This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Stock Doppelgangers: Proceed With Caution

MILLBURN, N.J. (Stockpickr) -- Your doppelganger is a person who looks just like you. In some cultures, there is lore of the doppelganger being an evil person or a ghost who haunts a living person.

In the world of investing, we also have doppelgangers: companies with names that sound or look alike and are easily confused. Investing in a doppelganger stock has risks -- the most notable of which is that you wind up investing in the wrong stock, which may have a totally different risk profile and investment outlook from the stock you intended to invest in. You might wind up compounding your mistake by having to unwind the wrong transaction. By that time, the investment or trade opportunity may have dissipated.

>>Also: 7 Stocks to Buy for a Santa Claus Rally

Of course, there are ways to avoid such doppelganger investments. The first is to make sure that you equate the company you desire to invest in with the correct stock symbol. Furthermore, check to see that the company description and industry classification match those of your intended stock investment. For example, if you intend to buy a tech stock but actually bought a retailer, you have a problem. Also, dividends may provide a clue in differentiating a target stock from its doppelganger.

So let's look at some common investing doppelganger pairs.

The first one that comes to mind is Cisco (CSCO) and Sysco (SYY). Cisco is a technology company that makes networking, security, telecommunications and video set-top box equipment. Sysco is a food service company that supplies prepared, fresh and frozen food as well as supplies to restaurants, hotels, medical facilities and educational institutions.

>>Also: 10 Best Black Friday Tech Deals

You could not get two companies more at polar opposites than Cisco and Sysco. Cisco is a growth technology company that up until a recent announcement has never paid a dividend to shareholders. Sysco is a company that vends consumer staples and pays a dividend of 3.5%, a payout that I would note is above the market average. However, the two stocks are pronounced the same way, and each has a five-letter name with three identical letters at the end.

>>Also: 10 Stocks for the Next Decade

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,001.22 -38.27 -0.22%
S&P 500 1,988.40 -3.97 -0.20%
NASDAQ 4,538.5510 +6.4470 0.14%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs