We live in a world of relational data.
The main reason why Pandora Music knows just what song you may want to hear next, or why Netflix can spit out the ideal DVD suggestion, is that the companies know where you've been -- and they know where folks with similar paths are likely going.
We do it here at the Fool, too. Toss a relevant ticker symbol into Motley Fool CAPS, and you can see the stocks favored by those who are bullish or bearish on that particular investment.
Yahoo! Finance has also recently dabbled in this realm. If you punch in a stock, the leading financial portal will also offer up six ticker symbols that others checking out the stock have also checked up on.
On the most basic level, it's a neat way to generate new stock ideas. Why wouldn't you want to know what other investments like-minded investors are quoting? On a deeper level, it may help you assess the type of investor -- or speculator -- that is attracted to a particular investment. Is it just a collection of companies in the same sector? Do the stocks have similar traits such as chunky dividend yields or low share prices?
I decided to see what punching in one of the more popular tickers in Fooldom -- Sirius XM Radio
Here are the six ticker symbols most commonly viewed by those grabbing an online quote for the country's satellite-radio giant.
- XMSR-Really? This is the old XM Satellite Radio ticker symbol. It hasn't traded since the merger between the two companies was completed two years ago. Does Yahoo! data go that far back, or are XM investors who had their shares swapped for Sirius in the transaction that forgetful or negligent?
- SIR-Really? This is the old ticker symbol for SIRVA, a company that provides relocation and moving services. It no longer trades publicly, so there's irony in the situation and its business. Obviously, we're dealing with investors who are so worked up that they forget to complete SIRI's ticker symbol here.
- LCAPA-Liberty Capital
(Nasdaq: LCAPA). Three tickers in, we finally get to a company that actually trades. This one makes perfect sense. Liberty Capital owns a 40% preferred share stake in Sirius XM after lending it the liquidity needed to avoid bankruptcy last year. That buy-in may not have seemed like much at the time, but Liberty's stake is now approaching $4 billion in value, given Sirius XM's swift ascent.
- CRWN-Crown Media
(Nasdaq: CRWN). Crown's flagship property is the Hallmark cable channel. While Howard Stern and Hallmark have little in common, Crown is a premium media company with a low share price. The admiration is mutual, since Sirius XM Radio is the first ticker singled out for those viewing Crown Media.
- TASR-TASER International
(Nasdaq: TASR). The leading stun gun maker, a defense force long before "Don't tase me, bro" entered our lexicon, is obviously not in the premium radio market. However, TASER's been trading in the single digits for more than two years, so both stocks have a low share price as a connection.
(NYSE: ETM). Investors wanting a terrestrial counterpoint to Sirius XM's satellite-radio ways apparently have an interest in Entercom. There are 110 traditional radio stations in 23 different markets, in its arsenal. Entercom is also trading at attractive earnings multiples in the single digits -- and the mid-single digits if you look out to next year.
Does this mean that the typical Sirius XM investor enjoys watching feel-good Hallmark flicks with a TASER in one hand as the other hand mistypes ticker symbols and fumbles with the terrestrial-radio dial?
No, but it is telling that all of the stocks except for Liberty Capital trade in the single digits. It's an area that I'll confess to regularly mining for stock ideas, though the risks are greater in pursuit of greater rewards.
Have the Yahoo! Finance quote suggestions ever led you to a great stock idea? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Netflix. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.