GameStop and AMC short-sellers have lost almost $1 billion in just 5 days of trading amid a meme-stock rally

Stonks meme

  • GameStop and AMC short-sellers have lost $930 million on their positions over the last five days, according to data provider ORTEX.
  • Short positions for the stocks remains high with AMC at 18.3% of free float and GameStop at 21.8%.
  • The short-seller squeeze is exactly “what the Reddit army is hoping for,” said ORTEX’s co-founder.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors betting against GameStop and AMC Entertainment shares have lost nearly $1 billion in the last five trading days alone, new figures from ORTEX show.

According to the data, GameStop and AMC short-sellers lost $930 million on their positions over the last five days of trading as both stocks rallied. Monday alone, AMC shorts lost $210 million and GameStop shorts lost $227 million.

Short positions in the stocks remains high, which causes “large losses” for anyone with a short position, ORTEX co-founder Peter Hillerberg told Insider in an email. AMC short interest is at 18.3% of free float and GameStop short interest is at 21.8%, according to ORTEX.

“The sharp price increase can cause short position holders to try to close their positions by buying back the shares, causing additional demand which in turn can cause the share price to go up further,” Hillerberg said.

“This is what the ‘Reddit army’ is hoping for,” he said.

Read more: The GameStop mania driven by Reddit traders isn’t simple market trolling. It’s a populist movement threatening to disrupt the financial system to a degree Occupy Wall Street only dreamed of.

Shares of both companies fell Tuesday, according to data.

Before that, AMC was on a multi-day rally after Redditors on Wall Street Bets and other subreddit groups pushed for a short squeeze in the meme stock. On Twitter Monday, the phrase #SqueezeAMC was trending. That trend, Hillerberg said, indicates, “this is a large and very vocal community.”

Adam Aron, CEO of AMC – the world’s largest cinema chain operator – thanked Reddit and Robinhood traders on an earnings call earlier this month for boosting the stock. So far this year, shares have rallied roughly 500%.

The popular trend of meme stocks began with GameStop, though. In January, an army of Reddit day traders pushed the shares to rally from single to triple digits in an effort to squeeze short sellers.

Shares hit their lowest in a month on May 11, sinking to $136.50, and have since rallied, trading at around $175 Tuesday.

The company nodded at Redditors last week in a tweet that was later deleted in which an astronaut sat on the moon, a likely reference to a popular Reddit phrase about the stock price going “to the moon.”

GameStop short sellers have lost billions amid the share rally this year, forcing some to cut their losses and exit their positions.

Amid the months-long saga, GameStop has seen a management shakeup, with activist investor Ryan Cohen joining the board and CEO George Sherman announcing his departure. The company has also strengthened its balance sheet, eliminating $216 million in debt.

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GameStop short-seller Melvin Capital suffered a 49% loss in the 1st-quarter after being hit by the Reddit-fanned trading frenzy

Gabe Plotkin
Melvin Capital founder, Gabe Plotkin.

  • Gabe Plotkin’s Melvin Capital extended its first-quarter losses to 49%, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.
  • Melvin declined 53% in January, reversed some of that loss with a 22% gain in February, but slid 7% again in March.
  • Reddit traders hammered the hedge fund’s short positions against GameStop earlier this year.
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Melvin Capital, the hedge fund that dug itself into a hole during the GameStop saga, extended its first-quarter losses to 49%, according to a Bloomberg report.

The firm, founded by portfolio manager Gabe Plotkin, saw a 53% decline in January, reversed some of that loss by gaining 22% in February, but slid another 7% in March, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

Melvin was among a handful of short-sellers that got torched by the Wall Street Bets army that bid up GameStop’s shares, leading to massive losses for those that wagered bearish bets against the video-game retailer.

“51% to go,” a Wall Street Bets user posted on Reddit in response to Melvin’s first-quarter decline.

The fund closed its short position against GameStop on January 27. It started out this year with $12.5 billion in assets under management, but ended January with about $8 billion. Steve Cohen’s Point 72 and Ken Griffin’s Citadel injected a $2.75 billion investment in Melvin to support its battle against the Reddit army.

Plotkin racked up about $860 million through 2020 after his firm returned 53%, but January’s deep decline left him with an estimated personal loss of $460 million, Bloomberg reported.

Plotkin was grilled before a congressional panel in February, where he defended his short position and said it was never part of an effort to “artificially depress, or manipulate downward, the price of a stock.”

