How To Read Stock Symbols

Over the last ten years, an entire industry has developed covering, researching, and analyzing the stock market. Once considered a niche market, represented only by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, the financial media has experiences explosive growth. From cable news networks, like CNBC and financial aggregate sites like MSN Money, Google Finance, and Yahoo Finance, to popular broker and investment blogs, financial news is no longer niche. It is mainstream, accessible, and important for every investor.Today, many investors are utilizing online platforms and discount investment firms in order to keep more of their money in their pockets. Brokers charge hefty commissions and fees, which can drain an investor’s account. With some basic information and research, the average investor can make a profit without the help and assistance of a broker.Basically, your stock represents your share in the ownership of the company and it is your claim on any future earnings and dividends. Buying stock in a company shows that you are interested in its long-term success. Profits are eventually paid out in dividends, and the more stock you own, the more dividends you receive. Choosing a successful stock means that an investor should have a basic understanding of basic business principles and models.The most efficient way to research stocks is to use their stock symbol. The stock or trading symbol is an abbreviation traders and investors use to identify a company. These symbols incorporate letters, numbers, or both. While most symbols are three letters, some are four, and occasionally, company’s use only one letter as their stock symbol. These symbols were originally used on the ticker tape when stocks were traded on paper.Some of the more popular symbols include AAPL (Apple), GOOG (Google), (KO) Co ca-Co la, and TGT (Target). Some companies inject some humor or some homage into their symbols. Southwest Airline pays homage to its home field, Dallas Love Field (LUV) with their stock symbol. Legendary piano manufacturer Steinway remembers the great Ludwig Von Beethoven with its symbol, LVB. Harley Davidson uses HOG and the auction house Sotheby’s uses BID.These symbols can change to reflect mergers and acquisitions as well. When Hewlett-Packard merged with Compaq the new company assumed the stock symbol HPQ. Wireless and internet giant ATT is represented simply by the letter T, reflective of the company’s original business model.Sometimes, the symbol is followed by a “period”. This “behind the dot” notation and special codes are represented of the type of stock being offered. Class “A” stock is represented by the letter A, X indicates a mutual fund, and K notes common, or nonvoting stock. Pink sheet stocks and over the counter stocks (.PK), NASDQ small cap stocks (SC) and NASDQ National Market (NM) all have behind the dot notations.Investors can find the stock symbols by executing a simple internet search, and use the stock symbols to keep track of the stock’s activity and movement. Stock quotes are important when looking for real time stock quotes.