What Is Q as a Ticker Symbol?

The letter Q used to be part of the ticker symbols for a stock trading on the Nasdaq, specifying that a particular company was in bankruptcy proceedings. If the letter Q appeared as the final letter of a NASDAQ symbol, it meant, "bankrupt: issuer has filed for bankruptcy," as the Nasdaq put it.

Key Takeaways

  • Q is a former Nasdaq designation that noted a company had filed for bankruptcy.
  • The Q would show up as the final letter in a stock symbol.
  • The NASDAQ phased out the usage of Q as of 2016.

Understanding Q

All companies traded on the Nasdaq have four-lettered ticker symbols, which are representative of the actual company. For example, Apple trades as AAPL, Microsoft as MSFT, and so on. 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.

Before the system changed, Nasdaq added a Q onto a company's ticker to tell investors the company filed for bankruptcy. Nasdaq now uses the Financial Status Indicator, which marks key issues beyond just bankruptcy filings, including a failure to meet Nasdaq listing requirements. Other markets and exchanges may still use "Q" to indicate a bankruptcy filing, however.

Q is one of two letters that the NASDAQ no longer uses as an identifier, with the other being E.

Each trading day, Nasdaq publishes a list of companies that, in one way or another, don't meet the listing standards. According to Nasdaq, a company is added to the list five business days after Nasdaq notifies the company about its noncompliance and is removed from the list one business day after Nasdaq determines that the company has regained compliance or no longer trades on Nasdaq.