A spokesperson for Melvin didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Short-sellers have tripled bets against SPACs since the start of 2021 amid fears the blank-check frenzy has gone too far

Stock Market Bubble
  • More and more short-sellers are beginning to turn their attention to SPACs, which have experienced a boom in 2021.
  • They’ve more than tripled their bets against SPACs to $2.7 billion since the beginning of the year, according to data from S3 Partners.
  • Recent SPACs that have been targets of high profile short-sellers include XL Fleet and Lordstown Motors, among others.
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SPAC IPOs have been all the rage since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the trend has only accelerated in 2021. Now short-sellers are beginning to take notice.

The group of investors has tripled bearish bets against SPACs to $2.7 billion, from $724 million at the start of the year, according to data from S3 Partners first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Short-sellers have a lot of SPACs to sift through, given that the $166 billion raised by SPACs in the first quarter of 2021 exceeds all of the SPAC deals formed in 2020. But high-profile short-sellers seem to be having no problem finding their targets.

Muddy Water’s Carson Block released a report earlier this month on XL Fleet, a recent SPAC IPO that, according to Block, misled investors on an inflated revenue backlog for its retrofitted hybrid vehicles. The share price of XL Fleet has yet to recover from Block’s short report.

Short-seller firm Hindenburg Research, which rose to fame last year after it released a damaging short-report on Nikola, has also had success targeting SPAC firms. Hindenburg released a report on Lordstown Motors last week, alleging that the SPAC-merged company has “no revenue and no sellable product.” Shares of Lordstown dipped more than 20% and have yet to recover from the decline.

Even the SPACs led by billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya have been unable to avoid the scrutiny of short-sellers. Palihapitiya’s recent Social Capital SPAC merger with fintech firm SoFi has more than 20% of its share float sold short, according to data from Finviz.

Besides the underlying business concerns raised by short-sellers for SPACs, underlying trends in interest rates could be helping their bets against SPAC mergers. A majority of the companies going public via SPAC merger are not profitable, and don’t forecast profitability until years down the road.

The dearth of profits hasn’t jived well with investors as interest rates have risen over the past few months, sparking a rotation out of high-tech growth companies and into cyclical stocks in the energy and financial sectors.

Read more: ‘It’s been a motherf—ing rocket ride’ : A top NFT artist who’s sold over $60 million worth of crypto art breaks down how he’s capitalizing on the sudden boom – and shares how he positions his own portfolio

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Churchill Capital Corp. IV retail investors stung by the steep drop following the Lucid Motors deal are banding together on Reddit to ‘defend’ the stock

GettyImages 1230440907
Reddit logo.

A group of Churchill Capital Corp. IV retail investors hurt by the stock’s rapid fall are attempting to band together on Reddit to “defend” it from short sellers. 

The stock fell sharply in the days following Monday’s announcement that the SPAC would merge with luxury electric-vehicle maker Lucid Motors. 

A user going by u/MadMax212121, took to Reddit’s r/CCIV forum on Thursday to discuss what the trader described as “market manipulators” entering the stock.

In a post entitled, “LWSB: Lucid Wall Street Bets, all longs – CCIV heavily shorted by coordinated groups and manipulators. Why can’t we have a LWSB and defend. Are you in?” that garnered nearly 9,000 upvotes, the Redditor said retail traders should “keep buying” CCIV stock until it hits $300 per share.

The post echoed popular “David vs. Goliath” sentiments from past Wall Street Bets discussions arguing traders should join forces to “defend” CCIV from institutional short-sellers and bearish options traders. The post called CCIV a “heavily-shorted” stock.

However, according to data from The Wall Street Journal, short interest in CCIV was just 2.19% in February. Although the figure has risen over the past week. By comparison, Reddit darling GameStop has short interest of around 30%. 

With a lower short interest, it’s unlikely a short squeeze could occur, meaning that a GameStop-style rally in the share price is a long shot. Not only that, but hedge funds also own a considerable portion of CCIV shares.

In fact, the three top hedge fund owners of CCIV – Millennium Management, Karpus Management, and Alberta Investment Management – own over $400 million worth of shares in the SPAC, and institutional ownership in the company is over 55%, according to data from Nasdaq.

That didn’t stop Redditors from making their case.

“It takes time to build momentum. GME did not happen in one day. Be Patience. Shorts/puts will try to spoil momentum, but we together hold strong and move step by step. we will start first day war tomorrow. Sleep well Warriors,” u/MadMax212121 said.

