The investing world has rapidly changed as the internet has made it easier than ever to conduct research and analysis on various companies around the world. A lot of that research starts on Google, where investors and users will search just about anything you can think of, and a lot you probably can't. We decided to have a little fun with Google's auto-fill feature, which populates your search bar with the most popular searches given the text you input. We put the Dow 30 stocks to the test, asking Google “why does …” and the results are quite entertaining.
Best known for its scotch tape and post-it notes, it seems that most investors are curious about what “3M” stands for in the first place.
American Express (AXP)
Cutting down on costs has always been a major theme among consumers, demonstrated here by their inquisitions into AMEX’s fee structure.
The internet certainly pulls no punches for this telecom giant, wondering why AT&T has a number of issues.
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We’ll hand it to Googlers, these are actually legitimate and interesting questions.
Unfortunately, this grammatical atrocity is only in reference to the insect, not the company.
An affinity with the number 126, curiosity about gas prices, and a look into a company's origins define the Internet’s interests in this oil & gas giant.
More negative searches and the quest to discover more about the mysterious “cicsoe morris.”
Conoco is a big theme when it comes to DuPont, but it was no match for John Eleuthere du Pont’s murder of Dave Schultz and the career trajectory of Nascar driver Jeff Gordon.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
It would seem that the internet is curious as to how Exxon’s taxes are so low, and perhaps how they could lower their own.
General Electric (GE)
There weren’t too many searches for General Electric, but trust us, this is better than using just “GE” in the search bar.
Goldman Sachs (GS)
It’s always good to see people’s priorities. The Internet is very concerned with Goldman’s global sway, and is still trying to figure which 2012 Presidential candidate the company backed. Oh, and don’t forget about cupcakes, those are important too.
Home Depot (HD)
Home Depot sells just about everything you could possibly need for a DIY construction project. But it seems people are curious about what’s in the mini-fridges at checkout.
Competition with AMD and confusion over the existence of celeron processors apply to the company, while intellectual property and the importance of intelligence are borne out of general curiosity.
Outsourcing jobs seems to have struck a chord with investors, though some wonder why IBM even bothers to make computers these days.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
The Internet loves animals and they would also like to know why Johnson & Johnson tests its products on furry little creatures.
JP Morgan (JPM)
A disappointing result, we had hoped for something more interesting or laughable than shorting silver, but the next company in the Dow does not disappoint.
This is probably the most entertaining on the list as half of the Internet seems to be concerned with the impact of the food, while the other half is scratching their heads, trying to decipher how the food can be so delicious.
Merck does, in fact, own the sunscreen line, but investors simply want to know why the consumer product makes its way onto the balance sheet of a pharma giant.
Apparently Windows 98 still reigns supreme.
Fun fact, the Nike Swoosh was originally commissioned for $35 (the creator was later given stock in the company).
To answer your question, Pfizer does not own Monsanto. Though Pfizer's Pharmacia did have an 85% stake in Monsanto for several years at the turn of the millenium, leading to the confusion.
Procter & Gamble (PG)
Three points for animal testing, it’s a hot button issue on google.
Cocaine was not made illegal in the United States until 1914, and it appears that evidence suggests Coca-Cola originally contained trace amounts of the now-illicit substance until 1903.
Travelers Companies (TRV)
It could be worse Travelers, you could be Disney.
United Technologies (UTX)
Not much to say here, United Technologies seems to be less popular of a search than the other firms on the list.
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The Internet seems to think Wal-Mart’s clientele is a bit off their rocker. In fact, there is even dedicated to strange sightings in Wal-Mart locations.
Similar to AT&T, customers are dying to find out why their monthly cell phone bills are so high.
Walt Disney (DIS)
To be fair, Disney does have a track record of leaving its characters orphaned or at least down one parent for their lifetime.
Certainly a diverse string of searches, though we're sad Morgan Freeman's name did not appear given his prevalence for voicing Visa commercials.
The Bottom Line
While these searches can turn up some comical results, some are a good representation of how consumers perceive some of the largest companies on the planet. Though these queries are not at all likely to impact an investment decision, some of them can reveal some telling information that investors may find useful.