Ticker Symbol

DEFINITION of 'Ticker Symbol'

An arrangement of characters (usually letters) representing a particular security listed on an exchange or otherwise traded publicly. When a company issues securities to the public marketplace, it selects an available ticker symbol for its securities which investors use to place trade orders. Every listed security has a unique ticker symbol, facilitating the vast array of trade orders that flow through the financial markets every day.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ticker Symbol'

Stock symbols are the most recognized type of ticker symbol. Stocks listed and traded on U.S. exchanges such as the NYSE have symbols with up to three letters. Nasdaq-listed stocks have four-letter symbols.

Ticker symbols for options are structured to represent the underlying stock ticker they are based on and also their expiration date and contract type (either a put or a call option). Mutual fund ticker symbols are usually alphanumeric and end with the letter X to differentiate them from stock symbols.

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