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.

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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.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.