Strategy: These are the top 5 contenders for Amazon's HQ2, according to Wells Fargo's robot (AMZN)

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Boston has the best chance of landing Amazon's HQ2, according to Wells Fargo's AI-based stock-picking services. Wells F...

Boston is the frontrunner for Amazon's HQ2, according to Wells Fargo's AI technology.

Boston has the best chance of landing Amazon's HQ2, according to Wells Fargo's AI-based stock-picking services.

  • Wells Fargo has some new predictions for which candidate city has the best chance of becoming the site of Amazon's second headquarters, HQ2.
  • It used its AI technology — called Aiera — to make the predictions, ending up with Boston as a frontrunner.
  • The robot says the next-most likely cities are Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, and Toronto, in that order.

Can a robot predict which city Amazon will choose for HQ2? Wells Fargo thinks so.

The financial services firm let investors in on what Aiera, its machine-learning AI platform, thinks of each city's chances of getting Amazon's second headquarters — and the $5 billion and 50,000 jobs that come with it.

According to the robot's analysis, Boston came out on top, followed by Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, and Toronto.

To arrive at its predictions, Aiera looked at factors like publicly available information about HQ2 — in media reports published between September 2017 and March 2018 — and compared it with how that information affected Amazon's stock price. In this way, it's a more high-tech aggregation of how others are viewing these cities' chances.

Boston was chosen by the AI because it was mentioned 190 times in the five-month window, and Amazon's stock price moved an average of 0.78% after mentions. Aiera awarded it a 78.3% score — more than seven points higher than second-place Chicago.

Washington, DC, which many consider a frontrunner for HQ2, placed only seventh on the list, behind Austin, Texas, surprising even Wells Fargo's analysts. DC has been the focus of a lot of HQ2 speculation as it has the most potential sites clustered in a single metro area.

Denver, Colorado, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia rounded out the rest of the top 10. Even though Wells Fargo's analysts did not limit Aiera to only HQ2 candidate cities, it seems the AI was smart enough to guess which ones were eligible. Only one city — San Francisco — showed up in the ranking that is not on Amazon's 20-city short list.

Rumors refuse to stop swirling as the HQ2 race heats up. Lately, Amazon has been visiting candidate cities and meeting with local leaders who are pitching the company specific sites to place its new headquarters.

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