Google has released its annual “zeitgeist” report showing what the world was searching for in 2013.
In terms of stocks, Google picked out the 10 biggest trending topics — searches with the largest increase in search volume since last year.
From Twitter’s IPO to “activist investor” ego battles, these 10 companies had some of the biggest market stories of 2013.
Now we know what people are searching for.
Year-to-date return: 810.71%
Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Capital Management recently announced that he and other investors are willing to buy and recapitalize Freddie Mac, the mortgage-backed security seller and government-sponsored entity that gained fame as it crumbled during the financial crisis.
Year-to-date return: 132.39%
Herbalife is 'trending' more because big personalities have been going on TV to talk about it (rather than because of the product itself). 'Activist investors' Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn have squared off over the diet supplement company all year.
Ackman, of Pershing Square, is short and has said the company is a 'pyramid scheme.' Ichan took the other end and went long, and says he's made $US500 million on the bet -- which probably was less about the money and more about one-upping Bill Ackman. George Soros is also long Herbalife. In hedge fund land, and otherwise unknown stock can become the perfect arena for big egos.
Ticker: 'BBB' (not public)
Year-to-date return: NA
The Better Business Bureau is actually a non-profit. It is a highly-searched company because it provides consumers with information about various businesses. We're not really sure why this was in Google's list.
Year-to-date return: -59.31%
The year-to-date return says it all. JC Penney has been in the headlines this year and not for good reasons. Sales fell by double-digits before the bleeding stopped. It also hasn't helped that a bevy of hedge fund managers -- like Kyle Bass and Bill Ackman -- announced they were ditching the stock.
Year-to-date return: -47.10%
BlackBerry has had a rough 2013. The company tried to sell itself earlier this year but backtracked when it couldn't find a good offer and CEO Thorston Heins stepped down. Interim CEO John Chen recently said the company is no longer for sale.
Year-to-date return: 26.08%
Twitter went public in November, and unlike its social media older brother Facebook, had a pretty smooth opening. The stock has done well through the end of the year.
Year-to-date return: 92.18%
Buoyed by an earnings report that showed a spike in mobile advertising revenue, the stock has been on a tear this year and was just added to the Dow Jones S&P 500 Index, the major barometer for the U.S. stock market.