5 Stocks with Clever Tickers

Mark is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Some companies get very creative with their tickers. Do the tickers help these companies with their top or bottom lines? Probably not, but they might result in a little extra attention. After all, a few symbols are part of the company's marketing plan...but some of them are just fun.

One fun ticker belongs to Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG). The manufacturer of mostly large-displacement motorcycles, which are affectionately called "Hogs," changed its symbol from HDI to HOG in 2006. It even attempted to trademark "Hog," but was unsuccessful. The company was founded over a hundred years ago in Milwaukee, WI., where its headquarters is still based, and today it operates several factories across the U.S.

All in all Harley-Davidson has had mixed results lately. Revenue has been increasing, but the company has generated some uneven earnings over the past several years and still has a lot of debt. It does pay a dividend and actually has increased the yield to 1.5%. 

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/bcf437a3592439eca839977f16abe25b.png" />

HOG Earnings Per Share TTM data by YCharts


Although I'm not a big fan of the company or the stock, a favorite symbol of mine belongs to US Steel Corp. (NYSE: X). A single character sometimes garners the most attention. The symbol "X" has many uses, including in mathematics, as an indication of an unknown variable or as the depiction of multiplication.

Unfortunately, the company is a shell of its former self. Although revenue has generally increased, US Steel hasn't been profitable over a good portion of the last 20 years. Steel production is flat and the company only ranks as #12 in the industry today. Not to mention the fact that the stock price still hasn't recovered from a huge collapse during the recession.  

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/9c125f9d06c3b5ddd061c96505ca74e5.png" />

X Earnings Per Share TTM data by YCharts


A tasty ticker is that of Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM). The symbol certainly describes the company's products (to some extent). Yum! has well-known brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, and it has been steadily increasing earnings, including during the 2008 financial crisis. The stock has nearly doubled over the last five years and it currently yields 2.0%. 

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/79a39e66dd8fbff5055299eb40605636.png" />

YUM Earnings Per Share TTM data by YCharts


Another fun ticker of note is that of Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV). The symbol goes back to the company's founding in the mid-1970's, and was based upon the "fun-loving" atmosphere created by its employees to make a great flying experience for customers.

Southwest, probably the best airline that I have flown on, has for the most part increased revenue. Unfortunately earnings have not been consistent, which may be one reason why the stock has underperformed the overall market over the last decade. It's a good ticker, but maybe not a good stock. 

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/0500646dc7f847f2554d78cbef9f341c.png" />

LUV data by YCharts


Another favorite ticker (and company) of mine is Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM). One of the leaders in the craft brewing industry that also happens to distribute my favorite amber lager, Samuel Adams. There is nothing like it after a good workout on the basketball court or softball field. They also offer a tour (with free samples at the conclusion) at their R & D brewery in Boston. 

One of my biggest investing mistakes was not buying the stock when I first looked at it and it was trading around $65. It still might be a buy at its current level of just over $100. Its P/E is a bit lower than its 5-year average and in-line with earnings growth. Boston Beer is well managed and has no debt. The stock price has followed earnings upward in the classic pattern of a good growth company.

<img src="http://media.ycharts.com/charts/244ca7df489b088f5f25072a268f56f6.png" />

SAM Earnings Per Share TTM data by YCharts


It's been an entertaining excercise to look at the stock tickers of various companies. But remember, the best symbols do not always mean that company has the best fundamentals and performance. 

Personally, I'm waiting for tickers like STOCK, RICH and MONEY to be used; I think those have a lot of potential. 



Mathman6577 has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Boston Beer. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Boston Beer and Southwest Airlines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.

blog comments powered by Disqus