When the F symbol is listed at the end of a stock market listing, it indicates that the stock is a foreign stock, meaning it is based outside of the United States. The F symbol is one of the additional descriptors for labels that are used with stocks listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ.
Foreign Stocks on NYSE
The NYSE has a significant collection of foreign stocks listed, though they still represent a very small percentage of the market's overall listings. The NYSE has more than 400 companies based outside of the United States in its listings. The exchange has a high concentration of foreign companies based in Europe. The countries outside of the U.S. most represented on the NYSE are Bermuda, Canada, China, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Brazil.
Foreign Stocks on NASDAQ
NASDAQ has more than 300 international stocks in its listings. Unlike the NYSE, NASDAQ does not attract many European companies. It does have a large number of companies that are based in the Caribbean. Among the foreign locations with a sizable number of stocks listed on NASDAQ are Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Canada and Israel.
The F symbol is just one of many that are used to represent additional details about particular stocks. Some of the other symbols include D, which signals that the stock is a new issue; E, which indicates it missed its required SEC filing; Q, which represents that the company has a bankruptcy in progress; and X, which means that the listing is for a mutual fund.
Benefits for Companies
According to NASDAQ, a chief reason that foreign companies choose to be listed on American stock exchanges is that it provides them access to the United States capital markets, which are the largest in the world. In addition, it gives them access to U.S. debt and commercial paper markets. Listing on an American exchange also can help broaden companies' marketing reach, giving them improved visibility in the U.S. marketplace to consumers and investors.
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.