Average people looking to successful investors and entrepreneurs for market advice is hardly new. Plenty of folks swear by Warren Buffett’s legendary market advice, and other personalities like Suze Orman and Jim Cramer also draw hundreds of thousands of eyeballs every for every proclamation.
But social media has given rise to a new version of this phenomenon. Some, like Musk, are titans of industry themselves. Others are fund managers, venture capitalists or even media personalities.
Here’s a look at some of the new generation of stock market influencers.
The “Gamestonk” tweet wasn’t the first time that Musk made waves in the financial world with his Twitter account. He was sued by the SEC in 2018 over musing on Twitter about taking Tesla private, and eventually reached a deal with the regulator the following year. Tesla stock has risen and fallen according to Musk’s tweets.
And his public interest with Bitcoin has also driven the value of that cryptocurrency higher.
Musk has legions of devoted followers who are more than happy to follow their billionaire guru’s advice on anything finance-related. And that seems unlikely to change.
Canadian-American venture capitalist and Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya has 1.4 million Twitter followers and regularly shares his thoughts about what’s happening on the markets.
When GameStop blew up, Palihapitiya tweeted in solidarity with the Redditors who drove GME’s stock skywards, praising them for their “insane, crazy, baller” move.
He also asked his millions of followers in January what company he should “throw a few 100 k’s at,” and bought $125,000 in GameStop call options. He closed his position the following day and donated the profits.
In the following days, Palihapitiya blasted the trading app Robinhood on social media and talked up another company instead, Social Finance.
SoFi was about to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), often called a “blank check company,” a publicly traded firm that exists for the purpose of merging with or buying another company.
Shares in the SPAC merging with SoFi saw double-digit gains in the days following Palihapitiya’s social media attacks on Robinhood.
Cathie Wood of ARK Invest is quickly developing a following as one of the most influential “stock pickers” out there, earning comparisons to Warren Buffet.
Wood’s fund is so successful and popular that it’s inspired a line of apparel.
Wood praised companies like Musk’s Tesla for buying Bitcoin as a hedge and is a longtime fan of the electric-car company.
She recently predicted that Tesla would hit $3,000 a share by 2025, and that price target immediately caused a 6% rise in the company’s stock.
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Since the start of the pandemic, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has shifted from talking about sports to his 2.4 million Twitter followers to discussing the stock market.
His Twitter feed these days tends to focus on his trading, which he often streams live to his millions of fans.
Portnoy has pushed everything from sports gambling businesses to cannabis stocks to his legions of followers. He also invested $700,000 in AMC, but later tweeted that he’d sold all of his “meme stocks” and was down $700,000.
How to get in on the action
With low-commission apps anyone can become an investor these days.
If you’re interested in trading stocks but would rather not have to monitor the ups and downs of the market every day, apps like Acorns will automatically invest your spare change into a balanced portfolio designed to grow slowly and steadily.
And if you’re interested in getting ahead of the curve instead of following the advice of others, consider an alternative investment in an asset like farmland.
You don’t have to follow Elon Musk or pick the same stocks as Cathie Wood. But you also definitely can if you want to.
Fine art as an investment
Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.
That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.
Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.
And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.
On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.
Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.
Investing in art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol used to be an option only for the ultrarich. But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks just like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do.