What are the fifth-letter identifiers on the Nasdaq?

Table of Contents

All of the companies traded on the Nasdaq have four-lettered ticker symbols, which are representative of the actual company. For example, the ticker symbol for Nasdaq-traded Microsoft is MSFT. However, in some cases, a ticker symbol on the Nasdaq will have five letters, and the fifth letter is an identifier symbol that tells market participants something about the company.

Key Takeaways

  • Most stock symbols on the Nasdaq are unique 4-letter identifiers, also known as tickers.
  • Sometimes, an additional fifth letter is included after the 4-letter ticker to signify something about the stock or company.
  • For example, a fifth letter 'Q' indicates bankruptcy proceedings, while a 'K' specified non-voting shares.
  • Here we list every one of the Nasdaq fifth-letter identifiers.

Stock Symbols

A stock symbol, or ticker, is a unique series of letters assigned to a security for trading purposes. New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and American Stock Exchange (AMEX) listed stocks have three characters or less. Nasdaq-listed securities have four or five characters.

Stock symbols are also used to convey information about the trading status of a company. This information is usually represented by one additional letter following a dot after the stock’s standard company symbol.

Fifth Letter Identifiers

On the Nasdaq, a fifth letter is added to stocks that are delinquent in certain exchange requirements: for example, ACER.W – the first four letters is the stock symbol for Acer Therapeutics Inc. (ACER) and the last letter ‘W’ indicates that the shares have warrants attached. Similarly, a company that is in bankruptcy proceedings will have a Q after its symbol, and a non-U.S. company trading in the U.S. financial markets will have the letter Y following its ticker symbol.

The meaning of the letters from A to Z are shown here:


A - Class A Shares
- Class B Shares
CNextShares Exchange Traded Managed Funds
D - New Issue - This is temporarily used to denote a corporate reorganization.
E - N/A - The letter used to stand for delinquent in regard to SEC filings. Nasdaq now uses the Financial Status Indicator to denote delinquent regulatory filings, but notes other markets may still use "E" for this purpose.
F - Foreign Issue (if the issuer requests it)
G - First Convertible Bond
H - Second Convertible Bond
I - Third Convertible Bond
J - Voting - This is temporarily used to denote a shareholder vote situation.
K - Non-voting
L - Miscellaneous Situations, such as certificates of participation, preferred participation and stubs (research is required to investigate the exact reason for the identifier being attached)
- Fourth Preferred Issue
- Third Preferred Issue
O - Second Preferred Issue
P - First Preferred Issue
Q - N/A - The letter used to stand for bankruptcy. Nasdaq now uses the Financial Status Indicator to denote when a compant has filed for bankruptcy, , but notes other markets may still use "Q" for this purpose.
R - Rights Issue
S - Shares of Beneficial Interest
T - Securities With Warrants or Rights
U - Units
V - When issued or when distributed (shares that are set to split or have another similar pending corporate actions)
W - Warrants
X - Mutual Fund Quotation Service (MFQS) Instrument
Y - American Depository Receipt (if the issuer requests it)
Z - Miscellaneous Situations, such as certificates of preferred when issued (research is required to investigate the exact reason for the identifier being attached)

(See also: The ABCs of Stock Indexes.)