United Continental Holdings was the most-searched ticker symbol during April, the month when an angry passenger was dragged kicking-and-screaming off a United flight. Interest in the company surged, propelling it to the top of the 10 most-searched tickers on Yahoo Finance, though United’s stock price remained calm. The month also saw Apple lose traffic, yet remain in the #2 position.

Top 10 stocks searched in April

Every month, we use online behavioral data from our 100-million consumer panel to rank interest in publicly traded shares on U.S. markets. We do this by analyzing the individual stocks consumers search on Yahoo Finance for month-over-month (MoM) changes in search activity. We count individuals who search for a stock rather than individual stock searches, so that one person searching a thousand times (or more) does not skew our results. We also select the best and worst performers from among the top 50 most-searched ticker symbols.

This month, in addition to MoM search changes, we include the corresponding MoM change in share price for each of the companies. The MoM change in share price compares the average daily closing price of the current month to that of the previous month to show how much it has fluctuated up or down.

Though United garnered 17 percent of the top 10 searches, we lack a MoM comparison as the company was not ranked among March’s top 50 ticker symbols.

Generally, we see searches change with the ebb and flow of company news. United is a great example, with its bad news driving search activity. Both bad news, in United’s case, and good news, like a favorable earnings report, appear to drive interest in particular stock symbols.

With one glaring exception: Apple. Tim Cook’s company is often in the news, but not always, yet its search volumes, relative to other ticker symbols, landed it in the top or second position in our top ten since we started tracking performance in April 2016. Apple is simply a very popular company with Yahoo Finance users, still its search volume was down 16.2 percent MoM. And still it placed second.

Amazon, Tesla and Netflix were big winners this month, with search traffic increases of 41.1 percent, 36.8 percent, and 28.2 percent, respectively.

# Company Share of Top 10 MOM Change in Searches MOM Change in Price*
1 United Continental Holdings, Inc. 17% N/A** 0.2%
2 Apple Inc. 14% -16.2% 1.60%
3 Amazon.com Inc 13% 41.1% 5.80%
4 Tesla Motors, Inc. 10% 36.8% 18.10%
5 Facebook 9% 0.7% 2.60%
6 Ford Motor 7% 0.3% -7.10%
7 Bank of America Corp 7% -17.1% -5.30%
8 Netflix Inc. 7% 28.2% 1.60%
9 AT&T Inc 7% -1.5% -3.60%
10 General Electric 6% -7.7% -0.20%

 

April’s winners and losers

While not top performers in terms of share of the top 10 most-searched, these companies increased their searches MoM by the percentage shown, making them the top percentage gainers for the month.

 

April’s Top 5

1. United States Steel Corporation 61%
2. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. 60%
3. International Business Machines 58%
4. Alphabet Inc Class A 41%
5. Amazon.com Inc. 41%

 

April’s Bottom 5

From among the top 50 most-searched ticker symbols we identify each month, these five companies lost the largest percentage of search traffic during April. Seeing Snap on this list after its March IPO demonstrates how quickly interest can wane once a company hits the public market.

5. Bruker Corporation -24%
4. Exxon Mobil Corp. -27%
3. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. -32%
2. Caterpillar Inc. -40%
1. Snap Inc. -77%

 

Bottom Line: We will continue looking for correlation between traffic growth or loss and advances or declines in share price. We also want to see whether Apple remains strong after its double-digit loss, and maybe look for Snap to improve its ranking as worst-performing ticker symbol. Join us next month to see how these companies and others perform in our rankings.