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In January, 2021, retail investors - Robinhood army - came together on Reddit's Wall Street Bets group and other social media outlets to take down prominent hedge funds by causing a short squeeze and pushing up GameStop's stock price by 400% in just one week¹. This amount of volatility is not normal, the retail investors were urged on by the Reddit group to punish hedge funds that had taken an outsized short bet against GameStop. Tracking market sentiment can be a powerful tool for investors because understanding the mood of where the market is going can allow one to capitalize from the changing direction. Combining market sentiment with market fundamental will result in more sound investments. I was fascinated by the showdown between Wall Street and Reddit and inspired to understand how machine learning (ML) can be used to track market sentiment.
A January survey from online travel company trivago showed 38% of Americans would give up sex for a year to travel right now. The other 62% appear to be actively hunting for love online. On Tuesday online dating company Match Group showed the quest for chemistry was a very popular New Year's resolution after many months of solitary confinement. The first quarter looked good from all angles, with revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization both coming in above Wall Street's expectations. Match's revenue forecast for the second quarter was also better than analysts had expected, though the company did say it will lean into its recent momentum and increase marketing spending relative to the same period last year, weighing slightly on its bottom line.
Alphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm "in the near future". The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called "Faang" tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that's the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico. "It's such a phenomenally large number that it's difficult for most of us even to quantify the value," said Paul Lee, the global head of technology research at Deloitte.
Uber has unveiled the terms of a hotly anticipated stock market float which it hopes will value the ride-hailing service at more than $91bn (£70bn). While the target is $10bn less than some bankers suggested the 10-year-old firm might be worth, the valuation is more than double the value of the 116-year-old carmaker Ford and would be the largest float by a US tech company since Facebook's in 2012. Its Wall Street debut will gauge investors' excitement about the prospects of a company that has expanded rapidly from taxi services into food delivery and is now investing billions in developing driverless cars. If it hits the mark, Uber will raise around $9bn in new funds and some early investors will make big profits. Despite the scale of ts ambition, Uber lost $1.8bn last year even while its revenues surged by more than 40% to $11.3bn.