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Manipulate the Stock Market in "Grand Theft Auto 5" (GTA V)

Ben has been a geek all of his life, so his expertise tends to fall into gaming and technology.


In Grand Theft Auto 5 you run into missions that enable you to play the stock market. By investing properly you can increase your funds greatly. By doing this over and over again you can multiply the money until it never becomes an issue again.

Understanding the Stock Market

There are two stock markets in the game that work differently from each other.

  • LCN Stock Market: Impacted only through your in-game actions
  • BAWSAQ: Stocks are affected by the GTA community at large.

If you're investing in any BAWSAQ stock your returns can vary and it's best if you save the game frequently. In fact, when manipulating the stock market it's best to have a separate save just to make sure everything goes smoothly.

When playing the stock market with a mission it can take several real-world minutes for the stock price to level out and allow you to maximize your profits. The peaks and valleys of stocks usually occur between five and ten minutes of real-world time to transition over after the mission is complete.

Although resting and moving time forward can have an effect on this, so does turning off your game. Sometimes, though, artificially moving time forward can negatively impact the natural progression of the stocks, preventing their peaks. Instead, you should simply wait and watch things progress to the suggested peak instead of trying to push things forward, unless you're attempting to bring a particular stock up from a drop.

Playing the Stocks Before GTA V Ends

Although you will get the most out of the investments you make after the game is finished, there are a few missions in particular that you must engage in before it's over.

  • The first of the Lester Assassination missions you must undertake, the Hotel Assassination mission, before the game will let you progress past a certain point. You should wait and do this mission only when the game forces you to as you will be able to maximize the cash you do have.
  • A pair of missions for Michael called Legal Trouble and Meltdown which you must complete before you can finish the end of the game.
You can be a quiet assassin... or not.

You can be a quiet assassin... or not.

The Hotel Assassin

The first assassination mission that you get from Lester is the Hotel Assassination mission. In this mission, you can manipulate the stock prices of Betta Pharmaceuticals (BET) and Bilkington (BIL) on the BAWSAQ exchange.

  1. Invest in Betta Pharmaceuticals with all characters before the start of the mission.
  2. Wait till Betta Pharmaceuticals has increased its stock price by approximately 80%.
  3. Sell all stocks in Betta Pharmaceuticals and buy Bilkington.
  4. After stocks have returned to normal, sell all Bilkington stock when you think you can get the most out of it.
People don't like hearing about plane trouble!

People don't like hearing about plane trouble!

After you complete the mission Legal Trouble for Michael, the stocks of FlyUS are in as much of a mess as Molly. The stocks will stay the same until you complete Meltdown, after which they will return to their normal state.

It's best to simply do these missions one right after the other in order to minimize the turnaround time. FlyUS's rival is AirEmu, and although I've seen some oddities the formula remains the same.

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  1. Invest in AirEmu before the start of the Legal Trouble mission.
  2. Wait until changes have taken full effect and sell all of your AirEmu stock to purchase FlyUS stock.
  3. Complete the mission Meltdown.
  4. Wait until maximum profit has been achieved and sell all FlyUS stock.

The Redwood Cigarette Assassination

In this Lester assassination mission, you get to sink into the shares of Redwood Cigarettes (RWC) by interfering with their jury tampering. This also affects the stock price of their rival Debonaire (DEB) on the LCN stock market.

  1. Before the mission starts invest in Debonaire Cigarettes (DEB).
  2. Wait till the market peaks at about 80% and then sell your Debonaire (DEB) stocks.
  3. Take all the money you gained from the Debonaire (DEB) sale and invest in Redwood (RWC) stocks.
  4. Wait till the market rebounds and sell all of your Redwood stock, approximately tripling your investment. This will take quite a bit of time, and you might consider sleeping several times to help it along, or do other things while you wait.

The Vice Assassination

This assassination mission has you deflating the shares of Façade (FAC) in order to pump up the stock price of Fruit (FRT) on the BAWSAQ marketplace.

  1. Before the mission starts, invest in Fruit (FRT).
  2. Wait till the stock market peaks at about 50% and then sell your Fruit (FRT) stocks.
  3. Take all the money you gained from the Fruit (FRT) sale and invest in Façade (FAC) stocks.
  4. Wait till the market rebounds. After things have leveled off you should make somewhere around a 30% return, but given that it is a BAWSAQ stock this can vary.

The Bus Assassination

The fourth Lester assassination mission has you manipulating the Vapid (VAP) stock on the BAWSAQ marketplace. This is different from the missions before as there is no rival stock to buy into. This means there is no pre-mission purchasing of stocks.