A big initial public offering and a public shaming drove ticker searches during March, with the Snap IPO leading search volumes and beating perennial favorite Apple Computer by 45 percent. Though Caterpillar Inc. saw an 80 percent increase in searches month over month, it was not on good news as reports of tax and accounting fraud plagued the company.  The company’s stock price dropped by almost 5% in two days (March 8 and 9) as the news spread.

Top 10 stocks searched in March

Every month, we use clickstream 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.

Snap was the most popular ticker symbol searched, accounting for 22.7 percent of top 10 searches, thanks to its March 3 IPO. Apple, which had held the #1 spot for the previous three months, was knocked down a notch to #2 with 15.7 percent of top 10 searches.

Amazon fell to third place in March, with 8.8 percent of top 10 searches. Facebook fell to number four, with 8.6 percent of the top 10 action.

Overall, searches for top 10 companies saw a 7 percent MoM increase. Credit Snap for those extra searches, but notice that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla each lost between Apple’s 28 percent and Amazon’s 37 percent of their February search volumes. By comparison, Bank of America’s 8 percent increase and Ford’s 5 percent uptick look almost robust.

# Company Share of Top 10 MoM Change
1 Snap 22.7% New IPO March 2
2 Apple 15.7% -28%
3 Amazon.com 8.8% -37%
4 Facebook 8.6% -33%
5 Bank of America 8.6% 8%
6 Advanced Micro Devices 8.0% -6%
7 Ford Motor Co. 7.2% 5%
8 Tesla 7.0% -30%
9 General Electric 6.6% -8%
10 AT&T 6.6% -12%

 

March’s winners and losers

Our top loser for March, Caterpillar, as already noted, was up 80 percent MoM thanks to reports of tax and accounting fraud, sending CAT’s share price down 5 percent over two days.

A 62 percent increase in ticker searches heralds good news for Micron Technology. “Semiconductors have surged this year, but there’s more room to run for some,” says Jim Cramer, who describes Micron as one of three chip stocks that are “off the charts.”

March’s Top 5

# Company MoM Change
1 Caterpillar 80%
2 Valeant Pharmaceuticals 72%
3 Micron Technology 62%
4 Frontier Communications 62%
5 Costco 39%

 

March’s top losers, in terms of Americans’ ticker searches on Yahoo finance, include Under Armour, which faces both earnings and competitive issues. Nvidia is getting a slight “buy” rating from analysts, its stock down $20/share from February. Gilead Sciences, down 41 percent, was tumbling toward a three-year share price low during March.

March’s Bottom 5

# Company MoM Change
1 Under Armour -47%
2 Nvidia Corp. -43%
3 Gilead Sciences -41%
4 Walmart Stores -39%
5 Cisco Systems -38%

 

Bottom line: The big news during March was the Snap IPO, which topped our most-searched list, driving Apple into second place. Overall, the top 10 stocks improved MoM, but not if you remove Snap searches from the list. Beyond that, our top 10 was a bit lackluster in March. Earnings reports failed to drive either our top five winners or losers. April earnings will likely change that, so please come back to see.