Elon Musk says Tesla sold 10% of its bitcoin to show it’s a good alternative to cash – but he isn’t selling his personal holding

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Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

Tesla chief Elon Musk said on Tuesday the electric vehicle maker sold 10% of its bitcoin holdings to prove it’s a good substitute for cash.

He was responding to comments from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, who questioned whether Tesla had profited from a bitcoin pump-and-dump scheme – a practice that encourages investors to boost the price of an asset based on exaggerated statements.

Tesla disclosed on Monday that it cashed out $272 million worth of digital assets in the first quarter of 2021, making more than $100 million in profits from the sale. The automaker’s first-quarter earnings showed continued profitability, as revenue rose 74% compared to the same period of 2020.

After the earnings report, Portnoy tweeted: “So am I understanding this correctly? @elonmusk buys #bitcoin. Then he pumps it. It goes up. Then he dumps it and make a fortune. Listen I own 1 #Bitcoin but #bitcoin is exactly who we thought it was. Just don’t be last 1 #HODLing the bag.”

Musk rejected his opinion, responding with: “No, you do not. I have not sold any of my bitcoin. Tesla sold 10% of its holdings essentially to prove liquidity of bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet.”

Portnoy said earlier this year he would never buy bitcoin, but has now changed his stance and calls himself a “true believer” in the cryptocurrency.

On an earnings call with investors and analysts, Tesla’s chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn said the company plans to continue adding bitcoin to its balance sheet from vehicle sales.

Registering a $101 million gain from selling 10% of its bitcoin holdings over the quarter accounts for $0.25 per share of the $0.93 per share reported earnings, Deutsche Bank strategists said. Meanwhile, topping Wall Street estimates qualifies Musk for two options payouts worth a combined $11 billion, according to Reuters.

Musk himself has not been open about how much bitcoin he personally owns, but his latest tweet seems to suggest he’s not planning to sell it.

Bitcoin rose above $54,500 on Tuesday, rising 16% from a low of around $47,200 last week. Tesla shares fell 2.5% in pre-market trading, as some analysts said simply meeting Wall Street expectations was rather underwhelming.

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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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Penn National Gaming hits record high, extending one week gain to 31% ahead of S&P 500 inclusion

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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.

  • Penn National Gaming jumped to an all-time high of $142 ahead of its inclusion in the S&P 500 next week.
  • The Barstool Sports stakeholder has rallied over 20% in the last five days.
  • Barstool founder Dave Portnoy tweeted “a lot of people” have told him he’s now “the king of the S&P 500.”
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Penn National Gaming jumped to an all time-high of $142 a share on Monday, recording a 31% gain since the stock’s closing price on March 5 as investors cheered its inclusion in the S&P 500.

On Friday S&P Dow Jones Indices announced it will add Penn National Gaming into the S&P 500 benchmark index on March 22. Penn was previously in the S&P 400 MidCap index.

The company acquired a 36% stake in Barstool sports in January 2020, and Barstool founder Dave Portnoy says he owns “a ton of Penn Stock,” in his twitter bio.

“They tell me the S&P 500 are the 500 most American, most dominant, most influential, most spectacular companies in the universe,” Portnoy said in a video he tweeted Monday morning. “I am now- a lot of people saying, their words not mine-the king of the S&P 500, hence, the king of America.”

Penn has gained almost 3,000% since its intraday low of $3.75 on March 18 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a sign that investors are betting big on the rebound of sports betting and casinos. Casino company peer Caesars Entertainment is also being added to the S&P 500, along with Generac Holdings, a power generator manufacturer.

Penn, Generac Holdings, and Caesars Entertainment will replace SL Green Realty , Xerox Holdings, and Vontier, which will move to the S&P MidCap 400.

Shares of Penn National Gaming pared gains after the Monday morning spike and are currently hovering around $134.

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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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Robinhood users are revolting against the trading app after it stopped trades of GameStop

Vlad Tenev, co-founder and co-CEO of investing app Robinhood.
Vlad Tenev, co-founder and co-CEO of investing app Robinhood.

  • Robinhood users are furious after the app stopped allowing users to buy GameStop stock on Thursday morning.
  • The stock trading app was flooded with one-star reviews on the Google Play store, lowering its user rating.
  • Big names like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Cuban, and Dave Portnoy all publicly criticized the company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Robinhood users are coming for the trading app’s head.

Robinhood stopped allowing users to buy GameStop on Thursday morning, only allowing users to sell, following a weeks of huge gains – from being below $5 in late 2020 to over $450 per share on Thursday morning.

Users of the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets encouraged each other to bid up GameStop’s stock price, thus causing a short squeeze on the hedge funds betting against GameStop’s stock value. As a result, those short-sellers lost more than $1 billion in a single day while the company’s stock value shot up by hundreds of dollars per share.

On Thursday morning, citing “significant market volatility,” Robinhood cut off users from trading GameStop stock (and a handful of other companies).

That decision caused a massive outcry on social media.

“Robinhood has disabled trading in $AMC $GME $NOK etc, proving that the ‘little guy’ was never allowed to win in a ‘free market’,” popular newsletter writer Joe Pompliano said in a tweet. “What a joke.”

The Robinhood app listing received an influx of one star reviews on the Google Play store, causing the app to average the lowest rating. 

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Robinhood received an influx of one star reviews on the Google Play store.

And members of r/WallStreetBets threatened to file a class action lawsuit against Robinhood for market manipulation.

“Allowing people to only sell is the definition of market manipulation,” one post on r/WallStreetBets read. “A class action must be started, Robinhood has made plenty of money off selling info about our trades to the hedge funds to be able to pay out a little for causing people to lose money now.”

Robinhood, founded in 2013 by Stanford graduates Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, allows users to trade stocks without commission. “We’re proud to have created a platform that has helped everyday people, from all backgrounds, shape their financial futures and invest for the long term,” the firm said in a blog post.

Instead of taking commissions on stock trades, the company says it earns revenue through a variety of other means, from financial services to a membership program (“Robinhood Gold”).

Read more: How hedge funds are tracking Reddit posts to protect their portfolios after the Wall Street Bets crowd helped tank Melvin Capital’s short positions

Users aren’t the only ones criticizing Robinhood publicly.

Billionaire Mark Cuban questioned why Robinhood restricted trading, tweeting: “So are @robinhoodapp and @IBKR ending trading in #wallstreetbets stocks because they are losing their a** on these trades? Or maybe they don’t have the cash to enable the trades at this scale? Anyone have any insight on their economics?”

Barstool Sports, along with the blog’s founder Dave Portnoy, declared “war” on Robinhood.

“You are scam artists,” Portnoy tweeted in response to Robinhood’s announcement on restricting trading. “You are crooks. You deserve to be behind bars and you know it.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Robinhood’s action “unacceptable,” and called for “a hearing if necessary” to determine why the company chose to “block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit.”

Sen. Ted Cruz seconded Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet. “Fully agree,” he said.

Detroit-based CEO and philanthropist Bill Pulte weighed in as well. 

“This is what you call rich people trying to confuse you with fancy words,” he tweeted in response to Robinhood’s statement on why it’s restricting stock trades of GameStop.

Robinhood representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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