‘Bond King’ Jeffrey Gundlach says the day-trading boom is ‘downright terrifying’ | Markets Insider

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital LP, presents during the 2019 Sohn Investment Conference in New York

  • The so-called “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach said in a webcast Tuesday retail investor activity is “downright terrifying.”
  • While stimulus has helped many survive the pandemic, it has provided other amateur investors capital to invest in stock markets. 
  • Online trading platform Robinhood has added more than 3 million accounts in 2020. 
  • Day-traders have piled into several worthless stocks such as Hertz and JCPenney despite the risks. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hedge fund billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach is sounding the alarm on a “downright terrifying” boom in day-trading and retail investor activity.

The so-called “bond king” and founder of DoubleLine Capital, was quoted by CNBC in a webcast Tuesday as saying: “of course, retail investor activity is downright terrifying.”

He said an increase in trades-per-account on online brokerage platforms was worrying. “We just see how much trading is going on in retail,” Gundlach said. 

Online platform Robinhood has taken the day-trading frenzy by storm, having booked 4.31 million daily average revenues trades in June alone, more than double the first quarter, a company spokesperson told Business Insider. 

Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers, Etrade and TD Ameritrade all surged in popularity in recent months. Robinhood has added more than 3 million accounts in 2020 so far. 

Gundlach said the government’s stimulus measures have aided a rise in day-trading. While the measures helped many struggling Americans ride out the pandemic, for others it provided a dangerous route to the stock market, he said. 

Gundlach said amateur investors are like strangers offering candy to kids. 

“It looks like people are kind of re-gifting the candy the con has given them … they are throwing that candy into this retail investment fervor,” he said. 

He added: “This is a terrible sign for the condition of the market for anybody who’s experienced a significant number of cycles, which I’ve definitely experienced.”

Read more: 4 experts break down the drivers behind the sudden plunge in tech stocks that’s dragging the entire market lower – and share their best recommendations for what investors should do as the election approaches

Over the last year in particular, amateur traders have piled into anything from big blue-chip stocks, to those of bankrupt car rental company Hertz, as well as into several other near-worthless stocks such as retailer JCPenney in recent months.

Day-traders have sought to profit from a swathe of stock-price crashes in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with punters, both seasoned and rookies, looking for new means of capital and also entertainment, when major-league sports were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Read more: Fred Stanske uses the insights of Nobel winner Richard Thaler, the ‘father of behavioral finance,’ to beat the market with under-the-radar stocks. Here’s how he does it – and 2 picks he’s buying for long-term gains.

Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, became the poster-child of the surge in day-trading that has helped push markets to record highs in recent months. 

The S&P 500 is trading at a one-month low after a three-day sell-off but is still up around 50% since touching multi-year lows of 2237.40 in March. 

The index’s gains come even after a sell-off on Wall Street last Thursday that led all major US indices to close lower for three consecutive sessions by Tuesday. US markets were closed on Monday for Labor Day. 

Gundlach shot to fame through some of the calls he made on the US fixed-income market, earning himself the nickname “the bond king”.

He predicted the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 calling it an “unmitigated disaster” before the financial crisis hit. His DoubleLine Core Fixed Income delivered a return of almost 8% in 2019.  

Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, warned at the start of the month retail investors could drown in. a sea of selling if a correction took place.

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