Reddit traders are driving rallies in a string of new meme stocks this week, including Clean Energy Fuels and ContextLogic, among others.
Clean Energy Fuels, the Newport Beach, California-based natural gas provider, jumped 45% Wednesday, as ContextLogic, the mobile e-commerce company, jumped 28%, building on a 50% rise during Tuesday’s trading session.
The two new meme stocks were among the top-trending companies on Reddit investing threads like Wall Street Bets, according to HypeEquity data. Largely bullish Redditors agreed ContextLogic “has room to grow,” and as for Clean Energy Fuels, the phrase “short squeeze” was a common theme.
Recently, Redditors have also renewed their interest in Clover Health, the health-insurance provider backed by Chamath Palihapitiya. The stock – which plummeted earlier this year following a report from short-seller Hindenberg Research accusing the company of misleading investors, customers, and the federal government – remained the top-hyped name on Reddit. The stock was also trending on Twitter.
Auto retailer CarLotz and electric vehicle-maker Workhorse bolstered gains from Tuesday, rising as much as 10% and 18%, respectively, thanks to their new status as meme stocks among Reddit investors. Meanwhile, electric-vehicle manufacturer Canoo whipsawed after rallying the day prior.
As for Wendy’s, the fast-food restaurant struggled to replicate the previous day’s rally as it dropped as much as 7% after the market opened. The stock on Tuesday ended at its highest level in nearly two decades, at $28.87, higher by almost 26%.
For Wendy’s, the word “tendy” was the most mentioned in posts about the company – a reference to both chicken nuggets on the menu and Reddit lingo that equates “tendies” with returns on investment.
Meanwhile, meme stock classics AMC Entertainment and BlackBerry, which have remained steady this week after massive gains last week, dropped. The movie-theater chain fell as much as 12%, while BlackBerry dropped 9%. GameStop, this year’s original meme stock, saw a modest rise.
Chamath Palihapitiya filed for four blank-check companies on Wednesday along with a new partner, according to paperwork registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The latest additions build on his roster of 6 special-purpose acquisition companies already raised, yielding more than $1 billion.
The four new SPACs are launched under a partnership between Palihapitiya’s venture firm Social Capital and hedge fund Suvretta Capital Management. One of Suvretta’s core investing strategies is to identify companies that are disruptive to the healthcare sector.
The companies may initially pursue a combination target in any industry as part of its proposed business strategy, filings state. Each SPAC is seeking to raise $200 million with ultimate specific focuses within the biotech industry: neurology, oncology, organs, and immunology.
They are each named Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp., distinguished by the Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV. The tech billionaire has said he plans to eventually do 26 SPAC deals, one for every letter of the alphabet.
Palihapitiya will serve as CEO and chairman, while Suvretta’s healthcare portfolio manager, Kishen Mehta, will serve as president.
“Our company unites scientists, physicians, entrepreneurs and biotechnology-oriented investors around a shared vision of identifying and investing in innovative and agile biotechnology companies,” the filing stated.
The SPACs, which carry the ticker symbols DNAA, DNAB, DNAC, and DNAD, are expected to trade on the Nasdaq.
Suvretta, founded in 2011 by former Soros fund manager Aaron Cowen, is dedicated to three investing strategies. One of these is its healthcare-focused unit Averill, set up in March 2020.
Chamath Palihapitiya once blasted an older man for challenging the billionaire’s track record and projections for his first blank-check company deal, Virgin Galactic, according to a report published Monday by The New Yorker.
While he was pitching the company’s prospects to investors in 2019, the Social Capital CEO met a bunch of mutual-fund managers in New York. He delivered an impressive speech about helping mankind reach the stars with the spaceflight company, and underlined how it could change the world.
Chamath is the chairman of Virgin Galactic. He failed to include that millions had gone up in smoke for the company after it spent heavily to ready its spaceships, and that it had missed every self-imposed deadline in its 15-year history, the New Yorker’s Charles Duhigg wrote.
A conservatively-dressed older attendee present in the audience cut into the billionaire’s speech, questioning his proclamations, the report said. After allowing him to sound off for a while, Palihapitiya retorted with: “You’re a complete f—ing idiot.”
Astonished, the older gentleman had no response as the “SPAC King” laid into him. “Have you even looked at the prospectus? Did you even f—ing Google me before you came in here?”
