By Hal M. Bundrick NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Rather than using moving averages, P/E ratios and earnings per share, investors may soon be researching stocks by sifting through recipes, pictures of kitties and selfies. A new web site is tapping into the data of users' social networks to offer stock tips.
LikeFolio.com distills conversations and tracks status updates, likes and check-ins against a proprietary database filled with keywords and phrases. Users connect the website to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and then the service trawls social activity for any mention of a public company's brands and products. The site doesn't measure sentiment - the product mentions can be positive or negative.
This data is linked to the 30,000 brands of 2,000 publicly-traded companies and with the capability "to expose the ties of obscure product brands to publicly traded companies," reveals the top stocks their social networks are talking about. A "Top 5 Most Mentioned Stocks" list and a hypothetical portfolio comprised of those five equities are generated with a 12-month performance history based on an initial investment of $10,000. Users can share their "Top 5" portfolio via social channels. The service has been rolled out by TD Ameritrade and SwanPowers of Louisville, Ky. "People interact physically and socially with products every day but may not consider the potential to invest in the company that produces the product," says Nicole Sherrod of TD Ameritrade. "The simple design and easy to understand language makes LikeFolio ideal for novice investors looking to become more aware and involved in the market through the lens of social media."
The website profile information says the service was "created on the proven theory of investing in companies that you know" using "a tried and true method advocated by legendary investors like Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch." "Never before has social media data been leveraged to expose people to basic principles of investing," says Landon Swan at SwanPowers. "We're thrilled to work with TD Ameritrade as we launch LikeFolio and to further explore the potential that social media has for helping young people improve their financial literacy."