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It turns out a company's reputation — good or bad — doesn't make much difference in the stock market.

The big picture: Results from the Axios Harris Poll 100, a new partnership between Axios and Harris Poll, found little difference between the performance of shares for the 10 companies that had gotten the biggest ranking improvements and those with the biggest ranking declines.

Expand chart
Data: The Axios Harris Poll 100; Chart: Axios Visuals
  • In fact, the basket of 10 public companies that saw the largest ratings declines marginally outperformed the basket of 10 public companies with the largest ratings improvements in 2018 (-4.9% vs -5.6%).

What they're saying: "Shareholders care about reputation, only in regards to return," Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners, tells Axios.

  • Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema agrees, but says that in 20 years of the poll he's seen these things catch up with companies.
  • "In any given year we don't expect to see financial performance and reputation move in lockstep because shareholder value is often not correlated with the public interest. So many companies — even sectors like FAANG — can take reputational hits and still grow, at least in the short term. But over time, they risk losing market value by not being aligned with changing societal tastes."

Go deeper: America's least favorite company is the U.S. government

Methodology: The Axios Harris Poll 100 survey was conducted November through January in a nationally representative sample. One group, 6,118 U.S. adults, was asked to identify the two companies they believe have the best and worst reputations. Then, the 100 “most visible companies” were ranked by a second group of 18,228 adults across key dimensions of corporate reputation attributes.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
25 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.