fifth class of preferred stock and any unit, receipt or certificate representing a limited partnership interest
NASDAQ Bulletin Board
Symbols for NASDAQ Bulletin Board stocks are always 4-5 letters. You must use the exchange abbreviation BB: before the symbols itself.
U.S. Mutual Funds
All Mutual fund symbols are five letters long. The fifth letter is always an ‘X’. The fourth letter is never an ‘X’, to avoid confusion with the symbols for Money Market Funds.
U.S. Money Market Funds
All Money Market symbols are five letters long. Both the fourth and fifth letters are ‘X’.