In 11 Hours of Pure Mania, 100% Stock Gains Popped Up Everywhere
(Bloomberg) -- Cooped up at home, glued to Reddit and Stocktwits chat forums, empowered by Robinhood accounts, funded by massive government money-printing and emboldened by a bull market that has turned reckless risk-taking into a virtue, America’s new band of day traders is frantically bidding up a wide range of fringe, oddball stocks in what has become one of the great financial manias in recent history.
To capture how fast and furious the action is and how extreme the price swings — and the trash-talking — are, Bloomberg News tracked Wednesday’s events in real time.
The fireworks actually started the night before, when Elon Musk blasted out a tweet that became a rallying cry for redditors to keep piling into shares of GameStop, which had already soared 276% in the past five days, and inflict more pain on the Wall Street pros.
Here are some of the day’s highlights.
Wednesday, 5:45 a.m. EST:
Propelled by Musk’s “Gamestonk!!” tweet, GameStop hits $365.42 in early morning trading. A week ago, it sold for less than $40.
The tweet also spurs excited speculation on Reddit about whether Musk had joined in. One redditor, whose username is Apparently, asks, “Papa Elon, are you here? Show us a sign”
7:33 a.m., stocktwits.com:
It’s not just GameStop. Retail traders band together, scouring the internet for other bygone ’90s-era companies. On Stocktwits, a user named CEO_Andrew_Ryan casually muses:
9:15 a.m., r/wallstreetbets:
In their frenzy, the cocky hordes on Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets forum manage to turn the tables on short sellers and inflict heavy losses on the likes of Andrew Left and Melvin Capital. According to one early morning post, they’re not done yet.
And did we mention cocky?
9:30 a.m., Summit, NJ:
Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management, can only shake his head as the market opens.
“I don’t know if this is the future, I don’t know if this is just something quirky, but thank god I’m not involved. It’s not investing, it’s a financial form of a game of uncle. The fundamentals don’t matter, numbers don’t matter. Boy oh boy, it’s wild.”
9:40 a.m., minutes after the market open:
AMC Networks, ticker AMCX (and not to be confused with Reddit darling AMC Entertainment, ticker AMC), soars 19%, extending a rally to 67% over past five days. And AMC Entertainment?
“I’m rooting for AMC, I’m rooting to put the hedge funds out of business,” Portnoy says.
Meanwhile, other heavily-shorted Reddit names like Macy’s and Dillard’s also jump.
9:43 a.m., Tootsie Roll is halted after its shares soar 53%:
Max Gokhman, director of asset allocation at Pacific Life Fund Advisors, via IB chat from Costa Mesa, CA:
09:48:06 Wow ok, I didn't even know that was a stock
09:48:17 Or, rather, a stonk
10 a.m., Newton, MA:
Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., sees a direct link between the speculative retail buying of heavily-shorted stocks and the broader market decline, which takes the S&P 500 down roughly 1.5%.
“It’s due to concerns about hedge funds. A lot of them are getting burned by their shorts, and I think the market is worried that they’ll have to sell some stocks to meet their margin calls.”
10:16 a.m., r/wallstreetbets:
The crush of retail trading causes outages at several online brokerages. Charles Schwab, Robinhood, E*Trade and Fidelity are all hit by service disruptions. TD Ameritrade limits some transactions on shares of GameStop, AMC and others. It says high volume may have curtailed access to its mobile app and urges clients to use its other platforms.
Some redditors see darker motives:
10:44 a.m., the number of “degenerates” on r/wallstreetbets tops 3 million:
A user named WildInjury celebrates with this NSFW post, “3 F---ING MILLION OF US. NEVER STOP! TENDIES FOR 2021!”
11:32 a.m., r/wallstreetbets:
A user claiming to be Elon Musk piles on ...
11:33 a.m., Mountain View, CA:
The froth is also alive and well in SPAC land.
*23ANDME SAID TO BE IN TALKS ON GO-PUBLIC DEAL VIA BRANSON SPAC
*23ANDME DEAL COULD BE VALUED AT ROUGHLY $4 BILLION
12:08 p.m., AMC trades at $14.19, up 186% from its previous close:
The movie theater operator says it sold 63.3 million shares in at-the market transactions since Jan. 25, raising about $305 million in the process.
YOLO indeed. Meanwhile on WSB, the hedge fund taunts keep coming ...
12:53 p.m., GameStop shares trade at $338.83, up 129% on the day:
On Stocktwits, Dude2U has some thoughts ...
Less than a half an hour later, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says at a briefing that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and others are monitoring the situation with GameStop.
1:56 p.m., shares of Koss are halted again after surging 296%
The circuit-breaker halt is one of at least 84 on the day. As of roughly 2:30 p.m., trading in Koss, a maker of loudspeakers and headphones, has been stopped at least 18 times.
2:39 p.m., Federal Reserve press conference following its policy meeting:
Fed Chair Jay Powell starts taking questions from the Eccles Building in Washington D.C. The first one is on Gamestop’s wild ride. He ducks it.
“I don’t want to comment on a particular company,” Powell says. He parries away other questions related to monetary policy and market froth.
In a chatroom for Reddit users, SmokeHalo responds: “Powell dodging questions like neo dodging bullets.”
3:20 p.m., Washington D.C.:
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren releases a sharply worded statement pressuring the Biden administration’s financial regulators to crack down on Wall Street, citing the frenzied volatility in GameStop.
“For years, the same hedge funds, private equity firms, and wealthy investors dismayed by the GameStop trades have treated the stock market like their own personal casino while everyone else pays the price,” she said. “It’s long past time for the SEC and other financial regulators to wake up and do their jobs — and with a new administration and Democrats running Congress, I intend to make sure they do.”
3:30 p.m., shares of companies with tickers starting “BB” surge to highs:
4 p.m., the stock market closes, with the S&P 500 falling 2.6%, the most since October:
The slump does nothing to damp the enthusiasm on r/wallstreetbets. In the past 24 hours alone, more than 800,000 users join.
4:34 p.m., shortly after the market closes:
The SEC releases a statement saying that it’s “actively monitoring the on-going market volatility in the options and equities markets.”
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