There is a money manager in Florida running an exchange-traded fund that has tumbled by 60% this year, but she continues to rally her investors to bet on speculative technology stocks. In Washington, a man who is not a trained economist leads a central bank that injected fresh dollars into the market as recently as March, even as the inflation rate hit 7.9%. Over in Russia, a dictator is waging war against a neighboring sovereign country. And there is a guy who claims to be living in a small Texas house near the Mexico border while working to revolutionize automobiles, spacecraft, and now, social media.
What do Cathie Wood, Jerome Powell, Vladimir Putin and Elon Musk have in common? They are all seriously impacting your money and are on the MarketWatch 50 list of the most influential people in markets. The MarketWatch 50 is our list of the investors, CEOs, policy makers, crypto players and financial influencers who are making a difference from Wall Street to Washington, in Silicon Valley and on Reddit.
It has been a crazy and brutal stretch for financial markets so far in 2022. The U.S. stock market, as measured by the S&P 500
is heading toward its worst year since the 2008 financial crisis. But it’s not just stocks that are down. Bonds have plunged, cryptocurrencies have crashed and even gold has performed poorly. Through the first 10 months of 2022, a portfolio allocated 60% to stocks and 40% to bonds is down by 16.6%.
The MarketWatch 50 is made up of people whose actions, work and opinions are reverberating through these financial markets. These are the people who help move the prices of securities, commodities, currencies or illiquid assets; influence the behavior and strategies of market participants; play a role in determining how markets are structured, regulated and function; and ultimately have an outsized influence on your wallet. The members of the MarketWatch 50 head large businesses, hold public office and even operate YouTube channels. But the markets — and MarketWatch readers — have felt their impact in 2022.
To come up with the list, we asked our readers to tell us who they thought has influenced markets the most during this volatile year. Our newsroom reviewed each nomination and circulated the names of the strongest candidates among our staff for consideration. MarketWatch reporters also scoured their beats and interviewed their sources while following up on promising submissions and coming up with their own. In the end, MarketWatch’s group editors and editor in chief crafted our final list.
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Vicki Hollub has overseen the market’s most stunning comeback in 2022 and continues to lead U.S. frackers away from being swing producers countering the war-driven increase in energy prices. Hollub’s Occidental Petroleum OXY is this year’s best performing stock in the S&P 500, helped along by Warren Buffett, who is a big fan and has bought up more than 20% of the company. Hollub has been returning cash to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks, instead of plowing those funds into the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oil field, where Occidental is the biggest acreage holder. Occidental has also led the charge for new carbon-capture technology by investing in it and getting Washington to support it in recent legislation.
Hollub is one of 14 corporate chief executives among the MarketWatch 50, including Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple AAPL. Not only does Cook head the world’s most valuable company, Apple’s size is being felt more in the stock market than ever. The company represents about 13% of the Nasdaq Composite index and 7% of the S&P 500.
Not everyone on the MarketWatch 50 list is having a particularly good year in 2022. In fact, some people are on the list precisely because their setbacks shook up markets.
For example, Su Zhu, the co-founder and former CEO of Three Arrows Capital, has been at the center of this year’s credit crunch in cryptocurrencies and helped push digital currency prices down. His highly leveraged Singapore-based hedge fund managed some $10 billion at its peak and bet big on digital currencies like Luna that Zhu pushed on social media. When Luna and other coins crashed, Three Arrows failed to meet margin calls and collapsed into bankruptcy in June. Voyager Digital was one crypto platform that lent some $650 million to Three Arrows and itself filed for bankruptcy protection as a result. Digital Currency Group’s Genesis crypto brokerage was owed $1.2 billion by Three Arrows when it failed. Zhu has been cagey about his whereabouts lately, and Three Arrows’ liquidators can’t seem to locate him.
Chase Coleman was the hottest investor on Wall Street at the start of 2022. His Tiger Global was managing more than $100 billion in its hedge funds, and long-only and venture-capital vehicles. Many others tried to copy Coleman’s success by imitating his tech-stock picks. But in the first five months of the year, his liquid funds lost nearly $20 billion, according to an analysis by LCH Investments, wiping out three-quarters of the gains Coleman had made for his hedge-fund investors since he launched Tiger Global in 2001. Coleman’s trading losses impacted the stocks he helped popularize, like Carvana
and Peloton Interactive
which all plunged further in value as he sold them. Coleman’s venture investments also started to show paper losses, upsetting the balance in the broad venture market.
The MarketWatch 50 features 17 policy makers, signifying the enormous role governments and public institutions are having on private financial markets this year. They include central bankers, like Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde; heads of state, like Xi Jinping; and a union organizer, Chris Smalls, who after being fired by Amazon
founded the Amazon Labor Union.
Elon Musk almost seems like he should be in a category all his own. Even though he has now bought Twitter
for $44 billion, he recently declared, “I’m not an investor. ” He is arguably the most consequential business person on the planet today. Yes, Tesla
is down nearly 50% from its 2021 highs. Musk remains a bellwether for these financial markets.