More wide-eyed attendees were waiting in silence to see how the situation would end. “How lazy are you?” Palihapitiya said. “I don’t even want your f—ing money.”
But soon after, his remarks were met with laughter as everyone aged under 50 began smiling broadly. “It was brilliant,” one attendee told the New Yorker. “It was completely calculated. That old guy wasn’t ever gonna invest in space tourism. But the other people in the room – they loved it!”
About 50% of the group called the billionaire’s office later to declare they wanted to support the Virgin Galactic investment, the report said.
“People either love Chamath or they hate him, and that’s fantastic, because polarization gets attention,” the attendee was reported saying. “Polarization gets you on CNBC, it gets you Twitter followers, it gets you a megaphone. If you believe that Chamath can get an hour on CNBC to explain Virgin Galactic, then you want to buy into this deal, because attention is money.”
He and his business partner Ian Osborne indirectly own millions of shares in the space-tourism company via their investment vehicle, SCH Sponsor Corp.
Social Capital didn’t immediately respond on behalf of its CEO Chamath Palihapitiya to Insider’s request for comment.
The VSS Unity took off from Spaceport America, New Mexico, with a three-person crew Saturday. Once it reached a speed of Mach 3, the mothership VMS Eve, released it, and the VSS Unity reached space at an altitude of 55.45 miles before returning to the spaceport, the company said in a Saturday press release.
“Today’s flight showcased the inherent elegance and safety of our spaceflight system, while marking a major step forward for both Virgin Galactic and human spaceflight in New Mexico,” Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said in the statement, adding that the company is making “the dream of private space travel a reality.”
Social media chatter around the commercial space-flight company took off following the flight. Virgin Galactic was the top stock in conversation among Reddit retail traders Monday with the flight being the most talked about subject, according to data from Hype Equity, which tracks pages like Wall Street Bets.
The company’s rocket failed to reach outer space in December, and then in February, it delayed a test flight because of electromagnetic interference.
Following the review of all test data and inspection of the spaceship and mothership, the company said it plans to proceed with the next flight test milestone.
Shares of the Las Cruces, New Mexico-based space tourism company, which went public in October 2019 with a SPAC, have largely declined this year after the failed test flight and after the company’s founder, Richard Branson, and its chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, sold their stakes in the business.
Retail traders on platforms such as Wall Street Bets drove the stock price to all-time highs in January and February, as it became a favorite on the subreddit amid high short-seller interest. Shares reached an all-time high of $52.41 in February, but gave back those gains in the following months, closing at $21.07 on May 21.
In pre-market trading Monday morning, shares traded about 20% higher at around $25.
In the Saturday press release, the company said the flight “gives Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut customers a glimpse of what lies ahead.”
But the Bloomberg report didn’t drive the same surge in Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. VI on Wednesday that it might have a few months ago when SPACs were all the rage on Wall Street. The SPAC vehicle was down 2% in Wednesday trades, signalling that investors might not be impressed with the potential deal.
The SPAC market has deflated following a peak in the first quarter of 2021. Few issuances have gone public since April, when the SEC signaled that it would increase regulatory scrutiny on the IPO vehicles, and SPAC stocks have cratered, with the Defiance Next Gen SPAC ETF down nearly 30% since its February peak.
The site has traded over $225 million within a month of its launch and is worth about $1 billion, according to a recent report from New York Magazine.
BitClout is designed to let people bet on the popularity of public figures by buying tokens associated with people’s profiles. Users can use BitClout coins to buy a Creator’s Coin and watch its value change based on the creator’s popularity on the site. The site started with 15,000 creator accounts preloaded from the most popular Twitter profiles.
At the moment, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the most expensive Creator Coin, coming in at nearly $70,000. The Creator Coins gain or lose value depending on how many people buy coins associated with the profile, as there are between 100 to 1,500 coins in existence for each profile.
Individuals included in the 15,000 preloaded Twitter profiles can claim their account by tweeting their BitClout public key, found under the profile section, alongside #bitclout. The creator then receives a blue check mark next to their account name and can begin earning a percentage of the profits from the Creator Coins associated with their name.
Even people outside of public figures and celebrities can profit off their own Creator Coins, as well as generate money investing in other accounts. BitClout investor @Sigil told Insider, he invested about $150 Canadian dollars in his BitClout account and made thousands within three days. The 17-year-old was also able to push his own coin’s value from $0 to a market cap over $500,000.