Additionally, the traders have started their own forum dedicated specifically to Lucid Motors. It’s called Lucid Wall Street Bets or r/LWSB and currently has around 5,000 members.

While that’s a far cry from the nearly 10 million users on the main Wall Street Bets forum, the Lucid traders are gaining momentum.

Attempts to crowdsource funding to “defend” certain stocks from falling share prices has become a common occurrence on Reddit. It’s a phenomenon that has come despite the Securities and Exchange Commission saying they are looking into possible misinformation on social media sites like Reddit.

Shares of CCIV recovered as much as 17% on Friday before paring gains. 

CCIV chart 2


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GameStop short-sellers have lost $1.9 billion in just 2 days amid the stock’s latest spike

  • Short sellers lost $664 million on Wednesday as GameStop shares spiked 104% in the final 30 minutes of trading, S3 Partners said.
  • The stock’s 84% intraday gain on Thursday fueled another $1.19 billion in mark-to-market losses.
  • Reddit traders revived the GameStop rally this week on new hopes the company can reinvent itself.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Nearly one month after GameStop’s leap to record highs, Reddit traders are boosting the meme stock all over again. And just like in the January rally, short-sellers are hurting big.

Investors selling GameStop short – betting the stock price would decline – posted $664 million in mark-to-market losses as shares of the gaming retailer rocketed 104% into the close, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners. The stock’s 84% intraday gain fueled another $1.19 billion in losses, bringing the two-day total to more than $1.85 billion.

To be sure, the losses pale in comparison to those fueled by the January surge. GameStop shorts are down $10.75 billion year-to-date on their bearish bets, according to S3. The sum includes Thursday’s intraday rally.

GameStop first spiked higher last month as day traders uniting in online forums like the Wall Street Bets subreddit scooped up shares in hopes of driving a massive short squeeze. Such a technique involves driving shares high enough to force short-sellers to cover their own positions by buying the stock. Short-seller purchases further lift prices and form an upward spiral for the stock.

The Reddit-trader phenomenon faded through February as widespread selling pulled shares from their extremely elevated levels. Yet a last-minute rally on Wednesday reignited the buying frenzy and prompted new calls on Wall Street Bets to drive a new short squeeze.

It’s unlikely such a squeeze prompted the stock’s latest tear, Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3, told Insider in an email.

“While there were some buy-to-covers brought about by the large mark-to-market losses, they were offset by new short sellers looking for a pullback from this volatile price move,” he said.

The shorts are holding their ground, too. The number of GameStop shares shorted over the past week rose by 1.97 million, marking an increase of 15%.

Short interest in the stock is $1.42 billion, or 28.4% of the company’s tradeable shares. While still a large sum, that’s down significantly from the nearly 140% short interest seen earlier in 2021.

The number of shares sold short can decline even further if GameStop’s stock price holds, Dusaniwsky said. Losses are already big enough to concern bearish investors, and another rally could be what breaks their resolve, he added. 

“Many shorts are teetering on the edge of being squeezed out and a move back towards January’s high will certainly push many more shorts over the cliff,” Dusaniwsky said.

GameStop traded at $148.47 as of 3 p.m. ET Thursday, up 660% year-to-date.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 40 heavily shorted stocks could be the next GameStop if retail traders target them – and the group has already nearly doubled over the past 3 months

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Reddit day traders wanted to beat Wall Street to prove the system is rigged. Instead, they did it by losing.

A group of demonstrators are gathered by the New York Stock Exchange
A group of demonstrators are gathered by the New York Stock Exchange

  • Reddit day traders tried to beat Wall Street at its own game to prove that the system is rigged.
  • Instead, brokerages locked them out and their holdings tanked, while some hedge funds still won big.
  • Experts said Wall Street’s reaction showed just how stacked the deck is against small investors.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Keith Gill, the day trader and member of Reddit group WallStreetBets who is widely credited with igniting the recent GameStop trading frenzy, claimed in late January that he had turned his $54,000 investment into a $48 million dollar fortune.

Days later, it had been sliced by more than half to $22 million, and regulators had set their sights on Gill, investigating him over potential disclosure violations.

Many retail investors fared far worse. One Robinhood user lost $70,000 in savings and contemplated committing suicide. Another, Alexander Kearns, did.

GameStop’s stock, which had peaked at more than $480, had dropped to around $52 as of Friday.

