QUIZ: Can You Name These Companies By Their Stock Symbol?

Zach Brooke
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Key Takeaways
​​Test​ your knowledge of stock market listings

Oct. 11, 2017

Longtime market watchers know that ticker symbols are a kind of secondary brand, a pre-digital form of shorthand for a publicly traded company's identity. 

Modern stock tickers were developed by Standard and Poor's as a way to standardize company listings across several exchanges. Some tickers need little interpretation; IBM and Dell are just their corporations' given names, while symbols such GOOG, MSFT and AMZN read like vanity plates for the companies they represent. Others embrace a bit of wit and whims. Anheuser-Busch InBev uses BUD in a nod to its signature product, while piano maker Steinway tips its cap to towering musical genius Ludwig Van Beethoven with LVB, and Olympic Steel invokes the gods through its use of ZEUS. 

But single-letter stock symbols are a bit of a power play. Their brevity suggests the company has solid roots, established before the need for three and four-letter symbols emerged, while also channeling the first-name basis A-listers in Hollywood by signaling they are known to the world with just a single letter. Or perhaps they just hope to benefit by being listed before all other companies in their group in hope of frequent recognition by potential investors. How many do you know?

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Author Bio:

Zach Brooke
Zach Brooke is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at zbrooke@ama.org or on Twitter at @Zach_Brooke.
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