Thanks to the boom in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the past several years, there are more investment options available than ever before. ETFs allow investors to bet on, or against, virtually everything, including entire indexes, specific market sectors, commodities, and much more.
Now, there are reports that Market Prophit, a company that collects and analyzes social media data to look for trends, is looking for an adviser to help it launch a social media-oriented ETF. Here is what investors need to know about this new and exciting development.
Taking Crowdsourcing to the Next Level
Crowdsourcing is one of the biggest trends to hit the Internet in the past decade. This phenomenon involves collecting information and opinions from large groups of people and making those opinions easily accessible to everyone.
There is more information available about stock market investing than ever before, and crowdsourcing that data from social media is a convenient and easy way for anyone to view public sentiment.
In this case, Market Prophit aims to track stocks, instead of individuals. Market Prophit created its Social Media Sentiment Index in May. The index tracks tweets that use a “cash tag,” instead of the traditional hashtag that Twitter (TWTR) is known for.
Based on daily tweeting trends, this future ETF will hold either long or short positions, depending on the prevailing group sentiment. Market capitalization and sentiment risk will determine how long each position is held by the fund. For investors who believe in the wisdom of crowds, this ETF could be worth looking into. However, there are also risks that investors should consider.
What Investors Should Consider before Buying
The Twitter-based ETF could be a great way for investors to see which trends and stocks are popular with large groups of people. This could provide an edge and produce significant returns as it would allow an investor to get in early on trends before those trends are abundantly known by the larger population. Essentially, the ETF capitalizes on sentiment and emotion rather than on fundamentals. This could allow investors an advantage over fundamental investors who have to wait for a company’s quarterly earnings results to see how that company is performing.
On the other hand, whether the concept works in real time, is less certain. Some finance professionals urge investors not to follow the crowd, believing that a ‘follow-the-herd’ mentality will not produce superior investment returns.
The Bottom Line
There are already ETFs that track social media stocks. Now, there is potential for an ETF that captures social media sentiment. The ETF would hold about 25 of the most actively tweeted stocks, and would analyze daily tweets using an algorithm to determine long or short positions. This is truly a breakthrough product and an innovation in the ETF industry.
Investors should consider the risks of investing, and whether they are comfortable turning over their investments to public sentiment. But the potential Twitter ETF has the chance to capitalize on the crowdsourcing of investment ideas, which is a forceful trend in personal finance.