A tale of tweets: the influence of Twitter on the technology sector
Investor sentiment has emerged to be a very topical subject within the context of behavioural finance. In more recent times textual analysis has emerged to be one such way of attempting to quantify investor sentiment. This study utilises textual sentiment and attempts to examine the predictive power of social media networks with regard to the technology sector during the course of unprecedented market wide volatility as a consequence of a global pandemic. More specifically, this study analyses the association between tweet features (bullishness/sentiment , message volume and overall investor agreement ) and market features (daily trading volume, volatility and raw returns, closing price, intraday high, intraday low) with regard to the 10 current largest technology sector firms by market capitalisation. The study spans over the period of February 2016 to December 2021, which encompasses the COVID-19 pandemic. The first finding of this study indicates that most of the tweet features are observed to be contemporaneously associated to the stock returns of the ten biggest technology firms by market capitalisation. Second, the results show the that for the most part there is no monotonic relationship between tweet features and technology sector stock market returns with exception of the relationship between the magnitude of message agreement and stock returns. Third, there is no evidence that the past values of tweet features contain any useful information that could be used to predict future stock returns. Finally, by comparing the pre-COVID data and intra-COVID data, it is noted that for the most part there is no monotonic relationship between tweet features and technology sector stock market returns. There is however evidence that the use of increased usage of Twitter as an investment tool following an exogenous shock to the market.
A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022
Twitter, Technology sector, Social media networks