A ticker symbol or stock symbol is an abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. The term ticker refers to the noise made by the ticker tape machines once widely used by stock exchanges.

The allocation of symbols and formatting conventions is specific to each stock exchange. In the USA, stock tickers are typically between 1 and 4 letters and represent the company name where possible in Europe usually 3 letters. In Asia, numbers are often used instead, to avoid problems for international investors. For example, the bank HSBC’s stock traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has the ticker symbol 0005.

Examples of US Stock symbols:

  • A – Agilent Technologies
  • C – Citigroup
  • KO – The Coca-Cola Company
  • AAPL – Apple inc.
  • BRK.A or BRK.B - Berkshire Hathaway (Class A or B shares)
  • GOOG – Alphabet (parent company of Google)
  • INTC – Intel