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:

Company Symbol Industry Date Added
3M MMM Conglomerate 1976-08-09 (as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing)
Alcoa AA Aluminum 1959-06-01 (as Aluminum Company of America)
American Express AXP Consumer finance 1982-08-30
AT&T T Telecommunication 1999-11-01 (as SBC Communications)
Bank of America BAC Banking 2008-02-19
Boeing BA Aerospace and Defense 1987-03-12
Caterpillar CAT Construction and Mining Equipment 1991-05-06
Chevron Corporation CVX Oil & gas 2008-02-19
Cisco Systems CSCO Computer networking 2009-06-08
Coca-Cola KO Beverages 1987-03-12
DuPont DD Chemical industry 1935-11-20 (also 1924-01-22 to 1925-08-31)
ExxonMobil XOM Oil & gas 1928-10-01 (as Standard Oil)
Walgreens-Boots Alliance WBA Pharmacy and Healthcare 2018-06-07
Hewlett-Packard HPQ Technology 1997-03-17
The Home Depot HD Home improvement retailer 1999-11-01
Intel INTC Semiconductors 1999-11-01
IBM IBM Computers and Technology 1979-06-29
Johnson & Johnson JNJ Pharmaceuticals 1997-03-17
JPMorgan Chase JPM Banking 1991-05-06 (as J.P. Morgan & Company)
Kraft Foods KFT Food processing 2008-09-22
McDonald’s MCD Fast food 1985-10-30
Merck MRK Pharmaceuticals 1979-06-29
Microsoft MSFT Software 1999-11-01
Pfizer PFE Pharmaceuticals 2004-04-08
Procter & Gamble PG Consumer goods 1932-05-26
Travelers TRV Insurance 2009-06-08
United Technologies Corporation UTX Conglomerate 1939-03-14 (as United Aircraft)
Verizon Communications VZ Telecommunication 2004-04-08
Wal-Mart WMT Retail 1997-03-17
Walt Disney DIS Broadcasting and Entertainment 1991-05-06

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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