It may not seem like much, but a stock's ticker does have slight meaning in terms of how the shares perform right out of the gate. As wild as it may seem, there is evidence to support the fact that stocks with pronounceable tickers outperform those without catchy trading symbols immediately following their respective initial public offerings.
Obviously, investing based on a stock's ticker alone is foolhardy and regardless of how memorable a ticker is, if there is something fundamentally wrong with the company behind the ticker, the market will eventually make the stock pay.
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Tickers as they pertain to ETFs are a different story, particularly because analysts, traders and others refer to ETFs as "the FAZ" or "the GLD." So it is not surprising that ETF issuers put some effort into coming up with catchy trading symbols.
Again, do not buy an ETF just because of its ticker, but have a look at the following funds to see if it is possible to have a pronounceable symbol and generate solid returns.
Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NYSE:NUGT)
No, that ticker is not "nugget," but the reality is that is how this triple-leveraged play is referred to in some circles. Is it plausible that traders say to each "Are you trading the N-U-G-T today?" Sure, but it is more plausible that they say "I'm trading nugget today."
Regardless of ticker, NUGT proved to be the ideal way to profit from the QE3 announcement as the fund surged 15.1 percent. NUGT has a bearish cousin with a memorable ticker, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (NYSE:DUST).
Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares (NYSE:CURE)
Another triple-leveraged play with a memorable ticker, the Direxion Daily Healthcare Bull 3X Shares tracks the same index as the popular Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLV). Highlighting the belief that tickers are not everything, CURE had a bearish equivalent that was closed earlier this month, the Direxion Daily Healthcare Bear 3X Shares. That fund traded under the ticker "SICK."
PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio (NYSE:PIE)
The PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio might have one of the best ETF tickers around. PIE's returns are not too shabby, either, as the fund is up 10.6 percent year-to-date and 7.5 percent in the past 90 days.
The $166.6 million ETF is a multi-country emerging markets play, but this fund is not to be confused with the likes of the Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSE:VWO). PIE uses a relative strength screen and that means different country weights than what are found in traditionally weighted emerging markets funds.
At 14 percent, South Korea is PIE's second-largest country allocation and it is common for that country to play a prominent role in many mulit-country funds. However, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand combine for about 35 percent of PIE's weight, giving the fund significant exposure to some of Asia's more impressive growth stories.
Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE:MOO)
First-to-market advantage, not the ticker, is probably the reason MOO has been the dominant agribusiness ETF since it came to market five years ago. Several ETF sponsors have introduced competing products over the years, but none have really challenged MOO's agribusiness supremacy. Some of those rivals folded. The ones that are still around are practically unheard of in comparison to the $5.6 billion MOO.
Proving a catchy ticker does not mean big inflows, the iShares MSCI Global Agriculture Producers Fund (NYSE:VEGI) debuted in late January and even though it has a lower expense ratio than MOO, VEGI has not come close to even being a thorn in MOO's side. VEGI has slightly outperformed MOO in the past three months, but that has not meant much in terms of inflows. VEGI has just $10.3 million in AUM.
For more on ETF tickers, click here.
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