If you've ever a watched financial program on CNBC or CNNfn, you've probably noticed the numbers scrolling along the bottom of the TV screen. These are known as stock tickers, a technology that has evolved substantially since it was invented in the late 1800s.

Ticker Symbol This refers to the unique characters that are used to identify the company.
Shares Traded This is the volume of the trade being quoted. Abbreviations are K = 1,000, M = 1,000,000 and B = 1,000,000,000
Price Traded The price per share for the particular trade.
Change Direction Shows whether the price was higher or lower than the previous day\'s closing price.
Change Amount The difference in price from the previous day\'s close.

On many tickers, colors are also used to distinguish the price at which the stock is trading. Here is the color code used by most TV stations:

Green: indicates that the stock is trading higher than the most recent close.
Red: indicates that the stock is trading lower than the most recent close.
Blue or White: means that the stock has remained at the most recent closing price.

Because there are literally millions of trades done on more than 10,000 different stocks every day, it's impossible to report every single trade on the ticker tape. Most ticker tapes will select which trades to show based on factors such as volume, trading activity, price change and how widely a stock is held.

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