The 2008 financial crisis, one of the biggest financial debacles in history, made Michael Burry a legend.
It made him one of the examples to follow in defiance of standard practices in financial circles. The 2015 film “The Big Short” describes how the investor, who had no particular expertise in finance and real estate, came to understand that the sector had become a sandcastle, with financiers and bankers creating exotic products based on mortgages given to financially fragile households and borrowers with poor credit.
He, therefore, decided to bet on the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, hence the name “Big Short.” History proved him right. He was skeptical of financial products which were treated with enthusiasm by others. He likes to do his homework and understand the specifics before investing.
His legend was born. Burry, who now runs hedge fund Scion Asset Management, came out of the crisis like some kind of anti-hero. He made money when millions of people saw their dreams shattered and their savings disappear, with their homes foreclosed because they couldn’t make their monthly payments.
Over time, the financier became something of a Wall Street oracle. He embraced this role judging by his Twitter handle which is Cassandra B.C. For traders and risk takers, he is a kind of party spoiler. Burry doesn’t care.
In recent months, Burry warned that the economic situation was going to deteriorate seriously, that massive layoffs of white collar workers were on the horizon; he predicted that the stock market was going to have a moment of truth, after two years of prosperity during the pandemic.
Most of these warnings are coming true. Many tech companies have recently announced thousands of job cuts. One of the latest company to do so is Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms (META) – Get Free Report, which cut 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce, last month. It was a first for the company.
Burry is closely followed by investors who listen to his analysis and follow his advice on the markets as a whole, or an asset class, or a stock. His investment strategies are heavily scrutinized, as are the stocks he buys or bets against.
Burry himself also contributed to this legend, cultivating his image as an oracle. He creates an air of mystery on social networks, by deleting each message he posts. Which leaves his fans with no way to track the oracle’s latest prediction. An account has even been created to archive his tweets.
Musk ‘Has My Trust’
But Burry has just made an important decision: he just announced that he will no longer delete his tweets, which is an unprecedented break on his part. He explains that his decision is due to the fact that he trusts Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.
“Ok I will not delete going forward,” Burry posted on Twitter on December 5. “Elon has my trust. For now.”
Elon Musk became the owner of Twitter on October 27 and undertook the mission to radically change the social network, notably by breaking with the content management policy of the previous team, and by launching a war against spam bots or fake accounts.
Burry’s decision seems to have pleased his fans, who immediately rushed to ask him for investment advice or just to tease him.
“Would you ever want to come talk on a Twitter Spaces?” asked one Twitter user.
“Can you just make sure to dm me before you short the whole market again pls,” commented another user.
“Any short position update?” another user asked.
“So are you short on TESLA?” asked another Twitter user
Burry didn’t answer.
As the last comment above suggests, Burry wasn’t always a Musk fan. Scion Asset Management held bearish put options against nearly 1.1 million Tesla shares at the end of June 2021, but exited the position three months later.
In November 2021, Burry accused Musk of selling his company’s stock to service his personal debts.
“Burry is a broken clock,” Musk responded at the time.
But Musk didn’t often take Burry’s criticism the wrong way. Back in April, when the latter sarcastically claimed that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter shares might be good for America, the tech mogul responded with a good-natured quip. Burry said it was his last tweet with a blue check mark. (Burry’s Twitter account does not have a blue check mark to authenticate the identity of the author.)
Since last September, there seems to be a warming of relations between Burry and Musk, as the investor revealed that he was no longer shorting Tesla, even though he should.
“If I am tweeting this you can bet I am not short it,” he said. “But I should be.”
The tweets have been deleted.