Before the rollercoaster went off the rails, however, one hedge fund walked away with a $700 million profit, brokerage app Robinhood raised billions in new financing after being forced to restrict its users from buying stocks, and trading giant Citadel likely made a hefty sum from the increased market volatility.

While the dust has far from settled, and some Wall Street firms did lose big, a David versus Goliath victory now hardly seems like the most likely outcome. 

It had made for a compelling narrative, too: an army of retail investors – without deep pockets, sophisticated trading algorithms, proprietary market data, or other tools of the trade – banding together to beat powerful, corrupt financial institutions at their own game.

Ultimately though, Wall Street and other big-money investors still appear to have ended up on top, and experts, at least those outside the industry, say it’s that outcome that further proves how the system is rigged.

Insider spoke with three experts on financial markets – none of whom work at traditional financial services firms. They said there’s a lot of work to be done to make the markets work for small investors again, and, just as importantly, to restore the public’s faith that the markets can do just that.

“Geared to favor the big”

“The whole business is basically a power dynamic… it’s geared to favor the big over the small,” Garphil Julien, a research associate with the anti-monopoly think tank Open Markets Institute, told Insider. “Those with enormous amounts of capital, enormous amounts of money, will use their power to basically get what they want, and when they get what they want, someone else is going to lose,” he said.

He’s not alone in that assessment.

According to a recent CNBC poll, a record-breaking 57% of Americans view the stock market as a reflection only of how corporations and the wealthy are doing, not the rest of the country. That’s true among financial elites and Republicans as well, both historic defenders of the free markets.

“Is the market really fair for individual investors? Is it really competitive? What we’re seeing is that it’s not,” Julien said.

As former Wall Street analyst Alexis Goldstein recently put it in an op-ed for The New York Times: “Wall Street’s edge over retail traders remains, as always, structural,” and even if a bunch of Redditors band together, “the house still wins.” But, she argued, “rather than gambling on the dubious promise of more Americans gaining access to the casino, it’s time to rewrite the rules to ensure that the house doesn’t always win.”

Julien said that means adding more consumer protections, as well as cracking down on the monopolization of various segments of the financial services industry. For example, he pointed to brokerage apps, like the Morgan Stanley-owned E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade, which is owned by Charles Schwab.

Making money by “making money”

Another problem underlying the GameStop saga is that too many Wall Street firms have gotten into businesses that are inherently designed to extract as much money as possible from the financial system for their own gain, rather than helping allocate it toward uses that would help the economy overall.

Amid last month’s trading frenzy, the markets ultimately proved fairly resilient, but that doesn’t mean they’re working in ways that protect smaller investors who have more to lose.

“There will be a temptation to say… the market isn’t broken, everything’s fine,” Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, told Insider. “While it’s true that the market isn’t broken – yet – I don’t think it follows that everything is fine.”

Roper said it’s good to focus on improving transparency and accountability around practices that may involve conflicts of interest, such as payment for order flow, over which Robinhood and Citadel are both facing scrutiny, but that the issue is also far more fundamental and widespread.

Read more: Robinhood makes hundreds of millions from selling customer orders. That business model is about to come into focus.

“The financial services industry itself has sort of divorced itself from the more boring and less profitable job of helping to steer capital toward its best uses in support of the productive economy, and has for some time now, made most of its money making money,” Roper said.

“Financial firms make all of their money off of securitizing everything under the sun,” she said. “They found a way that it’s really profitable, and so they’re pursuing the profits even though the niche is overfilled.”

But that problem “was at the heart of the last financial crisis, and we didn’t solve it there,” Roper said, referring to the 2008 financial crisis.

Since then, there have been multiple near-crises and the problems have only gotten worse.

Robinhood itself has been criticized – and fined $65 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission – over high-frequency trading, a controversial practice that uses powerful software to execute large trades in fractions of a second, allowing firms to make money off momentary changes in the price of stocks. Wall Street banks are even evading regulations around derivatives trading – the same risky behavior that precipitated the 2008 crisis – according to financial blog Wall Street On Parade.

Roper said she doesn’t see dangerous Wall Street business models being addressed anytime soon, either.

“If we didn’t do it when Wall Street literally brought the global economy to the brink of collapse, I don’t think we’re going to do it now because some people on Reddit put on a short squeeze and caused some chaos in the markets for a few weeks,” she said. “I guess I’m as cynical as the people on WallStreetBets.”

