3-01 How to Look Up a “Ticker Symbol”

The first thing you must understand about trading stocks is that the exchanges have assigned each stock a unique “ticker symbol” for identification purposes. When researching stocks, getting quotes, and placing trades, you usually have to know the ticker symbol.

Stock ticker symbols are usually 1 to 5 letters long. (Occasionally they contain a “.” or a “-” to designate a subtle difference or class of shares.). Some of the oldest and biggest companies have only one letter as their stock symbol:

  • C (Citigroup)
  • F (Ford Motors)
  • S (Sears)
  • T (AT&T)
  • X (U.S. Steel)
  • Z (Woolworth)

Ticker symbols for some of the largest and most widely held stocks are below. These are the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average that you hear quoted all of the time:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average consists of the following 30 companies:

CompanySymbolIndustryDate Added
3MMMMConglomerate1976-08-09 (as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing)
AlcoaAAAluminum1959-06-01 (as Aluminum Company of America)
American ExpressAXPConsumer finance1982-08-30
AT&TTTelecommunication1999-11-01 (as SBC Communications)
Bank of AmericaBACBanking2008-02-19
BoeingBAAerospace and Defense1987-03-12
CaterpillarCATConstruction and Mining Equipment1991-05-06
Chevron CorporationCVXOil & gas2008-02-19
Cisco SystemsCSCOComputer networking2009-06-08
DuPontDDChemical industry1935-11-20 (also 1924-01-22 to 1925-08-31)
ExxonMobilXOMOil & gas1928-10-01 (as Standard Oil)
Walgreens-Boots AllianceWBAPharmacy and Healthcare2018-06-07
The Home DepotHDHome improvement retailer1999-11-01
IBMIBMComputers and Technology1979-06-29
Johnson & JohnsonJNJPharmaceuticals1997-03-17
JPMorgan ChaseJPMBanking1991-05-06 (as J.P. Morgan & Company)
Kraft FoodsKFTFood processing2008-09-22
McDonald’sMCDFast food1985-10-30
Procter & GamblePGConsumer goods1932-05-26
United Technologies CorporationUTXConglomerate1939-03-14 (as United Aircraft)
Verizon CommunicationsVZTelecommunication2004-04-08
Walt DisneyDISBroadcasting and Entertainment1991-05-06

Some ticker symbols have a sense of humor like LUV (Southwest Airlines), and YUM (Yum Brands), which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

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