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Bank stock declines can be attributed to 'crowd psychology' phenomena amid bank crisis: Matt Kohrs

YouTube Host Matt Kohrs joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss economic headwinds, the debt ceiling, the recession, the retail mindset, the banking crisis, meme stocks, and individual investing opportunities on Robinhood.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, fears of an economic recession and debt default, that Rick was just talking about, have done little to scare retail investors, at least until now. Individual investors bought roughly $78 billion in equities and ETFs last quarter, a near record according to data out there. But are the jitters starting to creep in?

Let's bring in Matt Kohrs, YouTube host. And, Matt, we like to have you on. You've always got a good pulse of the retail mindset. What is the mindset right now with all of those headwinds we've talked about?


MATT KOHRS: Definitely a fair amount of headwinds. But I think the major mindset right here, it might not seem that intuitive, but I would argue that this is a phenomenal learning opportunity. I truly believe it because a lot of the retail explosion came in 2021, so it was very specific to individual stocks. But now that the conversation is dominated by things such as the debt limit and what's going on with inflation, I actually think this has been a huge expanse in knowledge in the retail trading community.

- Matt, Diane here. I want to ask you a question with regard to another topic that's kind of been top of mind today in the banking sector. We watched some of the executives on Capitol Hill today talking about the failures that led to SVB, Signature Bank. Is the retail investor paying attention to the regional banking sector?

MATT KOHRS: More than you could possibly imagine. And they're watching it with a little bit of dismay and quite a bit of anger, because we're seeing insiders try to defend themselves, even though we all know, with SVB in particular, they were selling around $3.5 million worth of stock right before the bottom fell out.

And it doesn't even really stop there at insiders to the company, but I would even say within the government. If you're looking at the time period of February, March, April, we had 18 different US politicians trading just south of $7 million worth of financial based stocks. And that's not even to get into the very well timed tech plays that they got into right before they exploded.

So, yes, they are paying attention. It's becoming a lot more common to pay attention to what insiders and politicians are doing. And from the audience that I interact with on a daily basis, it's nothing but anger, and I would argue, rightfully so.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, there may be anger, but there's also, we've learned from the past, that retail investors see an opportunity. Is there an opportunity right now? I mean, we have heard the likes of Jamie Dimon say, there's a lot of short sellers crowding the market that have led to the volatility within the regional banks.

He thinks that, for example, there should be some consideration to banning short selling in the space. How do retail investors look at that?

MATT KOHRS: I think there's two different camps on this. I would wholeheartedly argue that if there's manipulative shorting, yeah, that is not appropriate in any way. There's a reason we have these rules and regulations. But in terms of a fair and open market, I kind of got my start in this community talking about AMC, and GME, and the retail movement behind those-- I didn't see them trying to argue that they should stop the short selling then, so I don't quite see the difference here.

Once again, I'm 100% against manipulative short selling. But in terms of just a functioning marketplace, I think it has its place, without a doubt. And even historically, if we look back at it in 2008, I believe it was in mid-September, when there was previously a ban, there was a little bit of a relief-- I believe it lasted literally for a singular day-- and then from there, the bottom still fell out.

So if we're just trying to stop the stocks from going down, I don't think that's really a solution here. I would actually take that a step further and argue that what's going on in the regional banking sector, it's not really a fundamental thing. I would argue it's not even a technical thing. I would argue it's more crowd psychology.

It's a horrific negative feedback loop. The stocks go down, people look at it, and they figure, why take the risk of losing my money? So they go to the bank, take their money out, and then when we see an exodus in deposits, obviously, there's legitimate reason, then, for the stock to go down more. And as you can see, it's just that negative feedback loop. So much more of a crowd psychology argument than whatever we're seeing in terms of fundamentals or even technicals.

- There's a few things that stood out to me that you just said, Matt, talking about crowd psychology and the meme stocks, like, say, the AMC, the GME. Do the meme stocks matter anymore?

MATT KOHRS: Yes. There's definitely a huge support group for it, albeit not as wild as it was in '21 when everyone was stuck inside, getting their stimulus check, and just paying attention to it. I would argue that the overall internet consumption now that the world's, fortunately, opened back up has gone down. But there are still a huge amount of loud supporters.

But I would also argue that that group specifically is also more so becoming interested in the overall market and trying to understand how they can survive in this game, because, obviously, it's more of a marathon than it is an individual sprint.

AKIKO FUJITA: Matt, we know you've got a lot to say on Robinhood. And Robinhood just announcing last week about 20-- talking about now allowing 24 hour trading. Specifically, we should specify here, it is about the whole shares of 42 of the most traded ETFs and individual stocks.

We're talking about stocks like Tesla as well as Amazon. We had a chance to speak with Vlad Tenev, the CEO and Co-Founder. Take a listen to what he had to say and I'll get your thoughts on the other side.

VLADIMIR TENEV: Clearly, we think that this is going to lead to increased volumes. But perhaps the most important thing is just increased customer satisfaction. If you look at active trader net promoter score, that's up 30 points year over year.

So our active traders are very, very happy, even in the face of the challenging macro environment. Overall customer NPS is up 20 points year over year as well. And we believe if we keep innovating and keep our customers happy no matter what the macro conditions, then it's all a part of deepening our relationships with our customers even further. And 24 hour market is certainly a component of that.

AKIKO FUJITA: So two questions on the back of that, Matt. Number one, to what extent is Robinhood still the platform for individual investors to invest? And number two, 24 hour trading, how much of that you think brings in new investors into the market?

MATT KOHRS: Yeah. So for the first question there, I-- at a certain point, I would respect Robinhood early on, because they had phenomenal UI, they had phenomenal UX, they brought a lot of retail traders into the market. And regardless of the brokerage, I believe that Wall Street, the economy, investing in it is one of the best vehicles for wealth creation. I would implore anyone to gain a basic knowledge and, as early as they can, invest in something such as the S&P 500.

And they made that reasonable, and much more reasonable for retail traders. Now, obviously, this story doesn't stop there. It took a couple of twists and turns. And that's where my love for Robinhood takes a very, very negative turn to the south.

And, yeah, they might be able to cite some of their year over year statistics. But if we look at that comparison, I think it's just because their customer satisfaction numbers a year ago were dismally bad. So is it the home for retail right now? Yes. Obviously, some people use it.

But the popularity, I mean, you could see it in their earnings report, it's fallen off by quite a bit. They are nowhere near the height that they were in 2021. And now for your second question of this concept of 24 hour trading-- I understand that a lot of people-- individually, do what's best for you.

If you have a proven methodology for whatever frame, hey, if it's making you money, if you have a net expected positive value, go after it. But most people, especially in the short time frame, don't.

The smaller the time frame, the more randomness involved. So what I see this as more a ploy for them to get more active trading done on their platform. And then they're going to get this sweet, sweet deal of payment for order flow, which, without getting too far into the weeds here, I'm very, very much against.

- Love this conversation. Matt Kohrs, appreciate you coming on again with us so much today. Thank you.