Simulator How-To Guide: Ticker Symbol Look Up
  1. Simulator How-To Guide: Introduction
  2. Simulator How-To Guide: The User Interface Tabs
  3. Simulator How-To Guide: Purchasing Stocks
  4. Simulator How-To Guide: The Portfolio Summary Page
  5. Simulator How-To Guide: Ticker Symbol Look Up
  6. Simulator How-To Guide: Stock Quote Information
  7. Simulator How-To Guide: Diversified Portfolio
  8. Simulator How-To Guide: Selling Stocks
  9. Simulator How-To Guide: Advanced Trade Types
  10. Simulator How-To Guide: Short Selling
  11. Simulator How-To Guide: Covering Short Positions
  12. Simulator How-To Guide: Cancelling Orders
  13. Simulator How-To Guide: Margin Accounts
  14. Simulator How-To Guide: Buying Options
  15. Simulator How-To Guide: Options Usage
  16. Simulator How-To Guide: Conclusion

Simulator How-To Guide: Ticker Symbol Look Up

As you noticed while you were buying shares of Wal-Mart, all brokerages (simulated or not) require you to input the company's stock symbol to place any trade. In fact, all stock exchanges employ stock ticker symbols.

Why Symbols?
When a company is first listed on a stock exchange, the company is assigned a unique stock symbol. No other company listed on that exchange can ever use that ticker symbol, and thus all participants in the stock market have a universal, foolproof way to correctly identify companies on an exchange. The ticker symbols are chosen by the companies themselves and can be as few as one letter or as many as five. For example, Ford Motors is simply ‘F'. Sometimes the ticker resembles the company name (Microsoft uses ‘MSFT'), while others are used somewhat as a marketing ploy (Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc, the makers of Budweiser Beer, trades under ‘BUD'). Another reason for the use of standardized stock symbols is that it minimizes trading mix-ups. One company's name may be quite similar to another's - in spelling, in sound or in an abbreviated format.

Note: Newspapers and other publications often put a company's abbreviation in brackets after the company's first reference in a story. For example, a newspaper may denote Hewlett-Packard Incorporated as HP. This is NOT necessarily the ticker symbol, but rather a shortened standard name for the firm in question. To avoid incorrect stock selection, we recommend that you always look up a company's ticker symbol. It's also much easier to enter shorter symbols. Imagine having to type in "Hewlett-Packard Company" instead of ‘HPQ'.

Using the Symbol Look Up
To buy shares of a company you're interested in, you must know its ticker symbol. Never guess a ticker symbol - you could end up buying shares of the wrong company. Fortunately, all major brokerages offer symbol lookup tools with their accounts. Let's find some ticker symbols using the Simulator's Symbol Lookup tool.

Let's research the ticker symbols for two stocks previously bought by legendary investors, Warren Buffett and Richard Aster Jr. : Tellabs and Pier 1 Imports.

First: Click on Symbol Lookup, which can be found by clicking on the Markets Tab, in order to proceed to the symbol lookup screen.

Now, type "Tellabs" into the search field and click on Lookup Symbol.

You should see a search result similar to those shown here:

As you can see, Tellabs Inc trades under the ticker symbol ‘TLAB'. We want to buy TLAB, so click on Trade under the Trade Stock heading to proceed to the order input screen. Enter and confirm a market buy order for 100 shares of TLAB.

You should end up at the Portfolio Summary screen. Now go back to the Symbol Lookup screen and search for ‘Pier 1'. You should see the following results:

Click on Trade to proceed to the order input screen or go through the trade stock procedure and confirm a market buy order for 100 shares of PIR.

Now that you've learned about stock symbols and how to find them, let's look at how to determine which stocks you want to buy based on your analysis of financial information.

Simulator How-To Guide: Stock Quote Information

  1. Simulator How-To Guide: Introduction
  2. Simulator How-To Guide: The User Interface Tabs
  3. Simulator How-To Guide: Purchasing Stocks
  4. Simulator How-To Guide: The Portfolio Summary Page
  5. Simulator How-To Guide: Ticker Symbol Look Up
  6. Simulator How-To Guide: Stock Quote Information
  7. Simulator How-To Guide: Diversified Portfolio
  8. Simulator How-To Guide: Selling Stocks
  9. Simulator How-To Guide: Advanced Trade Types
  10. Simulator How-To Guide: Short Selling
  11. Simulator How-To Guide: Covering Short Positions
  12. Simulator How-To Guide: Cancelling Orders
  13. Simulator How-To Guide: Margin Accounts
  14. Simulator How-To Guide: Buying Options
  15. Simulator How-To Guide: Options Usage
  16. Simulator How-To Guide: Conclusion
RELATED TERMS
  1. Ticker Symbol

    An arrangement of characters (usually letters) representing a ...
  2. Hard-Coded Stock

    This is a term that refers to a company's stock symbol or ticker ...
  3. O

    A component of a stock symbol that indicates the shares of that ...
  4. Status Symbol

    A status symbol is an object which is meant to signify its owners' ...
  5. Currency Symbol

    A graphical symbol used as a substitute for the actual name of ...
  6. Z

    A Nasdaq stock symbol specifying that the stock is a miscellaneous ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. Why did my stock's ticker symbol change?

    When a ticker symbol changes it's usually not a good sign. Tickers of publicly traded companies generally only change for ... Read Answer >>
  4. Why do some stock symbols have three letters while others have four? What is the ...

    Stocks found on the New York and American Stock Exchange will normally have symbols with three letters or fewer. On the other ... Read Answer >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. 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 >>

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