How to set up your BitClout account
The first step to setting up your BitClout account involves keep tracking of a “seed” phrase for your account. The string of non-related words operates as a type of passcode or safety measure for protecting your account.
At this point, it is important to save a picture or write down your seed phrase, as the site will require the phrase whenever you need to log in or out of your account. The site warns that if you lose your seed phrase, your account, along with the money you put into it, will be lost forever.
The next steps to setting up your account involves providing a phone number and an email address, as well as verifying your phone number.
Once you have officially created your account, you can choose whether to buy BitClout coins immediately, browse Creator Coins to buy, or update your profile information by claiming a username and avatar image.
On your profile you can also set your “Founder Reward Percentage.” The percentage is automatically set at 10%, but can be shifted anywhere from 0% t0 100%. The Founder percentage allows you to keep a certain percentage of your Creator Coins. If a founder sets the percentage too high it can discourage potential buyers, but owning your own coins can also help push the value of your own Creator Coins up.
How to buy BitClout coins
The only way to buy BitClout is by using bitcoin. Thus, the first step is to download a digital wallet app or create an account on a desktop and buy bitcoin.
Once the wallet is set up, the next step is to go to the “Buy BitClout” tab on the site. Copy the address under “Send Bitcoin to this address” and go back into the wallet app. In the app, select “Send Crypto to another wallet.” Then, select the amount of money you want to convert into BitClout and hit “Continue.”
When the next page appears on the digital wallet, paste your BitClout address into the “To” field and select the preview button. You will see a preview of the transfer, as well as the network fee. If the amount is an appropriate number, you can hit “Send now” on the digital wallet.
It should only take a few moments, but the amount should then appear on your BitClout account, under “Buy BitClout.” If It does not immediately appear, you can also hit “Refresh” under “Amount Deposited.”
Once the bitcoin has been deposited in your account, you can use the coins to buy BitClout coins. Prices for the coins fluctuate, but were $170 per BitClout on Friday.
Under “Step Two” on the page, type the amount of BitClout you want to buy or convert all the bitcoin by hitting “Max.”
In order to convert to BitClout, you must exchange at least 0.0001 Bitcoin, or about $6.40, according to the current value of BitCoin. Once the number has been entered, you can hit “Buy BitClout.” Then a review of your purchase will pop up on the screen; hit the “OK” button to complete the conversion.
After you hit “OK,” you will get a screen showing your new BitClout balance.
How to use the BitClout site
On the site you can follow other accounts, like, comment and direct message, much like Twitter. The feed is designed to emulate the feel of Twitter, but also uses a creator’s market value to determine which comments are prioritized on accounts. All posts are public on the site’s general feed.
Each action requires users to maintain some BitClout coins in order to pay the gas fees for each action which is recorded on the blockchain.
Users can also invest in Creator Coins by searching for the profiles and selecting the “Buy” button, which will be followed by a confirmation page.
While the most expensive Creator Coin on BitClout currently belongs to Musk, BitClout investor @Sigil argues the best way to make money on the site is to invest in accounts that are valued near zero.
“They can only go up and you can help push them up by buying into the account,” @Sigil told Insider.
When you create a profile, there are initially zero coins in existence, which makes the price for the creator’s coins $0. When a user buys into another account, BitClout mints the coins and sells them according to a price curve, making it more and more expensive as more coins are purchased.
The money you use to buy the coins gets stored in the user’s profile and adds to the value of the account. You can also sell the coins and the profile will buy them back from you, causing the account’s value to go down.
While BitClout has become increasingly popular since it was launched over a month ago, the site is already facing criticism
Many critics of the site have questioned the security of the platform, as well as the anonymity of its creator known only as @diamondhands. BitClout’s bitcoin holdings, which typically are secured on the blockchain, are held privately in servers, NY Mag reported. The site also does not currently have an option to exchange its coins for US dollars.
BitClout responded to doubts about its security on Twitter. “A rumor has been going around that BitClout is insecure,” @Bitclout_ tweeted. “Just wanted to say this is untrue full-stop. The dev community completed multiple audits specifically around seed phrase handling prior to launch, and the nodes have been running since last year without issue.”
