Since the beginning of 2016, we’ve been analyzing American stock searches on Yahoo Finance. While casual searches can indicate general trends in public interest, in-depth stock research activity is more interesting as it looks at the behavior of investment savvy individuals. As the two types of searches are indicative of two unique behavioral cohorts, which we coined as “casual searchers” and “experienced stock researchers,” we decided to take a closer look into how stock searches precede trends. We found evidence that the effects of Brexit have crossed the ocean, as the GBP to USD index was the fourth most popular ticker for casual searchers. Experienced stock researchers, on the other hand, stuck to Apple, however the volume of individuals researching the stock was cut by nearly half. Read on for our full behavioral analysis.  

Top ten stock tickers searched in June 2016

We analyzed U.S. stock ticker search activity on Yahoo Finance to identify top-of-mind stocks and month-over-month trends. We defined two distinct behavioral cohorts to analyze: Casual searchers and experienced stock researchers. Casual searchers include anyone that searched for a stock on Yahoo Finance and viewed the summary page. An experienced stock researcher goes further and navigates to one or more of the in-depth stock information pages.

Our data indicates that the Brexit fallout has affected Americans’ stock searches. Following Brexit, 45 percent of casual searchers used Yahoo Finance to view the leading indexes, and the exchange rate between the British Pound and the U.S. dollar. In fact, the British Pound to U.S. dollar exchange index (GBPUSD) took fourth place for casual searcher activity, attracting more than three quarters of the total experienced research activity for the leading ten stocks.

As for America’s experienced stock researchers, we found that this cohort decreased their activity by 21 percent since our last analysis. We also found that 72 percent were interested in individual S&P 500 stocks, with another 11 percent of the activity around the SPDR S&P 500 trust. We also found that even though Apple is consistently in the lead for consumer research, the volume of experienced stock researchers looking into the stock has decreased by 44 percent since May.

So, what has changed since last month? Bank of America and AT&T made the list, bringing in nearly a fifth of the experienced stock researchers, while Disney and Gilead Sciences lost their top-of-mind status. What else? Amazon fell from second place to eighth place, Tesla rose from sixth to fourth, Microsoft rose from ninth to seventh, and General Electric took last place.

# Stock % of Top 10 MoM change in search activity
1 Apple 20% -44%
2 SPDR S&P 500 11% 4%
3 Bank of America 9% 19%
4 Tesla Motors 9% -8%
5 AT&T 9% -3%
6 Facebook 9% -13%
7 Microsoft 9% -5%
8 Amazon 9% -45%
9 Valeant Pharmaceuticals 8% -26%
10 General Electric 8% -16%

June’s leading movers and shakers

Many factors can influence an investor’s interest in a particular stock, including acquisition, corporate communication, legislation, press coverage, expected earnings reports, and actual revenue generated. Take it from LinkedIn, which exhibited a 293 percent month-over-month increase in experienced stock research activity due to news of its pending acquisition by Microsoft. 

# Stock MoM change in search activity
1 LinkedIn 293%
2 Target -55%
3 Wal-Mart -46%
4 Amazon -45%
5 Chipotle 44%
6 Apple -44%
7 Disney -40%
8 Chesapeake Energy -33%
9 Alibaba -32%
10 SPDR Gold Shares 28%

Notable mention goes out to the U.K. bank Barclays, which has never appeared in the leading 100 stocks researched this year, but debuted in the number 15 position following Brexit.

Bottom line: Many factors impact stock rates, general interest levels, and investment firm recommendations. Things change quickly in the stock market, which is why you should keep up-to-date with the current and past performance of the stocks of interest to detect trends, and assess the potential ROI and risks. We’ll be back with our next installment of the top ten stocks viewed by casual searchers and experienced stock researchers in the U.S. next month, so stay tuned!