GameStop Mania Goes Global as Retail Traders Gang Up on Shorts

The market drama surrounding GameStop Corp. is spreading ever further beyond Wall Street, whipsawing stocks from Amsterdam to Sydney as traders race to bet on where the flood of retail money might head next.

Heavily shorted companies have become the biggest targets, after an epic short squeeze in GameStop helped drive up the stock more than 400% this week. In Europe, short-seller favorites including Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield jumped 20% or more. E-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. and baby-care goods maker Pigeon Corp. climbed at least 6.9% in Tokyo on Thursday.

The GameStop effect has also played out in different ways. Day traders in India have been piling into shares of the video-game retailer, which accounted for about 15% of volume on one popular platform allowing locals to bet on U.S. equities. An Australian company with “GME” in its ticker symbol jumped as much as 60% on Thursday, an apparent case of mistaken identity. Some chat rooms frequented by retail investors in China were abuzz with opportunities to pump up stock prices.

GameStop Mania Goes Global as Retail Traders Gang Up on Shorts

While GameStop’s extraordinary gain has captivated much of the financial world this week, few could have predicted the ripple effects emerging from Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum would be so far-reaching.

“We were not expecting Indians would be on Reddit, reading about GameStop,” said Sitashwa Srivastava, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of trading platform Stockal. As in other countries, with more Indians staying indoors since the pandemic struck, many have flocked to stock markets at home and abroad, leading to an influx of money from ordinary savers.

Of course, it’s hard to know how much of these swings are being fueled by retail investors as opposed to short sellers who have protectively closed out positions to reduce risk. Either way, the market dynamics have clearly shifted for many stocks.

“Fundamentals are completely irrelevant,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd. in Melbourne. “This is all momentum now.”

Weston said there may still be fresh capital ready to be deployed “when the next ‘hot’ and well-shorted stock is pushed.”

“Let’s not forget this model works well because of critical mass,” he said. “The more this stays front page, and WallStreetBets remains the topic of all market participants discussion, the more followers the community obtains and the greater the potential weight of capital.”

Here are some of the most notable stock moves over the past 24 hours:

  • In Australia, heavily shorted funeral-home operator InvoCare Ltd. was among the top performers on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index on Thursday.
GameStop Mania Goes Global as Retail Traders Gang Up on Shorts
  • Mining company GME Resources Ltd., which shares a similar ticker to GameStop, soared as much as 60% before paring the bulk of those gains. Volume in the stock was almost 2,000% higher than its three-month average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Aside from Rakuten and Pigeon, other heavily shorted Japanese stocks recording gains included HIS Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Dentsu Group Inc.
  • GameStop and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. were the most-active U.S. stocks Wednesday on a trading app run by Shenzhen-based Futu Holdings Ltd., which serves individual investors in mainland China and Hong Kong.
  • NanJi E-Commerce Co. advanced 7% in Shenzhen. One chat-room post encouraged investors to “pay tribute to American retail investor friends” who traded GameStop.
  • Notable gainers in Europe included education publisher Pearson Plc, French real estate company Klepierre SA and Polish video-game maker CD Projekt SA.
  • GameStop slid about 16% in after-hours trading, after soaring 135% during the regular session on Wednesday.

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