What is a Stock Symbol?

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  • 13 Nov 2023
What is a Stock Symbol?

Key Highlights

  • The symbol of share market is an arrangement of characters, usually letters, representing a publicly traded security.
  • Companies that issue securities to the public marketplace choose a symbol for their shares that relates to the company's name.
  • The symbol is used by investors and traders to place trade orders.
  • Stocks symbol with additional letters denote additional characteristics, such as share classes or trading restrictions.

Stocks symbol serve as identifiers for stocks on stock exchanges. It is also known as a ticker symbol or a stock ticker. It is composed of letters, numbers, or both. Usually, the letters come from the company's name.

In a symbol, the number of letters varies from exchange to exchange. For example, NASDAQ can have 5 letters or fewer, while the New York Stock Exchange can have up to 4 letters. However, there is also no significant difference.

The system of placing orders was different before the stock symbol concept was introduced. At that time, traders shouted the name of the company when conveying orders. The introduction of stock symbols significantly reduced the time required to announce information about stocks.

A stock symbol may also contain additional letters to indicate share class and trade restrictions. Traders and investors are able to identify the stock symbols easily. Additionally, it allows them to distinguish the stock from others.

Symbols can be selected by companies. However, the stock exchanges are responsible for confirming the symbol. As long as the symbol is not duplicated or misleading, stock exchanges accept it.

Despite the fact that the stock symbol is unique for an exchange, there may be a similar symbol or exact match on another exchange. It is also possible for the stock of one company to have a different symbol at different exchanges.

The following are the different stock tickers:

  • Common Stock Symbols: It is made up of three or four letters derived from the company's name. Numbers may even be included.
  • Stock Tickers with Modifiers: There are many tickers that are followed by an additional letter. The additional letter indicates the security's asset class, trading restriction, or stockholder privilege.
  • Creative Stock Symbols: In such a ticker, the letters do not represent the company's name but rather highlight a creative side, vision, norms, or a unique selling proposition. These tickers are clever, catchy, and smart by design.
  • Option Ticker: The ticker represents the put or call classification of the underlying stock. Additionally, it conveys the strike price of the option and expiration month.
  • Mutual Fund Tickers: Both letters and numbers may be used as symbols for mutual funds. Moreover, it ends with the letter "X" so that investors can distinguish between mutual funds and other stocks. Because financial institutions often offer multiple mutual funds with similar names, mutual fund tickers typically have five letters and an "X."

Following are examples of ticker symbols of stock on the NSE stock exchange.

Stock Ticker Symbol
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries LimitedSUNPHARMA
Bharat Petroleum Corporation LimitedBPCL
HDFC Life Insurance Company LimitedHDFCLIFE
Hindalco Industries LimitedHINDALCO
Aditya Birla Capital LimtedABCAPITAL
Canara BankCANBK


Stock symbols are unique abbreviations assigned to stocks that traders use to find stocks quickly and easily. Due to similar company names, some symbols may look similar. It is, therefore, important for investors to check and make sure they are investing in the right places. In order to protect investors, stock exchanges disallow offensive or misleading symbologies

FAQs on the Stock Symbol

A company's ticker symbol can be found by searching online financial databases, checking the company's website, checking the stock exchange's website, or asking a financial advisor or broker.

Tickertape was used to transmit stock symbols from stock exchanges to investors across the country, hence the term ticker. Despite modern technology replacing physical tickertape, this name persists.

The following are some examples of popular stock symbols:

  • Asian Paints Limited- ASIANPAINT
  • Bajaj Consumer Care Limited- BAJAJCON
  • Bank of India- BANKINDIA
  • LIC Housing Finance Limited- LICHSGFI

In some cases, companies trade with two different symbols because they offer two classes of shares, one with voting rights and the other without.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Investors should conduct their own research and consult with financial professionals before making any investment decisions.

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