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Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

The Real Story Behind These Five Unusual Ticker Symbols

HOT... FUN... LEG. 

Ever wonder about some of the stock tickers out there? Well, you're not alone. Most investors immediately recognize GOOG (Google), MSFT (Microsoft), and GM (General Motors) on the stock ticker. Even companies like HOG (Harley Davidson), LUV (Southwest Airlines), and POT (Potash) are now so familiar, few people give them a second glance. But then every once in a while, something pops up to surprise us.

WOOF (VCA Antech, Inc.)

Pets are family and VCA Antech, the leading provider of animal health care services, wants to make sure everyone knows it.

One of the largest animal healthcare companies in the United States and Canada, VCA Antech owns and operates over 435 free-standing animal hospitals that are also linked into a nationwide clinical animal laboratory system.

The company's core philosophy clearly states: "You love your pet. As a caring pet owner you only want the best for your pet... At VCA Antech, we can provide you with the knowledge it takes to make sure your pets feel their best."

There's a good reason for this statement

According to a 2007 Bloomberg BusinessWeek report. Americans spend more than $41 billion dollars a year on their pets. But while sales revenues from animal clothing and bedding may have faltered during the past two years, pet health spending did not. In fact, MarketResearch.com has projected pet health spending will reach $33 billion by 2014 -- positive reinforcement for the company and its investors.

BOOM (Dynamic Materials Corporation)

Rather than manufacture such minor items as fireworks or weapons, this company offers explosion-welded, clad metal plates and specialty welding services for clients involved in the oil and gas, shipbuilding, ground power and aircraft engine industries. Dynamic Materials is where force meets physics.

Founded in the late 1960s, the company's core business revolved around Explosive Metalworking, a proprietary explosive process able to fuse nearly any kind of metal, regardless of composition or type, into complex aerospace equipment parts. As Dynamic Materials grew further, the company expanded into manufacturing charges, detonators, and other tools needed for opening and connecting new oil and gas wells to the surrounding reservoirs.

Unfortunately, the past two years have not been kind to this stock. Riding high at almost $60 in October 2008, the stock hit a dramatic $6 low in March 2009 before finally averaging out in the high teens this year.


CAKE (The Cheesecake Factory)

Classic Americana may claim baseball, mom, and apple pie, but CAKE wins for the most delicious four-letter ticker. Representing all that's good about desserts and then some, The Cheesecake Factory stock ticker elicits a salivating response to its symbol while also paying homage to its unique, homegrown history.

Oscar and Evelyn Overton first began selling and distributing cheesecakes in Detroit, Michigan during the 1940s. In 1972, the Overtons moved to Los Angeles where they opened the first Cheesecake Factory. By 1975, they were baking and selling twenty different types of cheesecakes and desserts to local wholesalers.

It wasn't until 1978 when their son finally founded the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant, a place now famous for generous portions and an inventive menu. Today, there are more than 150 Cheesecake Factory restaurants around the country, all of them working hard to fill empty stomachs and investor pocketbooks.

JO (Barclay's iPath DJ-UBS Coffee)

Why not finish off that slice of delicious CAKE with an equally delicious cup of JO?

Formally known as iPath DJ-UBS Coffee TR Sub-IDX ETN, this exchange-traded note (ETN) plays on the global love of coffee (although a better word might be "obsession"). According to PBS Frontline World, more than 500 billion cups of coffee are served worldwide each year, with the average U.S. coffee consumption pegged at three and a half cups a day, per person. Luckily for the memory-challenged investor, UBS made it even easier to remember by snagging the obvious stock ticker JO. 

The fund's performance hasn't been too bad, either. 

Heavy rainfall from 2010's Caribbean storms pounded Central and South America, resulting in destroyed coffee bean yields and increased coffee futures prices. Yet the world's obsession with good coffee is so great, it casually dismisses the threat of potentially higher coffee prices at the supermarket.

At least for now.
 


BID (Sotheby's)

Simple, elegant, and understated -- who knew these three little letters could convey so much? Granted, after 260 years of practice, a classy demeanor really shouldn't come as a surprise. Founded in 1744 and headquartered in New York City, Sotheby's offers auction, finance, dealer, and wine options for those culturally discerning art and jewelry lovers. For those wanting a place to stash their acquisitions, Sotheby's Realty will discreetly broker a high-end, residential real estate purchase from one of their many property listings worldwide.

The elegantly styled BID did take a strong hit during the wallet-tightening years of 2008-2009, eventually tumbling to a blue-collar low of $7.46. However, the stock has since rebounded to $45.27, proving once again that like cream, class always rises to the top.  

Catchy stock symbols are fun distractions in an otherwise serious business and these five were no exception. However, dedicated investors are reminded that there's still no substitute for solid fundamental research.