Stock Ticker or Ticker Symbol

One of the elementary aspects of stock market investing is to know what the ticker is all about. The ticker symbol is the arrangement of characters you see against a particular security. The symbol is assigned to a company that is listed and goes on to issue its stock. Typically, companies are asked to pick a ticker symbol available at that point. All companies get their own stock symbols and this ensures ease of transactions on a daily basis.

The ticker symbol may be different for a stock in a different stock exchange. A symbol for X company could be one set of letters/characters for the NSE and another for the NYSE or so on. These easy stock symbols help analysts or even the regular investors to easily spot stocks and get all data related to that stock.

The ticker symbol has its origins from the 19th-century ticker tape machine. Later in the early and mid 20th centuries, too the ticker tape machine was used in companies before the digital or electronic tickers made their appearance in the 90s. The ticker was the sound that the machine would make. The record of activity pertaining to trading on the exchanges would be printed onto a paper strip that was narrow and thin, also called the tape.

So what is a stock ticker?

If you watched any sort of financial news report on the television or online, you must have noticed that the price of stocks are regularly moving. The stock ticker is a constantly changing, updated report of the price of securities. These are updated and real-time live prices keep appearing during the trading period. The ticker updates and displays changing prices of a security. The changing price is called a tick, in stock market parlance. The ticker also displays information such as volume of trading. Any stock market enthusiast should first learn to look up the ticker so as to identify key companies and their stocks.

What does the ticker show or how does one read it?

  • The first thing to spot is the ticker symbol, which as explained before, is the arrangement or set of characters that identify a company.
  • The ticker also shows the number of shares traded, in thousands, millions or billions.
  • The price of each share for a specific trade is also mentioned in the stock ticker.
  • The change in direction of price is shown. The tiny arrow-like symbol is used and it could be downward facing or upward, depending on whether the stock trades higher or lower than the earlier day’s price at exit. The exact change in price is also mentioned.

Colours used in the stock ticker

Also, you may observe that there are several colours used in the ticker. The colour green is used to show that the stock is doing better than the earlier day’s close. The colour red shows that a company’s stock has been trading at a lower price than the earlier day. Blue and white are often used to depict that there has been no change in the trading price of the stock from the prior day.

What companies make it to the ticker?

The stock ticker doesn’t show all the trades every day simply because there are thousands of companies that trade. So, the ticker display included the securities that have a heavy trade or those that are making news on a specific day. If the security is in the news for some reason and it is not exactly trading heavily, it still makes it to the stock ticker. Any company stock that is seeing some out of the ordinary activity on a specific day may also find its way into the ticker.

Today, it is easy to find stock tickers online and on apps, and not just on financial websites. Any beginner can look it up to learn more about the nuances of stock trading. Identifying stock symbols and learning to read the stock ticker is the first step towards gaining a greater foothold into the world of stock market investing.


Stock symbols are a set of letters assigned to each company listed on the exchange. It is through these symbols that one learns to spot a company on the stock ticker. The ticker is a constantly updated report of securities, their prices, trading volumes and change in prices during any given trading session. It keeps running throughout the session and you can spot how a specific company’s stock is doing at a point in time.