Dave Portnoy-backed Buzz ETF adds GameStop, Palantir, and Chewy in monthly rebalancing

GameStop store New York City January 2021.JPG

The Van Eck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF (BUZZ) added 21 stocks to its holdings and dropped 21 others in its monthly rebalancing on Thursday.

Big-name additions included GameStop, Palantir, Ryan Cohen’s Chewy, Rocket Companies, Nike, Visa, and Starbucks.

Top stocks dropped from the ETF included Nikola, Fastly, Etsy, Dropbox, and Twilio.

The BUZZ ETF, famously backed by Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy, tracks the performance of 75 large-cap US stocks that exhibit the most positive investor sentiment on online sources like social media, news articles, and blog posts.

The ETF’s top holdings, representing more than 15% of total net assets, include big tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Square, Nvidia, and Tesla.

“The April rebalance is one of the more active in recent months,” said Jamie Wise, the founder of Buzz Indexes. “The sentiment shifts are notable and diverse, reflective of the heightened level of investor discussion across social platforms.”

GameStop recently met eligibility requirements for the ETF by hitting a $5 billion market cap.

Read more: BTIG identifies 14 beaten-down stocks poised to dominate the market this earnings season and extend their track record of crushing expectations

Van Eck has made it clear in interviews that its ETF is not just a place for “meme stocks,” but this month’s rebalancing showed that multiple top Reddit trader favorites made the cut.

GameStop, Rocket Companies, Palantir, and Chewy have all been popular on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets platform at one time or another.

The Buzz ETF, launched on March 2, now boasts over $400 million in total net assets. However, performance has lagged behind the S&P 500: Total returns are negative 3.4% over the lifetime of the exchange-traded fund.

The social-sentiment ETF has had plenty of competition since going public. It’s one of about 100 ETFs that have made public debuts in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg – the most public debuts by ETFs in over a decade.

Here’s the full list of the ETF’s April additions and departures:

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Social-media sentiment ETF backed by Dave Portnoy scores $280 million in inflows on first day of trading

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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy visits the Nasdaq on February 27, 2020 after Penn National Gaming purchased a stake in the media company valuing it at $450 million.


The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF fell 4% in its first day of trading on Thursday, but that didn’t stop investors from piling into the fund.

According to data from Bloomberg, the ETF, which trades under the ticker symbol “BUZZ” and is backed by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, saw $280 million in fund inflows on Thursday. That’s a stark comparison to the first iteration of the ETF, which launched in 2016 but shut down three years later due to its inability to attract assets.

It’s been a perfect storm for the ETF to be relaunched this year, following a surge in new retail investors amid the pandemic and the outsized influence of Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum on so-called meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment. 

The ETF aims to capitalize on the growing use of online platforms as a sounding board for trade ideas. The fund tracks an index that scrubs websites like Reddit, StockTwits, and Twitter to determine which stocks are garnering the most positive sentiment online. Holdings are then weighted accordingly.

With thousands of ETFs to choose from, and hundreds of new ETFs launching every year, it’s tough competition to attract new assets, especially for a specialty ETF that is not tied to a passive index. But the BUZZ ETF did just that.

According to Bloomberg, the first day of inflows for the ETF “probably ranks it among the 12 best debuts on record.”

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 40 heavily shorted stocks could be the next GameStop if retail traders target them – and the group has already nearly doubled over the past 3 months

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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy just released a video backing a new ETF designed to track Reddit-driven social-media buzz

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  • A new ETF designed to track social-media sentiment on platforms like Reddit and Twitter is launching on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the ticker “BUZZ.”
  • Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy posted a video on Twitter promoting the ETF on Tuesday.
  • “There is a new ETF launching that I’m a part of, that I’m putting my reputation behind,” Portnoy said in the video.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy promoted a new exchange-traded-fund that is set to launch on the New York Stock Exchange this Thursday.

The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF tracks social media sentiment on various platforms like Reddit, StockTwits, and Twitter to fuel its holdings. The ETF will trade under the ticker symbol “BUZZ.”

“There is a new ETF launching that I’m a part of, that I’m putting my reputation behind,” Portnoy explained in the video. Portnoy added that he was “approached by these guys who built an algorithm” that “lingered” and “did its thing” for a number of years.

That algorithm is the BUZZ NextGen AI US Sentiment Leaders Index developed by Periscope Capital in 2015.

But after COVID-19, “the amount of chatter on the internet about stocks exploded,” Portnoy said, adding that he was approached after Penn National Gaming, a casino company that Portnoy partnered with to launch its online sports betting app, “showed up in their ranking.”  

The ETF utilizes alternative data about stocks scraped from social media posts, news articles, and blog posts that are then filtered through an analytical system that helps determines whether the sentiment in either positive or negative. From their, the top ranked 75 US stocks with a market capitalization of more than $5 billion are included in the ETF, which is rebalanced monthly.

“BUZZ empowers individual investors to potentially benefit from the predictive insights gained by measuring the collective convictions about stocks, ultimately building the benchmark for social sentiment,” VanEck managing director Ed Lopez said in a press release. 

In an emailed statement to Insider, VanEck added: “David Portnoy is a shareholder of BUZZ Holdings, ULC, the parent company of the BUZZ NextGen AI US Sentiment Leaders Index. He represents the Index and has no affiliation with VanEck. He does not provide investment advice on behalf of VanEck. There is no affiliation with VanEck and Barstool Sports.”

From criticizing Warren Buffett’s decision to sell airline stocks amid the pandemic, to his recent interview with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, Portnoy continues to make waves in the investment world as he periodically broadcasts to his millions of followers the moves he is making in the stock market. 

A similar social media insight ETF from Sprott Asset Management that was based on a different social media sentiment index launched in 2016, but closed three years later after failing to attract enough assets.

The environment for a social media ETF may be better today than it was then, after millions of new investors flooded the stock market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and following the outsized influence of forums like Reddit’s WallStreetBets, which helped sparked an epic short-squeeze in shares of GameStop earlier this year. 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 40 heavily shorted stocks could be the next GameStop if retail traders target them – and the group has already nearly doubled over the past 3 months

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