Reddit Investors Are Super Stoked About a War in the Middle East

Reddit’s premier investment and shitposting community is trying to figure out how to make money amid bloody turmoil in the Middle East. 

Wallstreetbets, the subreddit that is home of the meme stock mavens who short squeezed GameStop, spent some of the weekend like the rest of the world: attempting to reckon with the horrifying news out of Israel and Palestine after Hamas militants launched an assault that killed hundreds of civilians, followed by Israel launching retaliatory strikes inside Gaza that also killed many civilians. Unlike just about everybody else, though, Redditors on Wallstreetbets spent most of this time trying to decide how it would affect their portfolios and if there was money to be made if the conflict should escalate into a wider war.

“As we all know Palestine and Israel have the largest oil fields in the world, they also have the largest harbors and one of the largest import/export economies on the planet,” the post said. “At least this is what your trustworthy, local gas producer wants you to believe. You’ve already bought into the fact that your woman wants a confident cuck so why not believe that a war between two nations that produce or export almost zero oil would bump world oil prices by 4%. On top of your wife being a whore your gas prices will increase and all because you’re a cuck and they know it.”

A more restrained and thoughtful investor laid out a reasonable look at the market in a post that hasn’t cracked 50 upvotes. “Upward pressure on oil, but not as much as people are making it sound. Oil already had an uptick due to supply changes—supply and demand announcements will still control prices for oil, not this conflict,” they said. “[Risk] is the most important factor, where there is a material uptick in risk of escalation. This is the reason the bears will own the short term, but the second this dissolves could create a huge bull scenario.”

The most popular posts about the war on /r/Wallstreetbets are all memey celebrations of defense stocks on the rise. “PLTR up,” said the first reply, a reference to the rising fortunes of defense contractor Palantir, which has an office in Tel Aviv. The US-based defense company co-founded by Peter Thiel and with a name pulled from Lord of the Rings has long been a favorite meme stock of the Wallstreetbets community.

The two big ideas about the war on /r/Wallstreetbets center around how a war will hurt or hinder investments. Basically, will war create bullish or bearish markets? Investors on both sides have deployed graphs to make their case. One trotted out the SPX chart for 1973-1974 to show how the Yom Kippur War precipitated a market crash. It got just under 900 upvotes. Another chart showed stock rises after major U.S. wars and offered the advice: “Buy the invasion.” It’s got more than two thousand upvotes. Another popular post chided investors for buying into hype over rising oil prices

“Growing MiddleEast Problems + War – Stocks to buy/ Stocks to short and why,” a post on Monday said. The poster laid out their limited understanding of the situation and then suggested that defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, RTX (Raytheon’s new name), and General Dynamics were stocks to look at.

The post currently has zero upvotes. It also suggested that the war may spread to involve Iran and could even push China to invade Taiwan. “This may be the dumbest post that I’ve read today and that is saying something,” one Redditor said in reply.

“So dumb it might work,” another Redditor replied. At least one part of that statement is certainly true. 

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