Introduction to Stock Symbol or Ticker Symbol for Kids and Teens
This video explains the concept of stock symbol in a simple, concise way for kids and beginners. It could be used by kids & teens to learn about ticker symbol, or used as a money & personal finance resource by parents and teachers as part of a Financial Literacy course or K-12 curriculum.
Suitable for students from grade levels:
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
The topics covered are:
- What is a stock symbol
- Does every security have a ticker symbol
- Multiple ticker symbols for a company
- How are stock symbols assigned
- Who determines the ticker symbol for a company
What is a stock symbol?
Stock symbols – also known as ticker symbols – are a short series of letters that are assigned to a security – usually a company’s stock.
There may be many companies with similar names, but each company has its own unique ticker symbol to identify the stock when trading which helps avoid any confusion.
The term ticker comes from the sound that was made by the ticker tape machine while printing stock symbols and prices that used to be transmitted over telegraph lines earlier.
Does every single security in the world have its own ticker symbol?
All publicly traded stocks have tickers. Since ticker symbols are used to identify a stock for trading purposes, private companies that are not listed publicly on a stock exchange do not have a stock symbol.
Each company has only one unique ticker symbol, right?
No. Tickers are assigned to stocks. If one company has different classes of stocks, then each class will have a different ticker symbol.
For example, since Berkshire Hathaway has two classes of stocks – A and B – the stock symbol for each is different. Their class A ticker symbol is BRK.A, and their class B ticker symbol is BRK.B.
Extra letters can also be added on to the end of stock symbols to show something other than stock class. For example, stock symbols with .Q at the end show that the company has declared bankruptcy.
Also, if a company’s stock is listed on multiple stock exchanges, it could have different ticker symbols across those exchanges.
Are stock symbols just random letters?
No. Companies try to get ticker symbols that are related to the company name – for example, Amazon’s ticker symbol is AMZN and Walmart’s ticker symbol is WMT.
So, can a company get any ticker symbol it wants?
The company picks its own stock symbol but the stock exchange it is listed on needs to approve it.
Each stock exchange has a specific maximum length allowed for stock symbols.