Most 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 three letters or up to five letters. The fifth letter is an identifier symbol that tells market participants something about the company.
- Most stock symbols on the Nasdaq are unique four-letter identifiers, also known as tickers.
- Sometimes, an additional fifth letter is included after the four-letter ticker to signify something about the stock or company.
- This fifth letter will typically follow a period (".").
- 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.
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. Most 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, in ACER.W, the first four letters comprises 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
B - Class B Shares
C - NextShares Exchange Traded Managed Funds (ETFM)
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)
M - Fourth Preferred Issue
N - 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 company 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 other 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)
What Are Fifth-Letter Identifiers in a Stock Symbol?
The Nasdaq makes use of a fifth letter that comes after the main stock ticker symbol in order to denote certain features, special characteristics, or limitations of that particular issue of securities. This letter will appear after a period, in the form XXXX.X.
What Does .PK or .OB After a Stock Symbol Mean?
The stock symbol suffices .PK and .OB refer to shares that trade over-the-counter (OTC). This means that it does not trade on a major stock exchange and may be a riskier investment due to fewer or less stringent listing criteria or other regulations.
What Does .TO After a Stock Symbol Mean?
The stock symbol suffix .TO denotes that the stock trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada. Many times, a company will list their shares in both their home country but also on global stock exchanges. This means that the same company may have global shares (knows as depositary receipts) in various locations and denominated in different currencies. Other foreign exchange suffixes include (among several others): Australia (.AX); Brazil (.SA); Germany (.DE); Hong Kong (.DK); and the United Kingdom (.L).
What Is the Main Difference Between Class A and Class B Shares?
Class A shares (denoted by .A) usually grant shareholders more voting rights than Class B shares (.B).