“Broader public outrage”

Part of Americans’ frustration with the current financial system is that it has become so complex that only Wall Street insiders really seem to know how everything works, something the industry uses to its advantage to dodge blame in situations like GameStop.

“It’s another episode similar to those past ones of the public feeling like there are multiple things wrong here – not really know what is exactly wrong, but just feeling like something is not working,” Graham Steele, senior fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project, told Insider.

“It’s just a general popular sense that a system wherein this kind of scenario can come to pass, just fundamentally doesn’t work for the public and it is ‘rigged,’ or something else, but they know something is wrong.”

Steele also said widening inequality, pandemic response failures, and polarization around the election amplified the GameStop fury: “It feels like you’re layering a new financial episode on top of other, broader public outrage.”

That’s also apparent in the voices from across the political spectrum that have criticized Wall Street in recent weeks: progressive Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren; far-right Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz; and tech investors like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban.

But that’s where their agreement ends, with Democrats typically favoring government intervention, and Republicans typically pushing for more transparency and then letting the markets figure out the rest.

“In terms of the Silicon Valley folks,” Steele said, they’re “painting themselves as kind of populists, but a lot of them have their own sort of financial interests at stake here. A lot of their solutions are like, don’t use that app, use the app that I invested in.”

“I just don’t see Elizabeth Warren going out there pumping someone else’s trading app because a venture capitalist has said, ‘that’s the right thing to do,'” he added.

Elon Musk, for example, has spent the past few weeks hyping up cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin.

Ultimately, all three experts agreed that making the markets more equitable and aligned with the health of the broader economy will require reforms stretching far beyond the financial services industry.

“Fixing that system requires a whole host of policy solutions that run the gamut from financial regulation to tax policy to how we structure the retirement system to how we deliver healthcare to people,” Steele said.

Read more: The SEC is monitoring the GameStop trading frenzy. Here’s why lawyers and former regulators say clamping down on the market will be tough.

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A short squeeze happens when a stock suddenly spikes – a bind for traders who bet borrowed money it would drop

short squeeze
A short squeeze afflicts short-sellers, investors who have sold stocks they don’t actually own, in hopes of buying them back later for less money. If the stock rises instead, the strategy goes awry.

  • A short squeeze refers to a stock rise in price, adversely affecting investors who’d expected a decline.
  • Signs of an imminent short squeeze include heavy buying or a high amount of a stock’s shares being sold short.
  • Buy-limit orders and hedging strategies offer short-sellers some protection against a short squeeze.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Investing Reference library for more stories.

In late January 2021, shares of a company called GameStop stock, which had been trading around $2.57 per share, suddenly shot up, eventually as high as $500 – when users of the Reddit website subgroup Wall Street Bets began buying up shares. 

This was bad news for a lot of other investors, known as short-sellers, who had bet the stock would keep falling. Unlike most investors, who want their stocks to appreciate, short-sellers make money when stock prices go down and lose money when they go up. 

So when GameStop started gaining, these short-sellers were caught in what’s called a short squeeze. They had borrowed to support their pessimistic investment, and they now had to pay it back – by buying GameStop shares at the higher prices. Or else, hang on – and risk losing even more money.

 A short squeeze is a stock market phenomenon, something that happens to investors and traders who have acted on the assumption that an asset (a stock, usually) is going to fall – and it rises instead. Here’s how it happens.

What is a short squeeze?

To understand a short squeeze, it helps to understand short selling, aka shorting, a sophisticated investment strategy in which traders or investors sell stocks they don’t actually own, in hopes of buying them back later for less money. 

It works like this: A short-seller borrows shares (usually from their broker) they think are due for a fall or to keep on falling, and sells them on the open market at the current price. When the stock’s price drops, as the short-seller was betting it would, they then buy the shares back for the new, lower amount. They return the borrowed shares to their stockbroker, keeping the difference in price as profit. In the interim, they’re charged margin interest on the shorted shares until they pay them back.

The entire strategy hinges on the bearish view that the stock is going to drop in value. But what if it goes up instead? That’s when a short squeeze happens. 

When a stock rises sharply and suddenly, short-sellers scramble en masse to buy shares to cover their position (their loan from their broker). Each of these buy transactions drives the stock even higher, “squeezing” the short-seller even more. They have to keep covering their positions or get out totally – at a loss.

 How does a short squeeze happen?

