Markets

'Should I buy Tesla?' tops Google search terms as investors rush into surging stock

Key Points
  • A Google search for the phrase "Should I" pulls up a number of suggested results one might expect, like "should I get a flu shot?"
  • But, with the stock of Elon Musk's company up nearly 290% in the past six months, there's a new number one in the "Should I" search: "Should I buy Tesla stock?"
  • With how far the stock has rallied in such a short time, it's little wonder that many investors are trying to sort out where the stock will go from here.
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A Google search for the phrase "Should I" pulls up a number of suggested results one might expect, like "should I get a flu shot" or the lyrics for The Clash's hit song "Should I Stay or Should I Go."

But, with the stock of Elon Musk's company up nearly 290% in the past six months, there's a new No. 1 in the "Should I" search: "Should I buy Tesla stock."

Suggested results for a Google search of the phrase "should I" on Feb. 4, 2020.

Tesla skeptic Jim Chanos was one of the first to point out the phenomenon, tweeting on Tuesday from his account @WallStCynic that people should "Google 'Should I....' right now." Chanos is founder of hedge fund Kynikos Associates and has been one of the most vocal critics of Musk and his company.

Tesla's not just at the top of the list, either. A search for the phrase "Should I" on Tuesday showed Tesla on the suggested results three times, with "should I sell Tesla stock" and "should I invest in Tesla" also making appearances.

A look through Google Trends data shows just how much the "should I buy Tesla" search has spiked in the past week, both from people in the U.S. and around the world.

'Should I buy Tesla' searches in the US

'Should I buy Tesla' searches worldwide

Additionally, Google Trends shows interest in "Tesla" is strongest in the western U.S. states – as might be expected due to the company's heavy presence in California and Nevada.

Interest in 'Tesla' by US states

Notably, investors are trying to sort out if they should sell Tesla's stock. The company's rally has drawn comparisons to past speculative bubbles that occur sometimes in financial markets, such as the digital currency bitcoin. Tesla shares are similarly following the path that bitcoin took in 2017. Google Trends shows interest in Tesla moving generally likewise to bitcoin in the past month.

'Tesla stock' vs. 'Bitcoin'

Short sellers like Chanos have been getting battered as Tesla's stock has surged, with shorts losing $5.7 billion in the past two days of trading alone. And, with how far the stock has rallied in such a short time, it's little wonder that many investors are trying to discern where the shares will go from here.

Or, in the words of the Clash: "Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double."