As another wild trading week kicks off, what stock market news should you be watching? And more importantly, who should you be watching? InvestorPlace has rounded up five top stock market movers and shakers to help you prep for big moves ahead.
What does this all mean? Well, just as broad enthusiasm for a trend like cannabis stocks or electric vehicles can move the markets, influential individuals also have a lot of power. These people include politicians, CEOs, business icons and even legendary investors.
Get ready for the week below with these five movers and shakers.
Stock Market Move No. 1: r/WallStreetBets
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You really do not need a crystal ball if you are following r/WallStreetBets. Despite controversy, criticism and some seemingly impossible bets, the subreddit is flexing its influence on the stock market this week. That is why the group of Reddit posters undoubtedly deserve to be on this list of stock market movers.
The main reason for all of the interest in r/WallStreetBets is white-hot GameStop (NYSE:GME). Essentially, GameStop has been staging a turnaround for several months under the leadership of Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) founder Ryan Cohen. But even beyond the actual turnaround narrative, social media users are betting on big profits. This week saw one user flaunt $11 million-plus gains in GME stock.
This week also proved that internet communities have more power than ever before. As you will see on this list of stock market movers, r/WallStreetBets ties in to several of the top stories. Looking to the future, the subreddit is also a new beacon of investing ideas. Today, as investors scrambled to find the next GameStop, a variety of tickers found themselves in the spotlight. On the list? Old-school tech names like BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK). Maybe if GameStop can actually turn around, so can these other Reddit stonks.
Market Mover No. 2: Chamath Palihapitiya
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Chamath Palihapitiya is the man behind Social Capital and a former Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) executive. He is also used to making mountains move in the stock market. That is because he truly is a legend in the world of special purpose acquisition companies.
His first deal with Social Capital Hedosophia brought Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) public. Then, he threw his weight behind up-and-coming fields via Opendoor (NASDAQ:OPEN) and Clover Health (NASDAQ:CLOV). Most recently, his fifth blank-check company created waves through its focus on fintech play SoFi.
But what has Palihapitiya done this week? Well, investors should really understand that when Palihapitiya supports a trend or an idea, people listen. He started the week by honing in on new opportunities in real estate and solar stocks. Through social media, he shared that he is investing in Latch and Sunlight via TS Innovations Acquisition (NASDAQ:TSIA) and Spartan Acquisition II (NYSE:SPRQ).
However, a move today is perhaps what has investors most excited about Palihapitiya, and what earns him his spot on this list of stock market movers. After soliciting investment ideas from his social media followers, he shared that he had purchased call options on GameStop with a $115 strike price. This makes Palihapitiya a big-name investor supporting a rather speculative stock. Although GameStop makes up an insignificant portion of his investments, it throws yet another bone to r/WallStreetBets and GME stock fans around the world.
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Stock Market Mover No. 3: Andrew Left
Yes, another name on this list of stock market movers comes back to GameStop. That is because shares of the video game retailer are a perfect illustration of this weird market era. Andrew Left of Citron Research is a perfect illustration of just how powerful this weird market era can be.
Andrew Left is another iconic name in the business. He has influence, and has demonstrated in recent months just how capable he is of taking down a high-flying stock. He also can throw his weight behind a company in a favorable fashion, such as his recent recommendation of Stem (NYSE:STPK) as an alternate energy play.
However, Left has met a real challenge in the r/WallStreetBets crowd. Citron recently shared on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) that it would host a livestream to discuss five reasons GME stock was headed back to $20. The firm ended up delaying the event for Inauguration Day and then later for technical difficulties. Ultimately, Citron canceled citing hacking concerns, choosing instead to provide a pre-recorded list of grievances. Many GameStop bulls saw this as a victory.
What would have happened had that livestream gone on as planned? Would Left have been able to knock GME shares down a peg or two? We may never know, but as Citron Research braces for the new Reddit world, Andrew Left is someone to watch.
Market Mover No. 4: Janet Yellen
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Yesterday, Janet Yellen became the first woman to hold the Treasury Secretary title following an 84-15 vote in the Senate. Following up on her legacy as chair of the Federal Reserve, many investors are wondering what her historic appointment will mean for the stock market.
The short answer is that Yellen may very well not cause any major moves, at least based on her time at the Federal Reserve. Experts say her data-driven approach wins investors over, and she seems focused right now on powering through the economic slump. As part of her confirmation process, Yellen echoed President Joe Biden in saying the U.S. needed robust economic stimulus. With that in mind, we could see stocks continue to chug ahead with a reopening story in mind. More specifically, this means that things like airline and hotel stocks could benefit, as could stocks that benefit from consumer spending.
However, there is one area that Yellen does threaten to disrupt in the stock market. Importantly, Yellen is a long-time critic of Bitcoin (CCC:BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. As Martin Tillier wrote for Nasdaq, Yellen has already said that there is a need for some crypto regulation. Leading up to her confirmation, we did see a drop in BTC prices with her stance in mind. Will Yellen actually destroy the bull case for Bitcoin? Probably not. Tillier also highlighted the challenges in regulating something so fluid as a cryptocurrency, and in the growing institutional support for the crypto space.
Stock Market Mover No. 5: Yasir Al-Rumayyan
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The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, may not be household names. However, a quick look back at the news illustrates just how much influence the sovereign wealth fund and its executives have. Earlier on in the Covid-19 pandemic, the Public Investment Fund led the way with turnaround plays. It disclosed a stake in struggling cruise operator Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and in events operator Live Nation (NYSE:LYV).
Now, Al-Rumayyan shares that the Public Investment Fund has major plans for the future. Today, he joined CNBC to highlight how the fund will grow from $400 billion in assets to $1 trillion in five years. On his agenda is investing $40 billion annually in domestic projects and creating 1.8 million direct and indirect jobs. As part of this, he also made waves when he announced the Public Investment Fund is working on a series of local manufacturing deals.
However, Al-Rumayyan has been most influential this week with regards to Lucid Motors. He confirmed that the Public Investment Fund is in talks with Lucid to build a factor in Jeddah. For those unfamiliar, the fund has a 67% stake in the EV company. Lucid Motors has been in the spotlight as investors hope it will come public via Churchill Capital IV (NYSE:CCIV).
Al-Rumayyan told CNBC that Lucid Motors is considering a variety of alternatives, including coming public through a SPAC or IPO. However, his response and the Future Investment Initiative Institute conference, which launches tomorrow, are inciting hope. Keep a close eye on the Public Investment Fund. Regardless of what happens to CCIV stock, a lot of interesting opportunities are brewing.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer with InvestorPlace.com.