 Here is how a short squeeze scenario unfolds:

  1. You identify a stock you believe is overvalued, and take a short position: borrowing and selling shares at today’s high price in anticipation the price will go down and you will be able to buy replacement shares at a much lower price.
  2. Instead, something happens causing the price of the stock to start going up. That “something” can be the company issuing a favorable earnings report, some sort of favorable news for its industry – or simply many other investors buying the stock (as happened with GameStop).
  3. You realize you are unable to buy the stock back at a low price. Instead of sinking, it’s climbing – and it exceeds the price you bought it for. At this point, you must either buy replacement shares at a higher price and pay back your broker at a loss, or buy even more shares than you need – in hopes that selling them for profit will help cover your losses.
  4. All this increased buying causes the stock to keep going up, forcing even more short-sellers like yourself into a tighter vise. You have the same choices as above, only the stakes keep mounting, and so do your potential losses.

Protecting yourself against a short squeeze 

There are specific actions you can take to try to protect yourself against a short squeeze or to at least alleviate its grip. 

  • Place stop-loss or buy-limit orders on your short positions to curb the damage. For example, if you short a stock at $50 per share, put in a buy-limit order at a certain percentage (5%, 10% or whatever your comfort level is) above that amount. If the shares rise to that price, it’ll automatically trigger a purchase, closing out your position. 

  • Hedge your short position with a long position – that is, buy the stock (or an option to buy the stock) to take advantage of rising prices. Yes, you’re betting against yourself, in a way, but at least you lessen the damages of the losses and benefit from the price appreciation. 

Predicting a short squeeze

Short squeezes are notorious for descending quickly and unpredictably. Still, there are signs a short squeeze may be coming:

  • Substantial amount of buying pressure. If you see a sudden uptick in the overall number of shares bought, this could be a warning sign of a pending short squeeze.
  • High short interest of 20% or above. “Short interest” is the percentage of the total number of outstanding shares held by short-sellers. A high short interest percentage means a large number of all a stock’s outstanding shares are being sold short. The higher the percentage, the more likely a short squeeze may be building. 
  • High Short Interest ratio (SIR) or days to cover above 10. SIR is a comparison of short interest to average daily trading volume. It represents the theoretical number of days, given average trading volume, short-sellers would need to exit their positions. The higher this number, the more likely a short squeeze is coming. Both short interest and SIR are on stock quote and screener websites such as FinViz.
  • Relative Strength Index (RSI) below 30. RSI indicates overbought or oversold conditions in the market on a scale of 0 to 100. A stock with a low RSI means it’s oversold – that is, trading at a very low price – and possibly due to increase; a high RSI indicates the stock is extremely overbought – trading at a high price – and possibly due to drop. Any RSI below 30 signals an imminent price rise, which could lead to a short squeeze. A company’s online stock listing usually includes its RSI, often under its Indicators section. 

The financial takeaway

A short squeeze can result when a stock – especially one that had been declining in price – suddenly goes up for whatever reason. 

This puts short-sellers, who bet the stock would drop or to keep on dropping, in a bind. They sold shares they didn’t actually own, and now, to cover their positions – repay the stock they borrowed -they have to buy increasingly expensive shares. Each of these buy transactions drives the stock even higher, forcing more short-sellers to spend more or get out at a loss. They call it a squeeze but it becomes more like a vicious cycle. 

There are indicators to predict a short squeeze, and ways to protect yourself against one. But overall, a short squeeze is one of the facts of life for a short-seller – and a reminder of the risks that sophisticated trading strategies like short selling carry. 

Related Coverage in Investing:

‘Buy the dip’ means purchasing a promising stock when its price drops, assuming a fast rebound and future profits

Goldman says the stock market is undergoing its biggest short squeeze in 25 years – and that has hedge funds dumping stock exposure at the fastest rate since 2009

Options let you lock in a good price on a stock without actually buying it – here’s how option trading works

A margin call means your broker is asking you to repay the money it lent you to buy stocks – and if you don’t, it could mean big losses for your portfolio

Trading and investing are two approaches to playing the stock market that bring their own benefits and risks

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GameStop buyers pivoting to silver are ‘running their heads into a wood chipper,’ macro analyst Tony Greer says

Silver bars.

  • GameStop investors shouldn’t see silver as their next big opportunity, TG Macro founder Tony Greer told Real Vision.
  • The market analyst said Wall Street Bets fans are choosing bad targets and risking heavy losses.
  • Here are Greer’s seven best quotes from the discussion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

GameStop buyers who have shifted their focus to silver are making a big mistake, TG Macro founder Tony Greer said in a RealVision interview this week.

