Quarterly earnings reports drive public interest in company stocks in October. The number of Americans searching for stock ticker symbols increased by 11 percent during October from a month earlier. Interest in Amazon and AT&T, both of whom released their Q3 earnings report near the end of October, are behind most of the increased search activity.
Nine out of ten of the leading stocks tickers searched and all of October’s leading stocks for month-over-month changes in search activity are of companies that released their Q3 earnings during October. October’s top ten lists demonstrate that quarterly earnings reports — positive or negative — drive public interest in individual companies and stocks. Read on for all our findings.
Top ten stock tickers searched in October
Every month, we use online behavioral data from our 100-million strong consumer panel to rank interest in publicly-traded shares on U.S. markets. We have focused our analysis on individual stock searches on Yahoo Finance to demonstrate public and investor interest in the individual companies we highlight, while disregarding stock market indexes. However, we simply could not overlook the change in interest in stock indexes throughout October.
For the first time since we began analyzing the U.S. investment market in February, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was not the most-searched ticker symbol in October. Analysts and investors have felt that the Dow Jones was no longer a leading indicator of global financial health and October’s search data suggests that perhaps the general population is following suit. In October, the volume of individuals that searched for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Yahoo Finance was cut by a quarter month-over-month, and was surpassed by Apple.
Despite being the most popular stock searched for eight months straight and surpassing the Dow Jones in October, Apple saw a 13 percent decrease is MoM searches. Lack of news in October and the massive uplift in searches in September following the iPhone 7 release can explain the relative decrease in Apple’s stock search activity in October.
With September’s fake accounts scandal behind it, Wells Fargo lost searchers in October compared to September. Wells Fargo search activity was down 25 percent, but still beat the average for the quarter by 22 percent, perhaps because the release of the bank’s Q3 earnings report, which exceeded analysts’ expectations, on October 4th.
What else has changed? Netflix joined the top ten list with 9 percent of the searchers for the top ten stock tickers on Yahoo Finance, while Ford lost its top-of-mind status. Here is a full breakdown of what we have found:
|#||Stock||% of top 10||MoM change in search activity|
|10||Bank of America||7%||7%|
October’s movers and shakers
All of the top ten stocks for MoM changes in search activity in October released their quarterly earnings during the month. All of these stocks also attracted more searchers in October than September. Q3 quarterly earnings have provided us with an all-new list of movers and shakers with two exceptions: Twitter and Amazon remain from September.
Bad news drove Twitter’s fall from fourth place in September to last place in October. Acquisition rumors were replaced with layoff talk and lagging interest from potential buyers, still a positive quarterly earnings report on October 27th probably helped Twitter’s status on the list.
Amazon moved into fourth place on a 54 percent MoM increase in search activity, probably because of lackluster Q3 earnings and a warning of lower revenue to come. Amazon’s quarterly earnings report released on October 27th found earnings down by two-thirds compared to Q2, while revenue remained on-track with analyst expectations.
A negative earnings report brought Alcoa to the top of the list with a 129 percent increase in MoM searches. But news works both ways: Netflix was a close second with a 116 percent increase following Q3 results where revenue beat analysts’ expectations.
Last month’s leading stock for MoM changes, Wells Fargo, did not make the list. During October, the number of individuals who searched for Wells Fargo on Yahoo Finance fell by a quarter from September, when the fake accounts scandal broke, and brought forth a 170 percent increase in search activity compared to August.
|#||Stock||MoM change in search activity|
Bottom Line: This month’s takeaway is that numbers make news and news drives Yahoo Finance searches and those searches translate into positions in our top ten lists. The top ten list for MoM changes was particularly volatile in October, while Apple continued to sit placidly atop our top ten searched list for the eighth consecutive month. It will be interesting to see if the impact of Donald Trump’s election as President drives searches and what shares get or lose public interest, so stay tuned.