Wednesday, June 6, 2001

What’s in a
ticker symbol?

WHEN Akamai Technologies Inc. burst on the scene there were many questions about any Hawaii connection, because the word in Hawaiian means, "smart," or "expert." Its Hawaii connection is in name only.

TheBuzz just stumbled on a stock traded under the symbol TARO -- so naturally the Hawaii connection, if any, had to be explored.

Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. was founded in Israel in 1950, and it gets its name from the Hebrew word "taasiya" which means "industry," and "rokchit," which means "pharmaceutical." The company name is taken from the first syllable of each word.

Not a hint of poi or Hawaiian salt.

Because "inquiring minds want to know," further study was required to find any Hawaii connection behind stock market ticker symbols which may represent local or Hawaiian words. Between the Yahoo Finance "symbol lookup" and the Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary the roll was under way.

Local companies such as Hawaiian Airlines Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. trade under symbols that could be construed as Hawaiian words.

Hawaiian Air's "HA" for instance, has many definitions, from the literal "four" to the spiritual "life."

HEI's "HE" on the other hand is either an indefinite article or with a kahako over the "e" means "grave."

AALA, as in "park" or "street," is also the trading symbol for AmerAlia Inc. of Kenilworth, Ill., which is "attempting to establish a chemical business," according to the company profile on Yahoo.

There's an HI, which is the ticker symbol for Household International Inc. Its subsidiaries provide middle-market consumers with loan products. No local connection there.

However, the ticker symbol MAUI belongs to HawaiiLove. com Inc., which is traded over the counter. The company's Web site provides information on Hawaii where a client can plan weddings or vacations. The company was formerly headquartered in Mission Viejo, Calif. However, a company shakeup at the end of May moved the headquarters to Florida.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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