The NFL conference championships will be decided this weekend as the New England Patriots meet the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals square off against the Carolina Panthers.
Any good fan knows that sports teams can have all kinds of different personalities and background stories, and knowing these stories is an important part of picking winners.
Here’s a fun look at which stocks have similar “personalities” to the four NFL playoff teams remaining.
New England Patriots: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)
The Patriots are the defending champs that ignore their critics, always say the right thing and continue to crank out winning season after winning season in the face of their detractors. Not everyone likes the Patriots, but they are currently the closest thing to a dynasty that exists in the NFL. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the leadership combination of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick is a deadly combo on the gridiron.
In terms of a juggernaut on Wall Street, the world’s largest public company, Apple, is the cream of the crop. Apple has had plenty of critics over the years, but the company has continued to crank out one hit product after another on the way to a 754% gain over the past ten years. You can be critical of their methods, but Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have certainly proved to be a winning leadership combination for Apple in the past couple of decades.
Denver Broncos: Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT)
The heart and soul of the Broncos is veteran quarterback Peyton Manning. After 13 seasons in Indianapolis that produced a Super Bowl championship in 2006, Manning attempted to revive his career by transitioning to Denver in 2012. So far, the Broncos have been winning games with Manning, but the change has yet to produce a championship for Denver.
This is a similar situation to the one that Microsoft finds itself in. The company once looked unstoppable as a leader in PC software, but the rise of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL)’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems and the decline of the PC left Microsoft looking for a change in direction. The company’s Azure cloud segment could be the change of direction Microsoft needs, but it’s still too early to tell for sure.
Arizona Cardinals: Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX)
Arizona is an exciting team to watch with an offense that certainly knows how to light up a scoreboard, leading to some high-scoring, wild games. The team also has some wacky (for lack of a better word) characters as well, including Patrick Peterson and the injured Tyrann Mathieu.
Netflix has been lighting up the big board on Wall Street lately, finishing out 2015 as the top-performing stock in the entire S&P 500. The company has also been focusing on developing its own group of characters by investing major money in creating original content like hit series “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.”
Carolina Panthers: McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD)
Prior to drafting quarterback Cam Newton first overall in 2011, Carolina finished the 2010 season with only a 2-14 record, worst in the NFL. It has taken Newton five seasons, but the turnaround story appears to finally be complete. Under Newton’s leadership, the Panthers finished the season with the best record in the NFL this season.
McDonald’s shareholders have also been reaping the rewards of a change in leadership and direction. Steve Easterbrook took over as CEO in March of 2015 and began implementing a radical plan to fix falling sales numbers by focusing the menu more on value. Since then, sales have made a 180-degree turn and the stock has hit new all-time highs.
Of course, investors shouldn’t wait to see who wins the Super Bowl and take that as a sign to rush to buy the corresponding stock in this list. However, knowing the “personality” of a stock and a company’s backstory and identity is certainly an important part of predicting its future success.
Disclosure: the author has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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