@Sigil told Insider he doesn’t see BitClout as any different than bitcoin. When the first decentralized cryptocurrency launched it also did not have a way to directly convert the bitcoins back to US dollars.
For now, users can sell their coins on various Discord servers or via Twitter threads. @Sigil is also working on his own business to solve this problem by building his own trading site called BitSwap, a site that allows people to buy and sell BitClout for Ethereum.
Chamath Palihapitiya’s Clover Health surged as much as 36% on Friday after adding former Trump official Demetrios Kouzoukas to its board of directors.
Kouzoukas served as director of the Center for Medicare and the principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the last four years during the Trump administration.
Vivek Garipalli, Clover’s CEO, said in a statement that Kouzoukas “understands the opportunity and challenge of operating at scale” and that “he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Medicare rules and regulations, combined with an incredibly astute business and strategy acumen,” per Yahoo Finance.
In that pitch, Clover said it expects to manage up to $1.1 billion in medical expenses and care for 200,000 seniors through the direct contracting program in 2021, and predicted that figure will grow to 450,000 seniors by 2023.
The company also plans to increase its membership nearly five-fold this year as a result of the new federal program meant to lower costs for Medicare and encourage risk-sharing.
The direct-contracting program kicked off April 1 and 53 entities were included as Direct Contracting Entities, including Clover Health.
Now, with the addition of Kouzoukas to the board, investors could be thinking that Clover’s expectations to care for 200,000 seniors and manage over $1 billion in medical expenses through the CMS program are set to become a reality.
However, despite the recent rise in share prices, Clover Health is still trading below well below its Nasdaq opening price of $15.30. It has traded below that price since a high-profile short-seller report from Hindenburg Research that alleged the company is a “broken business” facing an active, undisclosed DOJ investigation.
The law firm Wolf Popper LLP echoed many of the claims in that report on March 18 when it filed multiple federal securities class action lawsuits in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against Clover Health.
The law firm said Clover Health has made repeated “false and misleading statements” to investors.
Clover Health also posted a net loss of $91.6 million on revenue of $673 million in 2020, according to its SEC filings.
Still, the firm does have some support from analysts at CitiBank who hold a “buy” rating and a $19 price target for the stock.
Clover Health traded up 26.94% as of 1:11 p.m. ET on Friday.
Elite investor David Einhorn blasted market regulators, called out Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya for juicing assets, and praised GameStop champion Keith Gill in a letter to Greenlight Capital investors this week.
The Greenlight president also highlighted “The Big Short” investor Michael Burry’s Twitter exit, and pushed for greater scrutiny of Archegos Capital, the family office that blew up in March. Einhorn’s latest letter was obtained by ValueWalk.
Here are Einhorn’s 11 best quotes, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “The Fed wants to be ahead of the curve on the downside to protect the stock market and corporate bondholders the economy. Behind the curve is fine on the way up no matter how frothy the stock market the recovery is.” – suggesting the Federal Reserve cares more about stock prices and corporate profits than the economy.
2. “If we swing a little less hard, we should hit more balls.” – on his decision to short fewer individual stocks after several of Greenlight’s positions were hit during the meme-stock frenzy.
3. “Investors discussing why they think GameStop (or any other stock) should go up or down ought to be encouraged. There is no reason to drag anyone before Congress for making a stock pick.” – defending Keith Gill, who goes by Roaring Kitty on YouTube, for his “great call” on GameStop.
4. “The real jet fuel on the GameStop squeeze came from Chamath Palihapitiya and Elon Musk, whose appearances on TV and Twitter, respectively, at a critical moment further destabilized the situation.” – Einhorn suggested Palihapitiya intentionally disrupted Robinhood because it competes with one of his investments, SoFi.
5. “If regulators wanted Elon Musk to stop manipulating stocks, they should have done so with more than a light slap on the wrist when they accused him of manipulating Tesla’s shares in 2018. The laws don’t apply to him and he can do whatever he wants.”
6. “Quasi-anarchy appears to rule in markets. Sure, Dr. Michael Burry, famed for his role in ‘The Big Short,’ reportedly received a visit from the SEC after tweeting warnings about recent market trends – and decided to stop publicly speaking truth to power. But for the most part, there is no cop on the beat.” – complaining that regulators have been defanged, and corporate executives can break the rules with impunity.
