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I have downloaded a complete list of all NYSE stock symbols from the NASDAQ website here. As it turns out, many of these symbols are not recognized by the yahoo finance page. In particular, there are ticker symbols that use "^" and "/" (eg. VALE/A or CTZ^A) which yahoo finance does not recognize.

I've just noticed that, vice versa, yahoo itself has some conventions (eg. adding ".F" or ".SG" to the symbols) that don't appear on the NASDAQ list I downloaded. Why this incompatibility? Does anyone know how to "translate" the ticker symbols between the NASDAQ list and the yahoo finance webpage? I thought these symbols were supposed to be a sort of universal identifier.

  • Have you looked into who is supplying the data for these sites? There is a chance that they may use different delimiters to denote share classes or possibly other components of a stock that may contain special characters that would make it worth noting if there if a FAQ about the tickers listed. – JB King Sep 4 '13 at 18:51
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    @JBKing beat me to it, but try replacing them with periods. This is usually used to differentiate between different types/classes of the stock, e.g. common vs. preferred, so some providers will write BRK.A and BRK.B to denote preferred vs. common, while others will write BRK/A and BRK/B. VALE and VALE.P (or VALE/P) are a similar case. Yahoo also uses the ^ to signify indexes, e.g. ^DJI for the Dow Jones. – John Bensin Sep 4 '13 at 18:51
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On NASDAQ the ^ is used to denote other securities and / to denote warrents for the underlying company. Yahoo maybe using some other designators for same.

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There isn't a single universal way to reference a stock, there are 4 major identifiers with many different flavours of exchange ticker (see xkcd:Standards)

  • Exchange Ticker, (i.e. What you got from NASDAQ) these are in different formats on each exchange. They are unique within the exchange but the same Ticker can be used on different exchanges maybe even within the same country (although this seems to be rare). Different finance companies (Yahoo, Google, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters etc.) seem to use different variations of dots, dashes etc. to denote warrants, rights and different classes of shares.
  • SEDOLs (my favourite) this is as far as I can tell the only globally unique ID that will never cause you any problems since they identify a specific listed instrument on a specific exchange.
  • CUSIPs only unique with a country, only really used in US/Canada
  • ISINs like Cusips but with a country code so they can be used globally

I believe CUSIPs and ISINs represent a specific security rather than a specific listed instrument. This means you can have two listed instruments with one ISIN but different SEDOLs because they are listed in different places. The difference is subtle but causes problems with settlement

Specifically on your question (sorry I got sidetracked) take a look at CQS Symbol convention to see what everything means

  • Actually ISIN is the global unique ID. SEDOL and CUSIP are local identifiers... – serverhorror Aug 30 '17 at 18:55

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