SoFi is soaring in popularity on Reddit as retail investors look for opportunities in the fintech company following its merger with a Chamath Palihapitiya-backed SPAC

Chamath Palihapitiya
  • Chamath Palihapitiya-backed SoFi Technologies is gaining steam among Redditors.
  • Comments about the company, which went public last month, surged on Reddit this week.
  • Retail traders noted the end of the post-merger lockup period and the high short interest.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SoFi Technologies is quickly gaining traction among retail investors.

The fintech company that went public via a Chamath Palihapitiya-backed SPAC last month has seen an influx of retail flows in the last week, according to data from Vanda Research.

SoFi retail inflows Vanda Research

In a note, Vanda analyst Giacomo Pierantoni and senior strategist Ben Onatibia said the stock is one that “looks increasingly likely to capture some notoriety” as comments about the company accounted for 20% of activity on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum in the last day.

The analysts noted the end of the post-merger lockup period and the rise in short interest as “the two main arguments to buy the stock” among retail traders.

One Redditor, who received 500 upvotes, said in a post that the end of the lockup period Monday would give retail traders an opportunity to buy into the stock. Shares dropped 2% Tuesday, and Wednesday they rose 2.1% at 8:40 a.m. in New York.

Another Redditor, who received 1,600 upvotes, posted a bullish view on the company, saying it has a lot of potential.

“The moment I heard SOFI was going public was the moment I dropped a lot of money into it, used the app for a long time and they’re going to be dominating the FinTech sector,” the Redditor said.

Redditors, who have become known to invest in heavily shorted companies, also noted SoFi’s high short interest rate. According to Fintel.io, the company has a short-volume ratio of 21%.

Travis Rehl, the founder of Reddit investing-tracker HypeEquity, said in a morning note that many retail investors looking to hold SoFi long-term are comparing it to the next Square or PayPal. Among other financial services, the company has a trading platform called SoFi Invest.

The platform recently announced it would allow users to get in on the initial public offerings of four Palihapitiya-backed blank-check companies. Self-proclaimed “SPAC king” Palihapitiya is a favorite among retail investors, as other companies backed by him, including Clover Health and Virgin Galactic, have become meme stocks.

Read more: These 5 stocks have definite potential for a meme-driven short-squeeze this week, according to Fintel. One of them is even stealing the AMC and GameStop spotlight with its celebrity SPAC status.

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Palantir slumps as a lockup expiration opens 80% of its shares for trading

Palantir 1
Palantir logo on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • Palantir’s stock sank on Thursday as a lockup expiration allowed 80% of the company’s shares to trade on the open market.
  • Citi analyst Tyler Radke warned of a potential fall due to the lockup expiration in a note to clients in January.
  • Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, said she still believes Palantir is headed in the right direction as it spends on innovation.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Palantir’s stock sank on Thursday after a lockup expiration freed some 80% of the company’s shares to trade on the open market. The stock was down as much as nearly 7% shortly after the opening bell. 

Palantir had seen its share price more than triple since going public before a surprise earnings loss on Tuesday hurt momentum. Still, the company’s stock was up roughly 185% over the last six months prior to Thursday’s fall.

When the Denver-based firm went public via a direct listing back in September, early investors were forced to hold their shares due to a lockup clause. Now that the clause has expired, it means a number of big investors in Palantir could be looking to cash out amid the recent rally in the share price. If they do, it could drive the stock down significantly.

Citi analyst Tyler Radke warned about such an event back in January. The analyst downgraded Palantir to “sell” in a note to clients, claiming the Big Data company’s high valuation, decelerating growth, and lock-up expiration could lead to a sell-off.

Some big-time Palantir investors have already said they “will continue to sell shares as permitted.”

Soros Fund Management, which revealed in November it began investing in Palantir in 2012 and owned 18.46 million shares at one time, has said it will continue to divest from the Big Data firm.

“SFM does not approve of Palantir’s business practices,” the firm said in a statement last year. “SFM made this investment at a time when the negative social consequences of big data were less understood. SFM would not make an investment in Palantir today.”

Palantir still has a bevy of supporters, including numerous analysts. Goldman Sachs analysts more than doubled their price target to $34 per share for the Big Data firm after Tuesday’s earnings, citing a path to “sustainable growth.”

Another big Palantir supporter is Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest.

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Wood said Palantir’s CEO Alex Karp was “speaking our language” in the quarterly conference call and that the company’s aggressive investments are the right path forward. Sacrificing near-term profitability for long-term growth is a net positive. according to Wood.

The CEO argued companies “have not been spending enough on innovation” and praised Palantir for its “refreshing attitude.”

“We don’t want profits now, we want them to invest aggressively,” Wood said.

Palantir stock traded at $25.93 as of 9:53AM E.T. on Thursday.

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