7 Clever Stock Ticker Symbols, From LUV to HOG

It’s not exactly a secret on Wall Street that publicly traded companies sometimes make a statement with their stock symbols.

Consider the change made by technology titan Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social media giant Facebook. Looking to rebrand the company to emphasize its focus on the metaverse, Zuckerberg changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc. and the stock symbol from FB to META to remove any doubt about his business’s focus.

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Studies do show that getting creative with a stock symbol actually may improve investment performance. A 2019 Pomona College study, for example, found that “clever ticker” firms beat “plain name” stocks as a whole by a “substantial and significant margin” between 2006 and 2018. The study cited investors’ ability to remember the unique tickers better as one explanation for the difference.

Here are seven U.S. stock ticker symbols that fall into the “clever ticker” category:

— Southwest Airlines Co. (ticker: LUV)

— Brinker International Inc. (EAT)

— Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG)

— Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. (PLAY)

— DMC Global Inc. (BOOM)

— Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN)

— Cheesecake Factory Inc. (CAKE)

Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV)

It’s not every day that an investor associates a money-making stock with true romance, but one of the nation’s leading airlines is making that connection. The story behind the name dates back to 1971, when Southwest began flying out of Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The company embraced the name, pointing to Southwest’s unique relationship with its customers and its family-friendly philosophy.

When the airline went public the same year, Southwest “immediately requested LUV as its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol and forever changed the airline’s spelling of the word love,” the company stated. “The carrier sold tickets to ride in its ‘LUV seats’ and instead of peanuts and soft drinks, it served ‘LUV bites’ and ‘LUV potions.'”

Brinker International Inc. (EAT)

There’s no need to overcomplicate a clever stock symbol. Take Brinker International, which owns high-profile chain eateries like Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s. Brinker does what you’re supposed to do with a marketing opportunity — remind customers what they can do with a product.

It’s no surprise that company leader Norman Brinker had a hand in picking the stock symbol EAT when Brinker took Chili’s public in 1984 (it was renamed Brinker International in 1991). He also came up with the modern casual dining concept in founding Steak and Ale in 1966.

Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG)

You can’t celebrate customer-loyalty-driven companies without reserving a parking spot for motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. The most iconic manufacturer in the history of two-wheeled motorized machines, Harley-Davidson chose HOG for its stock symbol in 2006 based on its huge cult-brand following (it was originally HDI when the company went public in 1987).

The year it first went public, Harley-Davidson executives made stock exchange history by riding their motorcycles — famously dubbed “hogs” as slang for super-sized motorcycles — from the Harley dealership in Queens to the New York Stock Exchange to make a high-throttle statement. H.O.G. is also the acronym for the membership-based Harley Owners Group.

[READ: 7 Stocks That Outperform in a Recession.]

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. (PLAY)

This company serves up a combo platter of dining and arcade games, so it calls for a stock symbol that reinforces the “fun factor” that Dave & Buster’s brings to the table. That’s where the stock symbol PLAY fits the bill.

The company was founded in 1982, when the actual Dave and Buster separately owned a restaurant and video game arcade right across from one another. The two entrepreneurs joined forces after seeing patrons go back and forth between the two establishments, and opened the first Dave & Buster’s family entertainment location in Little Rock, Arkansas.

When the company went public in October 2014, the decision to pick the stock symbol PLAY was a natural one — and highly profitable, too.

DMC Global Inc. (BOOM)

Given DMC’s expertise in explosion metalworking, taking on the stock ticker BOOM makes sense. The Broomfield, Colorado-based company officially launched in 1971, six years after an investment group formed Explosive Fabricators Inc., which eventually purchased Martin Marietta Materials Inc.’s (MLM) explosive cladding operation.

The explosives energy company went public in 1976 under the stock symbol BOOM, cementing its blockbuster brand name.

Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN)

Benjamin Franklin, one of the most celebrated Americans in history, has his name attached to one of the largest asset management companies in the world. That would be Franklin Resources, more widely known as Franklin Templeton Investments.

Pairing BEN and Franklin is a stroke of marketing genius, given the innovator’s reputation as the wise sage who was instrumental in the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States of America. Who wouldn’t want investment wisdom from a company bearing Franklin’s name?

Cheesecake Factory Inc. (CAKE)

This contemporary casual restaurant leaves a reminder of its decadent desserts with its stock symbol, CAKE. Its namesake product does have the word “cake” in it, hammering home the message of what the Cheesecake Factory serves its diners. The eatery generated $3.3 billion in revenues in 2022, so its patrons must be finding its sweet treats hard to forget as well.

After a rough time during the pandemic, CAKE stock is modestly back in the green in 2023 and has maintained a stable dividend payout since last year, a bit of icing on top for shareholders.

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7 Clever Stock Ticker Symbols, From LUV to HOG originally appeared on usnews.com

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