January proved again that quarterly earnings drive stock searches, as seven of the top ten most searched stocks and all but one of the stocks that saw the largest increases in searches month-over-month released quarterly reports during the month. Overall searches for the ten most popular stocks were up 30 percent from December, mostly due to increased interest in Apple and Netflix, after both companies beat analysts’ expectations. Read on for our full stock search analysis.

Top 10 stocks searched in January

Every month, we use clickstream data from our 100-million consumer panel to rank interest in publicly traded shares on U.S. markets by analyzing the individual stocks searched on Yahoo Finance and MoM changes in search activity. This month, we found further evidence that quarterly earnings, both positive and negative, drive public interest in companies, that then drive consumer searches for company shares.

In January, seven of the ten most popular stocks searched belonged to companies with quarterly earnings reported that month, with only Amazon, Facebook and Tesla as the exceptions. Four of the companies beat analysts’ expectations, two under performed, and one performed in line with expectations.

Apple came in first with 19 percent of top ten searches in January, thanks to a 59 percent MoM increase in search activity. This increase in ticker searches MoM is most likely due to the company’s quarterly results which beat analyst expectations for revenue and earnings thanks to high demand for the more expensive iPhone models. During January, Apple’s stock search volume was 33 percent higher than the average of the previous six months, but still lower than the search activity that followed the company’s previous earnings report in November.

Amazon rose three positions to second place in January, scoring 12 percent of the searches. And Facebook held onto third place with 11 percent of top ten searches, following a 33 percent increase in searches over December.

What else has changed since December? News about Tesla’s Gigafactory and founder Elon Musk’s White House visit drove the company’s ticker into our top ten list in January, while  Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices and Exxon lost their top-of-mind status.

# Stock % of top 10 MoM change in search activity
1 Apple 19% 59%
2 Amazon 12% 43%
3 Facebook 11% 33%
4 Netflix 9% 132%
5 Bank of America 9% 5%
6 Ford 9% 35%
7 AT&T 9% 26%
8 General Electric 8% 18%
9 Microsoft 7% 51%
10 Tesla 7% 50%

January’s movers and shakers

A completely new set of leading stocks based upon MoM changes in search activity emerged in January, all of which saw impressive increases in stock ticker searches over December. Here, too, the impact of quarterly earnings on company stock searches is evident as nine of the ten leading stocks for MoM changes in search activity are of companies that released quarterly earnings during January, with DryShips the lone exception. However, quarterly earnings were not the only factor that drove stocks into the our top ten list for movers and shakers, as corporate news and legal actions also appeared to have an impact.

Qualcomm saw the biggest growth MoM, with ticker search activity up 152 percent over December. January’s search volumes were the highest this stock has seen since it made our top 50 list in May 2016. The company announced quarterly earnings that were in line with analysts’ expectations on January 25, however the surge in searches might be attributed to their $1B legal battle with Apple in which the iPhone company claims semiconductor maker Qualcomm is “charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.”

Netflix came in second with a 132 percent increase in searches MoM, primarily due to their January 18 earnings report in which the company beat expectations for both revenue and subscriber growth. January’s search volume for the company’s stock was also 77 percent higher than the prior six-month average.

Third place goes to Bristol-Myers with a 117 percent MoM increase in search activity. While the company announced earnings on January 26, their biggest trading activity occurred on January 20, when Bristol-Myers’ share price dropped more than 11 percent following the company’s announcement that it would not seek fast track approval from the FDA for a lung cancer treatment.

DryShips came in fourth with a 110 percent increase in searches MoM as their stock price decreased by 83 percent throughout the month. Multiple factors contributed to the price drop, including another reverse stock split and a purchase of large gas carrier. 

# Stock MoM change in search activity
1 Qualcomm 152%
2 Netflix 132%
3 Bristol-Myers 117%
4 DryShips 110%
5 Alibaba 96%
6 Verizon 68%
7 Alphabet 66%
8 Pfizer 62%
9 Apple 59%
10 Microsoft 51%

Bottom line: January’s results prove again that quarterly earnings and corporate news have strong impact on public interest, as measured by consumer stock ticker searches. With the quarterly earnings season extending to February, we can expect to see a new set of movers and shakers next month. Join us in February to find out which tickers made that cut.