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The Beauty Test: Do Stocks With Attractive CEOs Do Better?


A new study is showing that stocks perform disproportionately well when they have a good-looking CEO.

While it's not unusual to see the CEOs of major companies grace the covers of major magazines like Forbes and Fortune, it's a little atypical to see them on the cover of a fashion magazine like Vogue.

But then again, most CEOs don't pose for photographs like Marissa Mayer.

Turns out, while there's obviously more to being a CEO than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking, turns out it doesn't hurt either. A new study from the University of Wisconsin plugged head shots of over 600 CEOs into a facial analysis website, Anaface, and then cross-referenced the scores with the company's stock performance.

They discovered that there was a very clear link between companies that performed well, and ones whose CEOs performed well on the beauty test. The theory is supported by other research which holds that attractive people have heightened confidence and negotiating skills.

A hot CEO is seen as adding significant shareholder value, perhaps because they get better deals when negotiating over mergers and acquisitions.

Investing Ideas

For our screen, we decided to consider this rather unconventional metric. We analyzed stocks using CEO attractiveness as a valuation metric. Starting with a list of all the publicly traded companies with executives who made Business Insider's 50 Sexiest CEOs Alive list, we then narrowed down the screen to look at the top performers.

Based on year-end results, we were left with the five top-performing stocks with a hot CEO.

Click on the interactive chart to view analyst ratings over time.

Are hot CEOs worth the premium that companies might pay for a pretty face? Use the list below to begin your own analysis.

1. Mylan, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYL): Engages in the development, manufacture, marketing, licensing, and distribution of generic and branded generic pharmaceuticals, specialty pharmaceuticals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) worldwide. Market cap at $17.26 billion, most recent closing price at $44.73.

CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of a Senator and runs the self-described "largest genetics and specialty pharmaceuticals" company in the world. It's all in the genes.

2. Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE): Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional, and industrial markets worldwide. Market cap at $18.77 billion, most recent closing price at $18.25.

Sony's relatively new CEO Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai took the top job at the technology giant in 2012, and recently announced that he would be steering the company in the direction of "device integration" in 2014. He also looks like he's about a full decade younger than his actual age of 53. Sony's stock is up 59% for the year.

3. Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA): Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. Market cap at $18.06 billion, most recent closing price at $151.28.

Tesla's stock is one of the top performers for the year, up over 300% – but that still left CEO Elon Musk with time to pursue side projects like the Hyper-Loop and his Space-X program. He also has eyes that will look straight into your soul.

4. Yelp, Inc. (NYSE:YELP): Operates, an online urban city guide that helps people find places to eat, shop, drink, relax, and play based on the informed opinions of a community of locals in the know. Market cap at $5.19 billion, most recent closing price at $78.42.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman looks like he could still be in graduate school. But he also got an early start, trading stocks when he was only 14. Though he's not yet 40, he's still rich enough to work for Yelp without a salary. Jealous? Yes. Yelp stock is up more than 250% for the year.

5. Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO): A technology company that provides search, content, and communication tools on the Web and on mobile devices worldwide. Market cap at $41.50 billion, most recent closing price at $41.02.

A lot of people think Marissa Mayer will be the one who turns this tech giant around. She's slimmed the company down, focused on mobile, and added huge value to the company through acquisitions in Asia. Yahoo's stock is up 116% for the year. She also happens to look like this.

Editor's note: This story by James Dennin originally appeared on Kapitall.

Kapitall's lists break complex concepts down to their basics, offering education and investing ideas to novices that double as a refresher course for more seasoned investors. Inspired by video game design, Kapitall's revolutionary brokerage platform combines a graphical user interface with tools that make it easy to build portfolios, share ideas and execute trades.

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