U.S. Steel, an iconic American company that has held the ticker symbol X since 1921, may soon see a change in ownership. As the first $1 billion company in the United States, U.S. Steel has long been a symbol of economic might. However, with multiple bids on the table, its future is uncertain.
Elon Musk's Interest in the X Ticker Symbol
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and owner of X, a private company formerly known as Twitter, has a keen interest in the X ticker symbol. In fact, he was so enamored with it that he renamed Twitter using this letter. It is worth noting that one of Tesla's popular car models is the Model X.
Shifting Ticker Symbols
The fate of the X ticker symbol hinges on the outcome of U.S. Steel's evaluation of strategic alternatives. If U.S. Steel is acquired by Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF), Cleveland-Cliffs may decide to adopt the well-known X ticker symbol. This would make sense considering U.S. Steel's historical significance.
On the other hand, if U.S. Steel is purchased by a private company such as Esmark, the X ticker symbol could become available for others to use.
The Desirability of Single-Letter Tickers
Single-letter ticker symbols are often highly sought after and closely associated with well-established companies. For instance, AT&T uses the ticker symbol T, referencing its primary product, the telephone. Other well-known examples include Citigroup (C), Ford (F), Macy's (M), Kellogg (K), and Visa (V).
However, it is important to note that having a single-letter ticker symbol does not necessarily guarantee strong stock-market performance. AT&T, Ford, Citigroup, and Macy's have all struggled to keep up with the market.
A Word of Caution for Elon Musk
If the X ticker symbol becomes available, Elon Musk may be tempted to acquire it for one of his ventures. However, given the mixed track record of companies with single-letter ticker symbols, he might want to approach this opportunity with caution.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the X ticker symbol as U.S. Steel evaluates its options. According to the rules governing the use of ticker symbols, a company can release its symbol or hold onto it for a maximum of 24 months.
More on U.S. Steel
Single-letter ticker symbols have a certain allure and are closely associated with prominent companies. However, their association does not guarantee strong stock-market performance. The cases of AT&T, Ford, Citigroup, and Macy's serve as a reminder that a single letter does not determine a company's success.