What is K?

K is added to the end of a Nasdaq stock ticker when the shares offer no voting rights. The letter K is one of many Nasdaq ticker symbol extensions that tell investors various things about that particular stock.

K is also the ticker symbol of the Kellogg Company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Key Takeaways

  • K is added to Nasdaq ticker symbols that don't have voting rights.
  • K is one of many extensions used by Nasdaq to provide additional information about a security.
  • K shares, with no voting rights, tend to slightly underperform comparable shares with voting rights.

Understanding K

There are currently few stocks with no voting rights in the market because investors tend to shun such assets. These stocks typically trade at a discount to their counterparts that do have voting rights.

A shareholder vote is considered a fundamental right for investors. Without voting rights, shareholders generally feel that they are vulnerable to arbitrary or irrational business decisions by management.

In cases where a lot of trust in placed in management because it has historically delivered significant shareholder value over a long stretch of time, shareholders may not mind holding "K" shares.

Other Extensions Including NYSE

On the Nasdaq, a D at the end of a ticker represents a corporate reorganization. The letter T represents a security with warrants or rights. W is for warrants.

Z and L are more ambiguous, and could means multiple things, but are usually tied to some preferred security.

P, O, N, and M signify whether a security is a first, second, third, or fourth preferred issue, respectively.

More common extensions include A and B. These represent Class A or Class B shares.

Depending on the trading or charting platform or data source, extensions may be directly added to the other ticker symbol characters, or they may be separated by a "." For example, BRK.A and BRK.B are the Class A and Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. listed on the NYSE. In this case, the Class Bs are non-voting shares.

The NYSE also has extensions or identifiers.

Example of K Shares in the Real World

The non-voting shares for Liberty Global PLC (LBTYK) is an example of a stock that has had longevity because of a single man, John Malone, a pioneer in the cable industry who has a faithful following of shareholders. He was a former CEO of the company and as of 2020 is acting Chairman of the board. The K shares tend to slightly underperform the LBTYA shares, which are Class A voting shares.

If shareholder sentiment about management is less clear, a responsible firm would take action to eliminate a class of shares with no voting rights if it already had such a class. This occurred with Comcast Corporation (CMSCA), whose CEO, Brian Roberts, does not enjoy the same elevated status as John Malone in the cable industry. In December 2015 one share of CMCSK converted into one share of CMCSA which has voting rights. Shareholders applauded the move.