The rise and fall of single-letter ticker symbols

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Business History, 2008, 50 (3), pp. 368 - 385
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A single-letter stock ticker symbol is a limited resource - only 26 possibilities are available in a stock universe of over 475,000 possible one-, two-, three- or four-letter ticker symbols. These symbols were first allocated based on trading volume therefore some of the most important companies at the time were initially placed into this group. This paper examines the history of this group of stocks and documents a decline in the importance of these firms due to a natural turnover in commercial leadership and no established mechanism to remove the single-letter designation from firms that lost their prominence.
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