I’ve always thought it was neat that some of the biggest companies in the world were so old, so powerful, and so well respected that their stock symbol was a single letter. AT&T was one of those: T. Ford is another: F. Citicorp is C. Not all big companies are one letter, for instance, General Motors is GM. And anything on the NASDAQ has to have 4 letters regardless, like MSFT, GOOG, and YHOO. (I found one place that said “M” and “I” on the New York Stock Exchange were being reserved if Microsoft or Intel ever decided to leave the NASDAQ). Other tickers are kind of interesting too: 3M is MMM, Southwest Airlines is LUV after its home base, Dallas’ Love Field.
Anyway, in August 2003 I bought some stock in SBC which had formerly been known as Southwestern Bell, (one of the “baby bells” born when AT&T was broken up). The whole reason I bought it was that no one was providing a decent interest rate at the time, but SBC was offering a 5% dividend every year. Power companies pay pretty good dividends too, but I decided against Southern Company. Things have gotten better lately with interest rates. Paypal is paying 3.9% and ING is paying 3.5%. CD’s are over 4%. But at the time nothing could come close to that, plus SBC was even going up in price, so I bought more later that year. The price has stayed about the same since then, but it does keep cranking out a nice quarterly dividend.
Well, SBC just bought its former parent, AT&T, today. Because so many people haven’t heard of SBC, they are going to keep the name AT&T for the whole company. All of the stock traded under T will become shares of SBC, I guess on Monday. But on December 1 this year, my shares will change their symbol to “T”. For Ted, of course.