What is L?

L is a stock ticker extension indicating the ticker is one of several types of preferred securities like the Series L securities. For example, the L is listed as SYMBOL^L on the Nasdaq website.

L also refers to tickers on the London exchange when it appears as a behind-the-dot extension for tickers listed on Reuters systems and several other publications.

As a standalone letter, L is the ticker symbol for Loews Corporation on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Key Takeaways

  • L is a stock ticker extension indicating a ticker represents a certain type of preferred stock or warrant.
  • L as a behind-the-dot extension may refer to the ticker being listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
  • To avoid confusion, most sites and platforms list where the security is listed, so people can tell if the ticker is an LSE security or a US-listed L extension security.

Understanding L

L is an identifier used by U.S. stock exchanges to signal that the ticker represents a certain type of preferred security, such as third preferred class of warrants, sixth class of preferred stock, preferred when issued stock, or foreign preferred stock.

Investors should note that in other ticker systems, the letter L can take on other meanings. For example, Thomson Reuters systems use proprietary Reuters Instrument Codes to identify specific financial instruments on its networks. This system appends codes after a dot. On Reuters systems, an L extension signifies a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Many other charting platforms and websites use a similar ".L" to signify a London stock.

Loews Corporation uses the ticker symbol L on the New York Stock Exchange.

Situations Covered by Other Identifiers

Nasdaq and other exchanges use identifiers on stock tickers to differentiate types of common stock issued by a company. These differences could indicate shareholders receive different voting rights, for example the extensions A and B, which designate Class A and Class B shares, or the letter K, which indicates non-voting shares. Other letters denote a shareholder’s place in the hierarchy of creditors, such as in the case of preferred shares.

The L extensions denote a few situations, which means the reason for their use may not be immediately obvious. Common situations leading to an L extension include the following:

  • Certificates of Participation, in which investors in bond issues receive a portion of lease revenues and have no ownership in the underlying bond.
  • Participating preferred stock, a type of preferred stock that confers additional dividends under specified situations.
  • Stub shares​​​​​​​, which get created when a corporation restructures, or when firms convert distressed bonds into equity securities.
  • As indicated above, the L can also mean the security is a type of preferred share or warrant.

Given the wide variety of situations in which L might be used as an extension, investors who encounter such securities generally should ensure they know exactly what they intend to purchase and how the differentiated rights that apply to these securities support their investment goals.

Real World Examples of L Extension Securities

MS.L are Morgan Stanley Depositary shares. They represent 1/1000th of a 4.875% Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock.

BAC.L are Bank of America's Non-Cumulative Perpetual Convertible Preferred Shares.

KIM.L are Kimco Realty Class L Depositary Shares, representing 1/1000th interest in a fraction of 5.125% Class L Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock.