Why do some stocks get more attention than others?
Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX: REF.UN) contains a diversified real estate portfolio, a low payout ratio and a stellar track record of increasing distributions. Yet, why does it receive less publicity than Calloway REIT which relies primarily on one tenant (albeit a great one in Walmart) and has a high payout ratio?
This is a question that puzzles me. Why do some stocks receive so much more attention than their industry counterparts? In some cases these wall-flower stocks could simply be worse companies than its peers but there may be some other reasons why certain stocks get more attention than others.
- Some companies simply play the game better. They may have better investment relations/marketing departments, have better media contacts or recruit from the ranks of financial analysts, making it easier to access the street. Alternatively, they may be more accessible to financial analysts and the media. For example, Husky Energy has a reputation of being press shy and it tends to receive a lot less coverage as a result.
- The company is sexy. Apple receives an inordinate amount of publicity. Their CEO is a larger than life person, they make sleek products and they play the game well (their product unveiling are well orchestrated media events). Yet, despite the cool factor of Apple, Nokia continues to be the largest cellphone maker globally and Research in Motion, makers of Blackberry, hold the largest market share in smart phones. But who wants to interview some boring old Fins and Canadians when you can interview Steve Jobs?
- There simply is not a lot of analyst coverage in the sector. Financial analysts and researchers tend to cover sectors with a lot of trading activity (financial institutions), lots of IPO’s relative to other industries (tech) and lots of transactions (oil & gas). They tend to be more under-staffed in boring industries (utilities) or without a lot of relative trading activity (sin stocks). Less analysts = less research = less coverage.
These are three factors I can think of off-hand. Anyone care to add?
For the average investor, investing is much like the high school dating scene. The real catches in the dating pool may not be the flashiest one, the loudest one or the most good looking one. Popularity does not necessarily equal quality. If you are an active investor, in the age of constant media buzz and attention, it is important to keep in mind that research should always trump media attention.Disclosure: I hold Canadian REIT.