How to Read Mutual Funds Symbols


How to Read Mutual Funds Symbols. Mutual fund symbols can look pretty strange, but once you learn how to read them they make a lot of sense. Mutual funds, like stocks, use ticker symbols as abbreviations for the fund's name. Different types of investments have different ticker symbols. Mutual fund symbols are 5 letters long and end in X. Symbols after the fund's name tell you more information about the type of fund it is.

Things You'll Need

  • An investment newspaper or online investment resource such as your mutual fund's website
  • The name of your mutual fund or funds

Understand Mutual Fund Symbols

Open your newspaper or go to your online resource and read about the mutual fund in which you are interested. These are generally listed alphabetically to help you find them easier.

Know that the fund's name or ticker symbol appears on the left side, with information about it appearing in columns to the right.

Look for 'NAV'. This is the Net Asset Value of the fund. It tells you how much money each fund share is worth.

Search for the term 'offer price' or 'buy price'. This is how much you have to pay for a share of the fund, including any sales fees. If the offer price says 'NL,' it means the fund is a no-load fund and you would pay the same price to buy it as you would if you were to sell it.

Read the final column. This should tell you the amount of the fund's appreciation the previous day. A plus symbol (+) means the fund has gained money, while a minus symbol (-) shows how much it has lost.

Check the fund's ticker symbol. Letters after the name have different meanings. An 'r' means the fund has a back-end load, or a fee you pay when you redeem or sell your shares. A 'p' designates a fund with a 12B-1 fee. A 't' means there is a 12B-1 fee and a deferred sales charge. An 'f' means the most recent numbers for the fund are not available.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mutual fund symbols always have 5 letters and end in X. If you are only interested in investing in mutual funds, you can ignore any shorter symbols.
  • Pay close attention to the symbols after the fund's name, as these let you know what types of loads or fees you can expect with that fund.

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