Hedge fund managers are using social networking website Twitter to forecast prices on the stock market.
According to reports, analysts at Derwent Capital Markets are utilising a computer program to assess the mood of the country from a random sample of tweets.
The new tool was created by Johan Bollen, professor of informatics and computing at Indiana University, after his study undertaken last year found Twitter to be 87.6 per cent accurate in predicting movement on the Dow Jones.
Dr Bollen told the Sunday Times: “We recorded the sentiment of the online community, but we couldn't prove if it was correct. So we looked at the Dow Jones to see if there was a correlation. We believed that if the markets fell, then the mood of people on Twitter would fall.
“But we realised it was the other way round - that a drop in the mood or sentiment of the online community would precede a fall in the market."
He continued: “That was a eureka moment. It meant we could predict the change in the market and that gives you a considerable edge.”
The new tool uses a random ten per cent of all Twitter news feeds to assess national sentiment.
By Jim Ottewill