Cuban: 'Confused' about markets, betting on gold

Mark Cuban: I don't understand this market, bullish gold
Mark Cuban: I don't understand this market, bullish gold
Cuban: Smells like algorithmic trading
Cuban: Smells like algorithmic trading
Cuban keeps Netflix, talks Twitter
Cuban keeps Netflix, talks Twitter

Billionaire Mark Cuban admitted Thursday that wild market movements have left him "confused." But he has placed a bet on gold — a so-called "safe haven" asset — as investors rush to the precious metal.

Cuban said earlier Thursday that he bought "a lot" of call options on gold. He noted he did not think gold was a hedge, but that people looking for momentum would push the price of the metal higher.

"I think people are so confused about this market. Nobody really understands what's happening, including me. So, things that I thought made sense didn't make sense and weren't working. ... When traders don't know what to do, they go where everybody is. And I thought that would be gold," Cuban told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report."

Mark Cuban
Melody Hahm | CNBC

Gold futures for April delivery jumped about 4 percent Thursday as investors fled to safety. The move came as U.S. stocks broadly fell and Treasury yields dipped.

Earlier, Cuban wrote on social platform Cyber Dust that gold would not have to go much higher than its Thursday price for his trade to make him "happy." However, he added that he was not recommending to buy gold, noting that "if you don't know what to do, do nothing."

Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a "Shark Tank" investor, spoke as Fed Chair Janet Yellen wrapped up her two-day testimony to Congress. Yellen addressed mounting concerns of a United States recession as markets sold off.

"There is always some chance of recession in any year," she said. "But the evidence suggests that expansions don't die of old age."

Cuban, for one, said he did not see "any type of softness at all" in the economy. He noted that American Airlines Center, which hosts Mavericks games and other events, raised wages last year and could do so again.

He conceded, though, that it is "hard to know what's happening next in stock markets." Cuban, who made a chunk of his fortune selling a company to Yahoo before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, said he sees some similarities between then and recent selling in technology.

Shares of professional social network LinkedIn plunged after recent earnings. Some of last year's biggest gainers — Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet — have also sustained stock losses.

"You almost had to bail out because you don't know what's going to happen next," Cuban said.

He added that private tech companies are "getting crushed" as both the IPO and venture capital markets cool.