If you’re one of the millions tuned in to the action in the market fuelled by r/WallStreetBets, get your popcorn ready. Here’s a look at the US stonks that have been grabbing headlines the past week with their lottery-like gains.
What a start we’re having to 2021. In an unprecedented David versus Goliath battle on Wall Street, small retail investors have banded together to go up against the big boys — the hedge funds.
Behind this movement is r/WallStreetBets — a subreddit, also known as WallStreetBets or WSB in short.
In essence, here are simplified nuggets of the story:
- Redditors discovered that hedge funds are grossly profiting by shorting (short selling) companies such as GameStop.
- To beat these hedge funds at their own game, Redditors have come together to purchase and hold on to the stocks of these companies being heavily shorted, driving the stock price up.
- This was done to create a ‘short squeeze’, whereby short sellers (or the hedge funds in this case) had to purchase the stock to cover their short regardless of the stock price.
The above TL;DR doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty, such as online brokerages like Robinhood restricting the trading of specific stocks. This article by the Wall Street Journal, or this one by CNET, does a pretty good summary of the entire episode, down to what the politicians in the US have said.
As a result, stocks such as GameStop (NYSE: GME) have seen their stock price skyrocket, or as what Redditors would say, are going to the moon. Some have also termed this a ‘Meme stock’ rally, Reddit rally or WSB rally.
However, what goes up fast can also come crashing back down. In a single trading night, GameStop dropped 60% in their biggest one-day loss ever, closing at $90 on 2 February 2021. Yes, you read that right — 60%.
Besides GME, there are a handful of other stocks that have also been revived by the WSB rally. Here’s a look at the four stocks that have been on many investors’ watchlists — whether it’s to cash in on the market action, or simply to watch the ‘show’.
GameStop (NYSE: GME)
The first one on this list has to be the stock that was the catalyst of this phenomenon.
GameStop’s share price saw a meteoric rise, backed by everyday investors on Reddit. At the start of 2021, GameStop’s price opened at $19. Four weeks on, it’s now trading at $325 — a whopping 1610% increase. That’s not all. GameStop’s price reached a peak of $483 on 28 January 2021. For comparison, $484 is higher than the current share price of stocks such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Lululemon and Starbucks.
So what exactly is GameStop?
GameStop is an American video game, consumer electronics and gaming merchandise retailer with more than 5,000 stores scattered across US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. However, with the rise of digital distribution channels and online gaming services, GameStop has seen its revenue declining in recent years and COVID-19 has certainly not helped its cause. This led to investors such as the likes of hedge funds shorting GME with the assumption that the share price will continue to fall.
However, in a wild day of trading on 2 February 2021, GameStop saw its share price tumble 60% to $90. This is a 81% drop from it’s all-time-high of $483 last Thursday, erasing nearly $29 billion in the company’s value.
AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC)
A campaign to, well, save AMC, trended on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok. Needless to say, the hashtag led to the near vertical rise in the company’s stock price.
Trading near $2 at the start of 2021, the price of AMC stocks rose to $19.90 on 27 January 2021 — a near 900% increase in just over three weeks. AMC’s stock price dropped to $7.82 on 2 February 2021 — not quite as bad a drop as GME, but still a massive plunge nonetheless.
AMC is the world’s largest movie theatre chain, operating about 1,000 cinemas and more than 10,000 screens worldwide. Much like GameStop, COVID-19 hasn’t been in favour of movie theatres, with AMC previously announcing that they could go bankrupt. Even as movie theatres start to open up, capacity remains largely limited.
However, with the vaccines being distributed and fresh funding raised, bankruptcy is ‘off the table’ for now.
Blackberry (NYSE: BB)
In the early-2000s, Blackberry phones were all the rave. Known for having a full keyboard on your mobile device, they were somewhat a status symbol at that time.
However, Blackberry has since been eclipsed by the likes of Apple and other Android devices like Samsung.
Not quite as steep an incline as seen by GME and AMC, BlackBerry’s share price rose from less than $7 per share to a high of $28.77 on 27 January 2021 — a price not seen since 2011.
On 2 February 2021, BlackBerry’s share price dropped 21% back down to $11.55 — a near 60% drop since last week’s peak.
While BlackBerry’s phones might have been a thing of the past, all is not lost. They have since reinvented themselves as an intelligent mobile security software and services company. More recently, BlackBerry has also partnered with Amazon to develop an Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform, IVY.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NYSE: BBBY)
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is a home furnishings retailer that operates around 1,475 stores in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Besides branded bed and bath accessories, they also carry kitchen textiles and cooking supplies.
Opening just under $18 at the start of 2021, BBBY rose to highs of $53.90 on 27 January 2021 — nearly a 200% increase. However, BBBY’s share price has also fallen more than 50%, dropping to $25.38 on 2 February 2021.
In 2020, BBBY announced plans to turn their business around by modernising and improving their supply chain.
When will this game stop?
The stock market is anything but a game. While it is entirely possible for one to turn their fortunes around by cashing out on millions in profits from the stocks listed above, it is also a reality that there have been many who have gotten their fingers burned in the stock market. If anything, last night’s 60% drop serves as a stark reminder of the volatility and high risk you take on when trading a speculative stock.
The noise on social media caused by this battle of nerds versus Wall Street has resulted in increased interest in the financial markets. But this has also come with heightened market volatility that is making rise and fall in cryptocurrency prices look tame. It’s best to exercise caution and limit one’s risk exposure, particularly if the cash is meant for other purposes, such as your emergency funds, renovation, wedding, child’s education, retirement and more.
But if ‘FOMO’ gets the better of you and you must participate in the action, be it in the Meme stocks or any stocks for that matter, get started on your journey with an online brokerage account – all unblocked on our comparison platform.
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By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.