5.5.2007 The SEC received two proposed national market system plans from separate groups of stock exchanges relating generally to securities symbols. In addition, Nasdaq has filed a separate proposal to permit a company in certain circumstances to retain its symbol when transferring its listing to Nasdaq with the Commission from another stock exchange.

Securities symbols are a key element in the operation of a national market system and essential to the dissemination of trade information in a common format. Historically, securities symbols have been assigned under an informal understanding among the listing markets. It has been the practice of the New York Stock Exchange to list companies using 1- , 2- and 3-character symbols. Other exchanges, including the American Stock Exchange and regional exchanges, have also listed companies using 3-character symbols. Nasdaq has always listed companies using 4- and 5-character symbols The two competing proposals relating generally to symbols are:

  • Limit the use of 1-, 2- and 3-character symbols to those listing markets that traditionally used those symbols. This proposal does not address the use of 4- and 5-character symbols. This proposal is supported by Amex, NYSE and NYSE Arca; and 
  • Permit any listing market to use 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- or 5 character symbols. This proposal is supported by Nasdaq, NASD, the National Stock Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

Please click http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-63.htm to access the press release about the stock ticker symbols.