Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the stock market has embarked on a journey with ups and downs, the likes of which had been unprecedented. As the saga goes, the virus set in, and people were at home and looking for entertainment. This, coupled with the hopeful possibility of building wealth directly from one’s phone and/or couch, brought a new generation of retail traders to the market. They began to push speculative equities and securities around in their search for quick value.

The trading platform Robinhood has been central to this stock market tale, allowing commission-free trading with a streamlined, easy-to-use mobile application to “democratize finance for all,” as is its motto. Its popularity culminated in a one-in-a-lifetime short squeeze in late January 2021, wherein highly motivated Reddit users attempted, and succeeded, to push up the price of GameStop Corp. (GME) stock in order to force hedge funds to cover their massively shorted shares.

This particular instance brought about massive negative sentiment for the growing financial application company, as Robinhood was forced to halt buy orders for several high volatility stocks in order to not go bankrupt themselves. The phenomenon brought Robinhood into global headlines and even had U.S. government officials using terms like “meme stocks.”

Critics of Robinhood’s platform accuse it of gamifying the stock market with a sensationalizing user interface, and essentially creating an accessible and legal casino for anyone willing to play. The app allows users to quickly trade even the most leveraged and risky positions, including complex derivatives such as options and other financial tools. While other similar mobile platforms also allow this, Robinhood users go through much less data and cautionary information before having their trades executed.

Despite the bad press, including congressional hearings with Robinhood’s CEO, the platform has since continued to grow its user base.

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Keeping an eye on retail traders’ interest in stocks has become a full-time job, and can mean the difference between massive gains or just another week of FOMO. Many websites provide trending stock tickers or even analytics on subreddit mentions of publicly traded companies. As Robinhood is mostly used by younger retail traders, looking at its top-traded stocks can provide insight into what direction certain stocks may be going.

Two stocks frequently found at the top of Robinhood traders' accounts are Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc. Both tech-savvy companies have seen their share prices rise dramatically over the course of 2020. Furthermore, both underwent stock splits, which made their stocks accessible to more people, resulting in a lot of online buzz.

Tesla Inc. (TSLA)

Five-star analyst Jed Dorsheimer of Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets reiterated a Buy rating on Tesla, with an optimistic price target of $812. This suggests a possible upside of 30.27% from Friday’s closing price of $623.31. (See Tesla stock charts on TipRanks)

Dorsheimer wrote that Tesla is “innovating past the battery” while other manufacturers are playing catch up. He was bullish on a long term basis, arguing that the car company is “creating an energy brand and an Apple-esque ecosystem of products with customer focused connectivity, seamlessly marrying car, solar, and back-up power.”

The analyst did, however, call the new Model S Plaid an “ostensibly unnecessary $130k car,” but that does not mean consumers won’t like the finished product enough to not buy it.

On TipRanks, TSLA has an analyst rating consensus of Hold, based on 9 Buy, 7 Hold, and 7 Sell ratings. The average analyst Tesla price target is $620.70, reflecting a potential downside of 0.42% over the next twelve months.

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Another consistently top stock pick from Robinhood traders, Apple Inc. has seen its share price climb more than five-fold over the last five years. The most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of over $2 trillion, the company has always had a loyal customer base, which seems to translate into loyal shareholders as well. (See Apple stock charts on TipRanks)

Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities was bullish following Apple’s new updates, which were announced during its WWDC conference. Ives maintained a Buy rating and a $185 price target, indicating a possible 41.81% upside from Apple’s Friday closing price of $130.46.

The five-star analyst wrote that Apple had placed a strong focus on user privacy concerns, which puts the company “on a collision course with Facebook around the ability for users to block data tracking.” However, Ives was encouraged by the improvements made by the new macOS Monterey desktop operating system, stating that it will support the “broadest lineup of Macs in history.”

On TipRanks, AAPL has an analyst rating consensus of Moderate Buy, based on 20 Buy, 5 Hold, and 2 Sell ratings. The average analyst Apple price target is $157.88, reflecting a potential 12-month upside of 21.02%.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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