Mint Money Knowledge Center: What is a ticker symbol?

What is a ticker symbolIn 1867, Edward Calahan invented a device that was designed to deliver real-time stock prices on a continuous strip of paper. The device was called a stock ticker because of the ticking noise it made when it was operating. In 1871, Thomas Edison revised the design of Calahan's ticker and soon every investor that could afford one had a ticker that received stock prices via telegraph signal.

What Is A Ticker Symbol?

According to, the New York Stock Exchange uses three-letter symbols to represent its companies and the NASDAQ exchange uses four-letter symbols when broadcasting stock prices. These abbreviations were created because the original stock tickers were unable to print entire company names. Since the three and four-letter abbreviations were created to appease stock tickers, they became known as ticker symbols.

Some Companies Have More Than One

According to About Money, most companies that offer more than one type of stock have more than one ticker symbol. For example, the ABC company may have a common stock ticker symbol of ABC, but the company's common stock does not offer any voting privileges for shareholders. To rectify this situation, the company also has an ABV ticker symbol to represent the stock it sells that does have voting rights for shareholders.

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