Tickers are those little codes that designate a security in place of its name. On the NYSE, tickers have a maximum of 4 letters. On Nasdaq, it's 5. For example, Johnson & Johnson 's ticker is JNJ. Microsoft's is MSFT. The big old names benefit from the original letters. F for Ford, for example. 

We sometimes find more complicated codes. For example, Berkshire Hathaway has two codes: BRK.A and BRK.B. The first refers to the original share, which is worth an astronomical amount. The second refers to the more affordable small fry share. 

Where do tickers come from?

The history of stock market tickers dates back to the late 19th century, when they were invented by Edward A. Calahan, an employee of the Western Union Telegraph Company. The stock ticker, a machine that transmitted stock price information by telegraph, revolutionized the world of finance by enabling investors to obtain real-time information on market movements. It wasn't the Internet, but it was revolutionary for its time. The first stock ticker was installed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1867. It used Morse code to transmit transaction information, which was then printed on a strip of paper. The word ticker originally derives from the tic-tic-tic noise made by the machine as it printed.

Outside the U.S., stock market tickers can vary according to the standards of each country. In the UK and Australia, for example, tickers generally consist of three letters. In continental Europe, tickers can be longer and include numbers. For example, Volkswagen 's ticker on the Frankfurt stock exchange is "VOW3". In Asia, tickers are generally made up of numbers. For example, Toyota Motor 's ticker on the Tokyo Stock Exchange is "7203". In China, tickers generally consist of six digits.

The Stylish Tickers© Portfolio

Here's a summary of 15 listed stocks with tickers that make sense. They're listed in alphabetical order, so we're starting off with the very heavy and the very vulgar (the ticker is in brackets).

  • Bite Acquisition (BITE): BITE has yet to find something to eat. That SPAC hasn't merged with an unlisted company to take advantage of a cheap IPO.
  • Canopy Growth (WEED): Let's get botanical. Canopy is a Canadian champion of pot. But not so much of the stock market, despite a recent surge. The financial golden age of weed decriminalization has often led to disappointment. Canopy has nevertheless managed to grab the best ticker in the business.
  • Cedar Fair (FUN): The US company owns amusement parks and the FUN ticker. Some 28 million annual visitors for all parks combined, with sales of around $1.3 billion. 
  • DMC Global (BOOM): Any idea what the company does? Explosives! DMC is involved in a wide range of activities, but its core business is armor-piercing explosives, particularly in the field of oil exploration. Hence the boom.
  • Ferrari (RACE): No one had adopted the ticker RACE until the Italian company that produces the famous sports cars went public in 2015.
  • Franklin Resources (BEN): As the name might not suggest, this is a large American management company. It generally operates under the name Franklin Templeton Investments. Its ticker BEN is a nod to Benjamin Franklin. In 1947, the financial group's founder, Rupert Johnson, named the company after the founding father of the United States, as he "embodied the ideas of frugality and prudence when it came to saving and investing", according to the firm's explanations.
  • Harley-Davidson (HOG): Hog, a large motorcycle, is Harley Davidson's ticker. The term has become synonymous with big motorcycles because of Harley. In the 1920s, the Harley-Davidson racing team had a pig (or hog ) as a mascot. After each victory, they would do a lap of honor with the pig on their motorcycles. The legend predates the ticker. HOG later became the acronym for "Harley Onwers Group", the worldwide association of Harley Davidson owners.
  • LDC (LOUP): In French, loup means wolf. If Europe's leading poultry company is to be believed. LDC stands for Lambert, Dodard, Chancereul, so there's no need to cry LOUP. With sales of EUR 5.85 billion in 2022 and a market capitalization of EUR 2.5 billion, 
  • Meta Platforms (META): Mark Zuckerberg may be moody and rather worrying, but he often has a nose for things. By renaming Facebook Meta and taking over the eponymous ticker, he's claiming a form of authorship of the Metaverse. Doesn't sound very useful at the moment, but you never know.
  • National Beverage (FIZZ): This group sells soft drinks in the United States, notably flavored sparkling waters under the LaCroix brand.
  • Olympic Steel (ZEUS): The distribution of metal products isn't much of a divine activity, but the directors of this Ohio company have a sense of humor. If the most powerful god in Olympus wanted to go public, he'd have to find another ticker. Or pulverize Olympic Steel with a bolt of lightning.
  • Papa John's International (PZZA): On Nasdaq, Papa John's could have claimed the 5-letter ticker PIZZA. But on the NYSE, the American pizza chain had to settle for PZZA. Phonetically, it works too.
  • Petco Health and Wellness (WOOF): The pet store has pre-empted the ticker synonymous with barking.
  • Publicis Groupe (PUB): In this case, the company name fits perfectly with the ticker. The French communications agency didn't need much creativity. It was founder Marcel Bleustein who came up with the name in 1926, from "Publi" for publicity and "cis" (six in French) for the 6 of 1926 and the 6 of 1906, the date of Bleustein's birth.
  • The Cheesecake Factory (CAKE): Yet another restaurant chain. It specializes in cheesecake-flavored calf's head, through a network of 320 stores in the USA and Canada. In fact, the restaurants offer a vast menu of world cuisine, including cheesecakes in tribute to the founding Overton couple, whose offspring still run the company.

Balance sheet

The Tickers Stylés© Portfolio has grown by 30% in three years, led by Olympic Steel, Publicis and Ferrari, despite the abysmal performance of Canopy and Petco. At the same time, the MSCI World gained 23%.