What is Y?
Y is a ticker-symbol extension that signifies that a stock is an American Depository Receipt.
How Does Y Work?
Issued by U.S. banks, American Depository Receipts (ADRs) are certificates that represent shares of a foreign stock owned by the issuing bank. The foreign shares are usually held in custody overseas, but the certificates trade in the U.S. Through this system, a large number of foreign-based companies are actively traded on one of the three major U.S. equity markets (the NYSE, AMEX, or Nasdaq).
On the Nasdaq market, for example, the letter Y after the ticker (if its ticker were XYZC, an XYZ Company ADR would look like this: XYZC-Y) to denote that the security is an ADR.
Why Does Y Matter?
ADRs give U.S. investors the ability to easily purchase shares in foreign firms, and they are typically much more convenient and cost effective for domestic investors (versus purchasing stocks in overseas markets). And because many foreign firms are involved in industries and geographical markets where U.S. multinationals don't have a presence, investors often use ADRs to help diversify their portfolio on a much more global scale.
Accordingly, it is very important to understand what ticker extensions mean.