7. “Hometown International owns a single deli in rural New Jersey, yet it reached a market cap of $113 million in February. The largest shareholder is also the CEO/CFO/treasurer and a director, who also happens to be the wrestling coach of the high school next door to the deli. The pastrami must be amazing.” – underscoring the number of questionable companies that regulators are overlooking.
8. “From a traditional perspective, the market is fractured and possibly in the process of breaking completely.” – highlighting a dangerous lack of regulation and the risk of casual investors getting scammed.
9. “It was as if Bernie Madoff had been told to pay a small fine and stop ripping off New Yorkers, but to go ahead and have fun with the Palm Beach crowd.” – criticizing regulators for only slapping the Tether crypto exchange with a $19 million penalty and a New York ban.
10. “If Congress wants to understand why GameStop stock did what it did, or more recently how the ‘Arch-Egos’ fund cornered the market in a handful of stocks, it would be better to call to account the absentee regulators and their philosophical backers.”
11. “‘Arch-Egos’ was able to buy up most of the float of GSX Techedu, causing the stock to soar 400% in the face of unrefuted allegations of massive fraud. The SEC has an ongoing investigation of GSX but appears to not have noticed a single fund (or a small group of funds) essentially cornering the market. A traditionalist could say this was market manipulation and transparently illegal.”
GreenLight Capital’s David Einhorn believes billionaires Chamath Palihapitiya and Elon Musk were “the real jet fuel” for the GameStop short squeeze and that regulators have been defanged when it comes to policing markets.
In a letter to investors released on Thursday that discusses his firm’s first-quarter results, Einhorn ripped into Chamath Palihapitiya, Elon Musk, and US securities regulators.
Einhorn said there’s “no cop on the beat” to regulate equities these days and argued “quasi-anarchy appears to rule” the markets.
“Many who would never support defunding the police have supported – and for all intents and purposes have succeeded – in almost completely defanging, if not defunding, the regulators,” Einhorn wrote.
Einhorn added that he believes the GameStop short squeeze that occurred at the start of 2021 was fueled in large part by billionaires Chamath Palihapitiya and Elon Musk.
“We note that the real jet fuel on the GME squeeze came from Chamath Palihapitiya and Elon Musk, whose appearances on TV and Twitter, respectively, at a critical moment further destabilized the situation,” Einhorn wrote.
The GreenLight Capital founder said Palihapitiya may have had an incentive to harm his competitor Robinhood when he tweeted out “let’s goooooo!!!!” after buying February $115 calls on shares of GameStop back on January 26.
“Mr. Palihapitiya controls SoFi, which competes with Robinhood, and left us with the impression that by destabilizing GME he could harm a competitor,” Einhorn wrote.
Palihapitiya did donate all of his gains in GameStop and the initial capital for the investment to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy’s charity, but the billionaire was active in defending the Reddit trader movement that pushed GameStop shares higher.
Palihapitiya appeared on CNBC on January 27 and said the GameStop phenomenon was an example of individual investors pushing back against the Wall Street establishment.
Einhorn went even further with his critiques of Elon Musk in his letter to investors.
The GreenLight Capital founder said that if regulators wanted Elon Musk to stop manipulating stocks, they should have hit him with more than a “light slap on the wrist when they accused him of manipulating Tesla’s shares in 2018.”
“The laws don’t apply to him and he can do whatever he wants,” Einhorn added.
The fund manager’s quotes about GameStop certainly stick out, though the fund’s performance is also noteworthy for its loss in the quarter. Einhorn’s funds returned -0.1% in the first three months of 2021, compared to a 6.2% return for the S&P 500 index.
Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya is taking his hunt for businesses to Britain.
Social Capital Hedosophia – the investment firm run by Palihapitiya and his partner Ian Osborne – is eyeing a $1 billion London listing for a company focused on fighting climate change, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
The new UK vehicle won’t be structured as a SPAC, but it will seek to make several acquisitions, sources told Bloomberg. It will also work on internal solutions to environmental problems, they said.
Palihapitiya, who will reportedly serve as CEO of the new company, has been shifting his gaze towards environmental investments recently. In January, he invested in commercial EV manufacturer Proterra ahead of its merger with blank-check firm ArcLight Clean Transition Corp.
He also sold his entire personal stake in Virgin Galactic for more than $200 million last week to help finance “a large investment I am making towards fighting climate change,” he told Insider in an emailed statement following the sale.