Ethan Allen is changing its ETH stock ticker to avoid confusion with Ethereum

ETH is up for grabs on NYSE.
ETH is up for grabs on NYSE.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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Ethan Allen Interiors, the American furniture retailer, is changing its stock ticker to avoid confusion with ether, the crypto asset used to pay transactions fees on the ethereum computing platform.

The company’s trading symbol will switch from ETH to ETD on the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 16. “This change will better differentiate Ethan Allen news from Ethereum news in search results, as Ethereum is often abbreviated as ETH,” said Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari in a statement announcing the switch. The “D” in the new ticker, he said, is for “design.”

Being confused with a digital asset isn’t always negative, at least in the short run. While shares of Danbury, Connecticut-based Ethan Allen have risen 80% during the past 12 months, ether has rocketed around 500% during that span.

Companies have had a long history of modifying their names to glom onto the latest investment craze, even when their actual operations had little to do with the re-brand. Back in the 1990s, companies were prone to tacking a “.com” onto their name to ride the internet boom. More recently, executives have done the same thing to capitalize on interest in marijuana stocks and crypto assets.

By changing its ticker from ETH to ETD, Ethan Allen appears to be going the other direction. After all, institutional investors may enjoy the sugar high that comes from a rush of retail investors mixing up Ethan Allen with the second-most-valuable digital token. But they probably don’t love the volatility that comes along as the confusion is sorted out.

In the meantime, one big question remains: Who is going to claim the ETH ticker?