GameStop rises 71% on ‘Roaring Kitty’ return, surges 87% in five days

GameStop surged in a three-week rally leading up to Monday's spike, marking its longest winning streak of the year, with shares climbing 68% during that period.

Livemint
First Published13 May 2024, 08:55 PM IST
GameStop Memes
GameStop Memes

GameStop Corp. saw its shares surge by as much as 71 per cent amidst speculation surrounding a potential return to social media by Keith Gill, famously known for igniting the meme-stock frenzy of 2021 as "Roaring Kitty."

Gill's dormant account sparked interest when a post surfaced featuring a man leaning forward with what appeared to be a gaming controller, prompting speculation of his comeback to the trading scene. In 2021, Gill gained notoriety for rallying day traders on Reddit to squeeze GameStop short sellers.

The response to Gill's activity mirrors shades of the original 2021 frenzy, with discussions on Reddit's WallStreetBets and heightened activity on platforms like StockTwits, leading to a surge in retail trader participation.

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“That he is able to generate a crowd says that the crowd is back to feeling FOMO and YOLO in an enormous way. When people dive into things that are of pure speculative value, their confidence is extremely high and this is one of the ways that it manifests," Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insyghts and an adjunct professor at William & Mary and the University of Delaware, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

GameStop surged in a three-week rally leading up to Monday's spike, marking its longest winning streak of the year, with shares climbing 68% during that period.

Renowned for its meteoric rise of over 2,000% in early 2021, GameStop became emblematic of the meme-stock craze, capturing widespread public attention. After adjusting for a stock split, the shares reached a peak of $86.88 towards the end of that month, only to plummet approximately 88% within three weeks. On Monday, the shares were trading around $26.

Roaring Kitty played a pivotal role in directing attention towards the stock's staggering short-interest ratio, which stood at around 140% of available shares being sold short. Investors placed their bets on Ryan Cohen, the entrepreneur turned retail trading icon. Cohen, acclaimed as the largest shareholder of the video-game retailer, has garnered a devoted following among individual investors. His ascent began with the gradual accumulation of stakes through early 2021, as he advocated for a substantial role in steering the company's direction, much to the delight of retail traders.

Following the sale of Chewy Inc., a pet retailer he co-founded, for over $3 billion in 2017, Cohen strategically invested a significant portion into Apple Inc. stock, witnessing substantial gains thereafter. Through RC Ventures LLC, he initially revealed his stake in GameStop in 2020, when shares traded at a fraction of their current value on a split-adjusted basis.

Over time, his holdings ballooned to approximately 36.8 million shares, amounting to 12% ownership of the company. Embracing leadership roles within the organization, Cohen assumed positions as chief executive officer, president, and chairman of the board. Notably, the company disclosed an unconventional strategy last year, earmarking its sizable cash reserves of around $900 million for Cohen's venture into purchasing stocks of other companies.

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It's notable that the proportion of shares available for trading, sold short, has remained at approximately 24%, as reported by financial analytics firm S3 Partners. While this figure is elevated compared to a typical company, it falls considerably short of the levels seen before the 2021 frenzy.

In addition, option activity concerning GameStop has surged this month. Open interest on calls has reached 588,205 contracts, marking the highest level recorded this year. Moreover, on Friday alone, 293,402 calls were traded, nearly three times the 20-day average volume.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

 

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First Published:13 May 2024, 08:55 PM IST
HomeMarketsStock MarketsGameStop rises 71% on ‘Roaring Kitty’ return, surges 87% in five days

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