The stock market world is filled with abbreviations, starting with NYSE for the New York Stock Exchange and regulatory authorities such as the the SEC for Securities and Exchange Commission. All publicly traded securities are identified by abbreviations called ticker symbols. Types of securities also are often identified by abbreviations and information in stock price tables frequently is abbreviated. Knowing what they all mean is important for investors.
The NYSE is the largest American securities market, now including the former American Stock Exchange or Amex. Its rival market is NASDAQ, created by NASD or National Association of Securities Dealers. NASDAQ is derived from National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. Other common NYSE abbreviations are DJIA for Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, for Standard & Poor's 500-Stock Index.
All stocks are identified in trading systems by symbols, which may or may not directly reflect the name of the company. T, for instance, is AT&T on the NYSE, while MFST is Microsoft on NASDAQ. In general, stocks on the NYSE and Amex have from one to three characters, those on NASDAQ at least four. Both NYSE and NASDAQ sometimes use extra characters to indicate special situations, like an X to designate mutual funds or a .A to show it is a class A stock.
Other common abbreviations appear in stock tables in newspapers and other publications. "Div" is for dividends paid by that stock, "Yld" for the percentage of yield or how much money a stock is making. Sales are sometimes abbreviated as "sls" while the amount of change from the previous day is "chg." Another key abbreviation is "P/E" for the price/earnings ratio or the amount the stock earns in relation to its price.
Other Common Abbreviations
Among the hundreds of other common acronyms or abbreviations are: pfd for preferred stock, IPO for initial public offering, NAV for net asset value of mutual funds, ETF for exchange traded fund, ADR for a type of security called American depository receipt, CUSIP for Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedure, OTC for over the counter and XD for ex-dividend or excluded from dividend.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.