Some Guidelines for Ticker Symbols

Before you can receive quote for a stock you must know its ticker symbol. For basic stocks you can use our ticker search program to locate the symbol. For other symbols use these guidelines for finding ticker symbols on our system.

New York Stock Exchange

Stocks on the NYSE use 1-3 character ticker symbols. For example: General Motors is 'GM', AT&T is 'T', IBM is 'IBM'. You can enter the symbol in upper or lower case.

The nightly closing price for each ticker is now stated as the composite. This may or may not be different than the individual exchanges (Y, M, P, etc.)

Most stocks traded on the NYSE are also traded on five smaller exchanges from around the country. To ensure a close-price-quote for the composite of all the exchanges enter the symbol followed by '-Y'. This price may change in the hours following each exchanges' close, due to processing of trades from each exchange.

To get a quote for a stock on a particular exchange you have to add the one character code for the exchange you are interested in. For example to get IBM on the Boston exchange you would enter 'IBM-B'. Note the hyphen between the normal ticker and the letter 'B'. The codes for the five exchanges are:

To get a quote on preferred stocks you need to add the letter '1' immediately following the symbol (no space) and sometimes the letter for the preferred issue. For example 'Bank of America Preferred F' symbol is 'BAC1F'. Preferred are usually only traded in New York but sometimes you can append the city code and come up with a valid symbol, for example 'CHI1.B' is the preferred stock for Furrs Bishop on the Boston exchange only (CHI1 is the composite symbol).

To get a quote for the warrant you add the letter '2' to the base symbol. For example 'Berkshire Rlty Inc WT 09-08-1998' is 'BRI2'.

American Stock Exchange

Symbols for the AMEX follow the same rules as the NYSE.

NASDAQ National Market Issues

All symbols on the NASDAQ start with a four character base. For example: Microsoft is 'MSFT', Intel is 'INTC' and Netscape Communications is 'NSCP'.

After the four character base can come an optional one character modifier. A complete list of these codes can be found in the Wall Street Journal. Some of the more frequent codes are 'C'--exempt from NASDAQ listing qualifications for a limited period, 'E'--delinquent in required fillings with SEC, 'P'--first preferred, 'Q'--in bankruptcy proceedings, 'R'--rights, 'W'--warrants, and 'Y'--American Depositary Receipt (ADR).

We are not getting up to date quotes for non NMS issues on the NASDAQ (ADRs, small cap, OTC). We are trying to rectify the problem.

Mutual and Money Market Funds

Mutuals Funds are always five characters with the fifth character being 'X'. For examle the Fidelity Magellan Fund's symbol is 'FMAGX'.

Money Market Funds are always five characters with the forth and fifth characters being 'X'. For example the Paragon Treas MM Fund's symbol is 'PTRXX'.

Canadian Markets

Canadian markets are all prefaced by a one character exchange code followed by a period then the normal symbol. The codes are 'V.' for the Vancouver Stock Exchange, 'M.' for the Montreal Stock Exchange, 'T.' for the Toronto Stock Exchange, 'C.' for the Alberta Stock Exchange and 'O.' for the Toronto COATS market. Currently, we have no descriptions for issues on the COATS market. For example Air Canada on the Toronto exchange is symbol 'T.AC'. Luminart on the COATS market is 'O.LUMN'.

All Canadian symbols are 1-3 characters long except for the COATS market which are allways four characters long. Many Canadian symbols have the suffix .A or .B appended to them to designate class A or class B issues. For example: Bombardier Class B on the Toronto exchange is 'T.BBD.B'.

Preferred Stocks have the code '.PR' or '.PR.X' appended to the end where X may be the letter 'A-Z' if the stock has more than one preferred issue.

Warrants have the code '.WT' appended to the end.

Rights have the code '.RT' appended to the end.

Units have the code '.UN' appended to the end.

General Suggestions

The Wall Street Journal is one of the few papers that still list the symbol along with an abbreviated description. Its also a good place to look if you want to know if a particular stock has preferred or warrant issues.

We have descriptions for most of the symbols that we can give quotes on. If you enter a valid symbol that we do not have the description for the description field will be blank. The quote will still be valid but you will need to make your own determination if it is the right symbol for the issue you seek.