Ticker symbols for stocks denote a particular security, and are alphabetical in nature. Symbols can vary from 1 to 5 characters in length, with shorter symbols (1 to 3) typically denoting that they trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or other listed exchange, while 4 and 5 character symbols indicate that the security trades on the NASDAQ.
Preferred stocks are securities that provide a specific fixed dividend that is paid before any dividends are paid to common stock holders, and which are treated with preference over common stock in the event of liquidation. In most cases, unlike common stock, preferred stocks do not have voting rights and although preferred stock provides a set dividend, the dividend is not required to be paid if the company does not possess the financial ability.
Symbology for preferred stock normally incorporates the common stock ticker symbol as well as a signifier as to the type of preferred as many companies have multiple classes of preferred stock. To avoid confusion between a common share and a preferred share, a preferred stock quote is obtained on optionsXpress by entering the ticker root, followed by the letter “p” (case sensitive) then followed by the class of preferred share.
* Please keep in mind that ticker symbols for preferred stocks on optionsXpress are case sensitive; the symbol root and class must be capitalized while the "p" to denote the security is preferred must be in lower case.
** Some preferred stocks do not have a class designation.
Some stocks have more than one class issued (e.g. A and B shares).* These classes are signified by entering a slash (/) between the symbol and class.
* Class A shares are not sold to the public and cannot be traded.
Symbols on the NASDAQ are always 4 or 5 characters, with the fifth character a further qualifier about the stock. Below are a listing of letters and what they represent.
Weekly options (also called short dated options) are very similar to regular options and also follow an easy to understand pattern. The main difference lies in the option root.
Weekly Options Symbols
The basic parts of a weekly option symbol are:
Option Root (Root+Week Indicator) + Expiration Date Code + Strike price code
Any stock or options symbol displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security.
The above content is provided for educational and informational purposes only. We offer no investment, tax or legal advice, and nothing in this material should be construed as such. Materials written for optionsXpress, Inc. by Robert Sullivan. All rights reserved, 2014, optionsXpress, Inc.