Dave Portnoy has shot to prominence in financial market circles in recent weeks as the face of the day-trading boom, making big, loud statements about how easy investing is, how washed up Warren Buffett is, and how billionaires criticizing him are just jealous.
But behind the bombastic videos, there exists a level of risk aversion stopping the founder of Barstool Sports from investing in certain sectors, Business Insider found out in an interview with Portnoy last week.
The sports bettor turned investor turned to day trading when the novelty coronavirus pandemic brought sporting events to a halt.
The fact that Portnoy is reluctant to invest in certain sectors may come as a surprise to his 1.5 million Twitter followers, who usually get to watch videos of him touting hefty gains and a risk-taking attitude.
Portnoy has invested in Hertz, despite the overwhelming odds that shareholders will be wiped out during bankruptcy proceedings and in airlines despite them facing a spate of brutal sell-offs since the pandemic brought all forms of travel to a halt.
He has criticized Warren Buffett several times for what he believes was a premature sale of airline stocks by the “Oracle of Omaha”.
Portnoy is reluctant to invest in movie theatres, oil, and crypto
But despite this, in an exclusive interview via Zoom, Portnoy said that oil, movie theaters and cryptocurrencies are all off limits in his world of investing.
“I didn’t really touch oil. That just seemed like the Wild West to me and I didn’t understand it at all.”
US oil prices briefly turned negative in April due to plummeting demand for the commodity and on extremely scarce storage facilities, particularly at a key hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Some traders capitalized on oil’s historic sell-off. For example, BB-energy bought 250,000 barrels of oil during the historic plunge below $0 and likely made a fortune.
But Portnoy said: “I paid, I have a couple of my watch list, like an OAS [Oasis Petroleum, a Texas-based fracking firm] stock, which can be up 30% one day, down 30% the next. I invested very little in it.”
Portnoy also said he is also reluctant to invest in movie theatres.
“Movies centers are one that I’m a little bit [wary of] because obviously that’s severely hit by a COVID and that’s something that I think people can access without going to a movie theater.”
“That is one very depressed industry that I’m reluctant to buy,” he added.
Portnoy identified cryptocurrencies as another area which he just wouldn’t simply touch. “People are begging me to get into crypto, but I don’t understand it.”