GameStop and AMC shares slumped Wednesday, as a two-day rally sparked by the return of “Roaring Kitty” Keith Gill, who was the central figure in the 2021 meme stock frenzy, cooled.

Cinema chain AMC fell 25% after surging 135% in the past two sessions, while video game retailer GameStop tumbled nearly 30%, giving up nearly half of its gains from the same period.

TRADING HALTED

Trading in the retail investor darlings were halted multiple times after the market opened, with investors exchanging more than $2.3 billion worth of GameStop shares.

That was more than the trading in technology heavyweights such as $2 billion worth of trades in Microsoft and $1.5 billion for Meta Platforms.

“While the meme phenomenon generates a lot of market engagement, which is ultimately a good thing…the volatility in these stocks is extreme,” said JJ Kinahan, CEO of IG North America.

On Tuesday, “Roaring Kitty,” the online persona of Gill, shared a clip from the movie “Braveheart” on X with the word “GameStop” flashing on the screen, as Mel Gibson, playing William Wallace, screams “freedom.” Another video played Aerosmith’s song “Back in the saddle again.”

It is the first time that Gill named a company after his return to X following a three-year gap, which set off a rally in the highly shorted stocks and reminded investors of the 2021 retail trading frenzy.

In 2021, his YouTube streams and a string of Reddit posts had helped attract a flood of retail cash into GameStop, burning hedge funds that had bet against the company.

Gill did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on whether he was planning to resume posting about his trades on social media.

Gill has “became a hero of the common man.. he’s having fun putting up these memes and we’re interpreting them.. there’s no science here,” said Andrew Left at Citron Research, a former GameStop short seller.

Meanwhile, AMC disclosed in a filing it would issue 23.3 million shares in exchange for its notes due 2026 for principal amount of $164 million.

ROBUST TRADING ACTIVITY

Vlad Tenev, CEO of retail trading platform Robinhood , said on X the app hit $5 billion in equities trading volume on Tuesday, among the highest in the past 12 months.

AMC and GameStop were among the top 10 securities bought by retail investors on Tuesday, with $51 million and $16 million daily inflows, respectively, according to Vanda Research.

The two stocks have also seen strong options trading this week, with much of the action concentrated in bullish call options, which profit when stock prices rise.

Bill Gross, a billionaire once known as the “Bond King” after founding fixed income giant PIMCO, said the meme stocks frenzy was “definitely opportunistic” and his strategy was to “sell 400% annualized volatility,” an options play.

Rising interest rates had cooled the meme stocks mania in the past two years, underlined by the shuttering of the Roundhill MEME ETF that invested in firms that exhibited a combination of elevated social media activity and high short interest.


© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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