Two-Way Street

Apple stock lookups: The king is dead?

Allen Wastler

A momentous thing happened on yesterday: Apple wasn't the top stock looked up by readers of the Web site. It was Bank of America.

For more than a year and a half Apple has been the ticker lookup champ. Before that, Citigroup—owing to its widely held status—was the usual winner. But in 2010 Apple started appearing at the top of the ticker list, usually on its earnings days and MacWorld events. Then, in 2011, it started regularly seesawing with Citigroup.

In January 2012, Apple went to the top of the list and stayed there, accounting for anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent of our ticker traffic on a given day. Okay, it was unseated for two days by Facebook's debut. But the social-media upstart was slapped down pretty quickly.

Will Apple smack down Bank of America just as quickly? It was hoopla about the bank's earnings, after all, that probably helped it take the ticker crown yesterday.

Or is it just more confirmation that Apple isn't the superstar stock that it used to be? The price has been on the wane since last fall and it's down about 18 percent year-to-date. But as you can see on the chart, that hasn't really affected ticker lookups all that much. Indeed, sharp moves in the stock have prompted more ticker lookups. Pretty natural when you think about it…it's the "what the heck is going on?" phenomenon.

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Its reign as ticker king can also be taken as confirmation that too many people and institutions own the stock.

Should Apple's stock price bounce back, and some people think it might with next week's earnings report, it might indeed remain the ticker king on our Web site. For now though, its staying power is an open question.