What Is a Stock Ticker?

Authored by
Team Espresso
February 20 2023
4 min read

Security prices, especially stock prices, are constantly fluctuating, as anyone who has ever tuned into a financial network or visited a market website will attest. stock market exchanges continuously update the price of specific securities throughout the trading session, and this information is reported on a stock ticker. 

What is a Tick? 

The term "tick" refers to a shift in the price of a security, whether upward or downward. Traders and investors use a stock ticker to keep tabs on the market and gauge interest in a given security by displaying these ticks and other pertinent data, such as trading volume, in real time. 

How does a Ticker Symbol work? 

Due to the high volumes of stocks trading at any given time, only a subset of those stocks will be displayed on the stock ticker. The stock prices have fluctuated the most from the previous trading day or have been traded most often and are frequently highlighted on the stock ticker. 

You have likely noticed the stock ticker that runs across the bottom of financial news channels. The ticker displays real-time data for a selection of stocks, such as the ticker symbol, quantity traded, a green "up" arrow if the price is higher than the previous day's closing value, price, a red "down" arrow if the price is lower, and the net price change (either in terms of a currency amount or percentage). 

How to read stock ticker symbols? 

Stock tickers are often straightforward to read and understand. Take the case of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) to illustrate. Netflix, Inc. is the company's official name, and it is this name that is used in all SEC filings. If you would like to buy shares of Netflix, you can do so on the NASDAQ (NASDAQ INDEX: IXIC) under the ticker symbol NFLX. 

Types of stock tickers 

There is a wide range of stock ticker symbols since the regulations governing their length and format are determined independently by each stock exchange. Tickers for stocks are typically three or four letters long, though a few exchanges may permit numerals too. Names on the NYSE can be up to four letters long, while those on the NASDAQ can be up to five. 

Modifiers are extra letters (often the fifth) or letters included after periods in some stock ticker symbols. One can use a modifier to specify the type of security (mutual funds, for example), the kind of stock (preferred stock, common stock, etc.), or the class of shares (shareholder rights). 

The purpose of a company having several share classes of shares is to give the management team more sway in the company's voting compared to the percentage of shares they hold. In this fashion, shareholders are compensated for their financial commitment, while the management retains the ultimate decision-making authority. 

Examples of stock ticker 

A company's trading status can also be communicated through its stock symbol. One letter followed by a dot after the stock's regular company symbol is the normal way this information is represented on the NYSE. 

When a Nasdaq stock violates the rules of the exchange, a fifth letter is added to its symbol. For instance, in the case of ACERW, the first four characters represent the ticker symbol for Acer Therapeutics Inc. (ACER). At the same time, the final letter "W" indicates that the corresponding shares come with a warrant. 

Companies going through bankruptcy procedures will have a Q appended to their symbol, and foreign companies trading on U.S. exchanges will have a Y. 


Stock tickers can help you hunt for specific firms or funds while avoiding confusion that might arise if their names are identical. So, it's important to know the stock ticker if you would like to do some research on a company you may like to invest in. In this regard, it is helpful to understand how to utilise modifiers, although it is unnecessary. 


Q. What are the numbers assigned to stocks? 

Numbers assigned to stocks reveal the volume of the most recent trade, share price, and percentage change from the previous day's close. 

Q. Where can I look up a stock's Ticker? 

A financial news site, such as the portal of your preferred stock exchange, is a good place to look for the ticker of a specific stock. However, the most convenient way to monitor your investments is to download one of the many available stock trading applications and create a watchlist in which each of your preferred stocks' ticker symbols is linked.  

A follow-on public offering or FPO is an opportunity for a company's current stockholders to buy more company shares.


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