What is a 'Ticker Tape'

A ticker tape is a device that shows stock symbols and numbers to convey information about trades. The ticker tape is electronic today, but gets its name from the ticking sound the original mechanical machine made and from the long, narrow pieces of paper that stock quotes were printed on.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ticker Tape'

Each entry on the ticker tape displays the stock symbol (indicating which company’s stock has been traded), volume (number of shares traded), the price per share at which the trade was executed, an up or down triangle showing whether that price is above or below the previous trading day’s closing price and another number telling how much higher or lower that trade’s price was than the last closing price. Electronic ticker tapes also use green to indicate a higher trading price and red to indicate a lower price, and blue or white to indicate no change. Before 2001, trading prices were displayed in fractions, but since 2001, all prices are shown in decimals.

Watching the ticker tape, especially one that is color coded, can help investors gauge overall market sentiment at any moment. Ticker-tape data also helps technical analysts evaluate stock behavior using charts.

Before information could be transmitted electronically, brokers whose offices were closer to the stock exchange had an advantage because they received the latest trading data sooner than brokers located further away. Surprisingly, the real-time electronic ticker did not level the playing field until 1996; earlier tickers, even electronic ones, had delays of 15 to 20 minutes or more.

The first telegraphic ticker tape was released by Edward Calahan in 1867. Edison improved upon Calahan’s invention and patented it in 1871. Mechanical ticker tapes gave way to electronic ones in the 1960s.

Read more about ticker tapes here: Understanding the Ticker Tape.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Tape Is Late

    A situation on the trading floor where trading volume is so heavy ...
  2. Broad Tape

    A modern version of the ticker tape produced by the Dow Jones ...
  3. Fighting The Tape

    The action of placing a trade or trades that go against the ticker ...
  4. Runoff

    The procedure of printing the end-of-day prices for every stock ...
  5. Ticker Symbol

    An arrangement of characters (usually letters) representing a ...
  6. Digits Deleted

    A designation on an exchange's ticker tape that refers to the ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Understanding The Ticker Tape

    We explain the meaning and use of that reel of symbols whizzing across your TV or computer screen.
  2. Investing

    Translating Ticker Talk

    Stock tickers can say a lot about a company in just a few letters. Find out how to read them.
  3. Trading

    Keeping Securities Clear With Ticker Symbols

    A ticker symbol is a group of characters that represent a specific, publicly traded security that’s listed on an exchange.
  4. Investing

    A Legendary Market Skill Experience Traders Have

    Tape readers interpret complex background data during the market day to gain a definable trading edge over the competition.
  5. Trading

    Consider The Season On Trading Day

    Calendar and clock bias, better known as seasonality, is a frequently misunderstood concept that exerts a huge influence on the ticker tape.
  6. Trading

    The Right Way To Set Up Your Trading Screens

    Well-organized trading screens sum up intraday market action, breaking it into digestible bites that can speed up complex decision making.
  7. Investing

    The History Of Information Machines

    Discover how technology changed the way we exchange information when trading.
  8. Investing

    Understanding Stock Quotes

    All you need to know about understanding stock quotes.
  9. Trading

    Why & How To Reevaluate Your Trading Strategy At Midday

    Take a step back at the lunch hour and reevaluate the trading day.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Why do all mutual fund tickers have an X at the end?

    It's true that all mutual funds' tickers have an X at the end of their symbol. The reason for this is to distinguish between ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is a stock ticker?

    A stock ticker is a report of the price for certain securities, updated continuously throughout the trading session by the ... Read Answer >>
  3. Which of the following equity trades would appear on the ticker ...

    Free info on financial certification exams including study guides, exam questions, and much more! Read Answer >>
  4. Do hedge funds have ticker symbols?

    Discover whether or not hedge funds have ticker symbols, where you can find ticker symbols and the significance of a ticker ... Read Answer >>
  5. What do all of the letters in a stock option ticker symbol mean?

    The option ticker explains four main things about the option: the underlying stock, whether it is a call or a put option, ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are the fifth-letter identifiers on the Nasdaq?

    All of the companies traded on the Nasdaq have four-lettered tickers, which are representative of the actual company. For ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  2. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  3. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
  4. Job Market

    A market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as ...
  5. Yuppie

    Yuppie is a slang term denoting the market segment of young urban professionals. A yuppie is often characterized by youth, ...
  6. SEC Form 13F

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also known as the Information Required of Institutional Investment ...
Trading Center