Did Haters Drive One Hedge Fund Manager From Twitter, Or Is He Just Thin-Skinned?

January 31, 2017  

The braggadocio and paranoia of Wall Street traders has migrated from the trading floor — where groups of men wearing funny jackets and speaking in hand signals has largely given way to electronic delivery systems — to Twitter. But for Doug Kass, the president of the hedge fund Seabreeze Partners and one of the more prominent financial figures on Twitter, it was all a bit too much to handle.

Kass announced today in an email to investors and in an article on TheStreet that he was leaving Twitter. “Unfortunately, there are many haters in the social blogosphere, who, perhaps because of their own issues, drown out the many good people who want a value-added investment experience by learning more and enjoying a healthy dialogue in real time,” wrote Kass, a frequent CNBC guest known for his bearishness, especially on Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and the US economy.

A scroll through some of his more than 62,000 tweets and the “haters” he faced, however, shows that much of the nasty reactions he got was standard Twitter fare with a particular stock-trading flavor — long on profanity and bizarre references to family members and short on coherence. With two exceptions related to Apple, one concerning a rumored stock split and another questioning the job security of Chief Executive Tim Cook, the Twitter criticism seems wholly justified.

Much of the blowback Kass faced on Twitter came in February when he tweeted about a rumor he heard that Apple was going to split its stock. The stock jumped up that day and then Kass tweeted that he was selling off some of his Apple position. Fortune described the subsequent reaction as Kass taking “some heat for what seemed on the face of it to be self-serving manipulation.”

One of Kass’s frequent Twitter antagonists was Keith McCullough, the CEO of research firm Hedgeye Risk Management. McCullough regularly went after Kass for his gloomy outlook on the U.S. economy and for not #timestamp(ing) his trades (yes, McCullough uses the hashtag #timestamp regularly). And McCullough was gleeful at Kass’s retreat from the Twitter arena.

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