Citing a study by Prof. Gary Smith of Pomona College, a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal examined the possible correlation of market-beating returns and stocks with catchy ticker symbols. According to the article, the study concluded that "from 1984 to 2004, a portfolio of stocks people considered the cleverest returned 23.6% annually, compared with 12.3% for a hypothetical index of all NYSE and Nasdaq stocks."

Until I see some hard data supporting Professor Smith's findings, I remain a skeptic of the theory. Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), for instance, two stocks cited in the study, returned just 18.9% and 14.4% annually, respectively, over that period. Nevertheless, the catchy-symbol hypothesis is still a novel idea.

If you have a penchant for investing theories like this one, consider these quirky ticker categories we track in our new Motley Fool CAPS community intelligence database (currently in beta testing) and their respective one-year performances.

CAPS Category

One-Year Performance*

Sample Ticker

"Ticker Is Girl"


Ann Taylor (NYSE:ANN)

"Ticker Is Animal"


Great Wolf Resorts

"Single-Letter Ticker"



"Ticker Is a Food"


Cheesecake Factory

"Ticker is Boy"


St. Joe

*Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of Oct. 4, 2006

Foolish final word
Looking for companies with ticker symbols of boys' names or animals can help you come across some interesting companies worthy of further, more substantive research, but that's as much credence as I'll give to "category investing" at this point.

If you're looking for some new stock ideas and want to hear what other investors are talking about, take a look at our new CAPS service. It's free, and it can lead to some great discoveries. Follow this link for more information.

Todd Wenning does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. You can see his CAPS page for yourself by clicking here. Anheuser-Busch is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Great Wolf Resorts is a former Rule Breakers pick. The Fool is investors writing for investors.