The Rise of Retail
The rise of retail investing was one of the biggest stories of 2020 and continues to be in the new year with the gamification of investing. Platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and Commonstock have played a role in disseminating information and as a rallying point for consumer interest. Stock volumes were massively higher in 2020, and the trend has gone parabolic in 2021 - as Bob Pisani of CNBC cites data from Piper Sandler, January 2021 volumes are up 92% year-over-year. The growth is coming from retail, as the pandemic transforms investing into a national pastime.
Whether it's here to stay or not, consumers have become a more significant part of the market. A fascinating second-order effect has been the pickup in public conversation from institutional investors such as Philippe Laffont, Dan Loeb, and Chamath Palihapitiya. In case they needed more reason to cozy up to retail, short sellers were nailed today by trading in GameStop, which squeezed higher following a short-seller report. It's better to have retail on your side, and the institutional investors know it.
Will the influx of retail investing be here to stay? I hope so. While the markets are at heights never seen before as our country faces immense challenges, there's a lack of gravity, and joyfulness that I cannot recall ever being so present in financial markets. The crowd is getting what it demands - or is left waiting :) In case you missed it, Chamath sent a tweet on Thursday, stating a PIPE would be announced "tomorrow before market open." Friday came and passed with no announcement, but even that was part of the fun.
Have a great weekend.