The market analyst – who edits the Morning Navigator daily newsletter and previously worked in Goldman Sachs’ commodity-trading division – argued that Wall Street Bets members are oversimplifying narratives around meme stocks and other assets, picking poor targets, and putting themselves at risk of heavy losses.

Here are Greer’s seven best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “I’m seeing the younger generation fry itself in meme wars. Unfortunately, you leave a lot of facts out when you start meming the crap out of every story on Earth. We’re watching the Icarus print of the market meme burn itself to shreds right now.”

2. “A whole bunch of them made a whole bunch of money in GameStop. But the reality is the weakest of those traders that waded into GameStop last are the ones that probably got caught holding the bag too, and lost a whole bunch of their own money.”

Read More: Here’s how one SPAC-focused Reddit group is trying to prevent pump and dumps as retail traders throw markets into turmoil

3. “The GameStop guys went after American Airlines, they went after silver. I’m inspired by their spirit, but they’re trying to create a short squeeze in an airline that has been depressed for 10 years, and trying to create a squeeze off of the lows in a holding that every mutual fund has been choking on for 10 months. I’m sorry, man, but you’re just going to wake up sellers.”

4. “They are not comparing apples to apples with GameStop to silver. They’re two different animals, and they will not behave the same when under attack.”

5. “They’re getting an education the hard way. There’s a lot of money being incinerated and there’s a lot of hot air being wasted on this story that’s not taking it in the right direction.”

Read More: Morgan Stanley explains why the frenzied day trading in GameStop, AMC, and other stocks is not proof of a full-blown bubble – and shares its advice for navigating a short-term correction

6. “These guys are running their head into a wood chipper, and it doesn’t seem like it makes sense.”

7. “We mined 800 million ounces of silver a year. We don’t mine any new shares of GameStop ever. These guys, I think, learned that higher prices in precious metals wake up sellers who own the precious metal and have another year’s worth of production that they may like to hedge.”

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Michael Burry compared GameStop to ‘The Big Short’ – and said he would cash out if he won big on the stock

Michael Burry

  • Michael Burry compared the GameStop squeeze to “The Big Short” as a unique opportunity.
  • The investor highlighted the stock’s huge short interest, small market cap, and how unloved it was.
  • Burry said that if he had made life-changing money on GameStop, he would cash out.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Michael Burry compared the GameStop saga to “The Big Short” and suggested big winners should cash out in tweets on Friday and Saturday that have now been deleted.

“There really can’t be another GME,” the investor said. “Nothing else is/was even close to as shorted (100+% of float), so small (microcap), and so hated/ignored/dismissed prior to the #thebigshortsqueeze.”

“It was a uniquely perfect setup,” the Scion Asset Management boss continued. “There won’t be another like it. Much like #thebigshort.”

Read more: Bank of America warns of 3 looming catalysts that could send the bull market crashing in 2021 – and shares how to position for the ‘big change’ as the WallStreetBets crowd fights against the system

Burry is best known for his billion-dollar bet on a US housing-market crash in the mid-2000s, which was chronicled in Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short.”

The investor laid the groundwork for GameStop’s astronomical rally this month when he disclosed a 3% stake in the video-game retailer in August 2019, and began pushing for changes at the company.

Chewy cofounder Ryan Cohen followed his lead by taking a 13% stake in the retailer last year, and parlaying it into three board seats earlier this month.

Hordes of amateur investors, buoyed by Burry and Cohen’s votes of confidence, have seized the chance to squeeze short-sellers and make fast money by driving GameStop’s stock price up as much as 2,500% this month.

Read more: A veteran options trader breaks down the intricate strategy that Reddit traders used to outsmart Wall Street’s bet against GameStop – and shares 2 ways the parabolic rally could permanently alter the stock market

Burry highlighted the story of Keith Gill, the casual investor who goes by “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube and u/DeepFuckingValue on Reddit, in another tweet.

Gill plowed $54,000 into GameStop call options in June 2019 after determining the retailer’s stock was undervalued. He boasted $32 million in GameStop calls and shares and $14 million in cash as of Saturday, according to an unverified screenshot he posted on Reddit.

“Hey, $GME is now a $stonk and may go >$1000, but if I made a life-altering amount in this stock, I’d punch out,” Burry tweeted.

Read more: GameStop has surged more than 600% in the past week. 3 experts break down where the stock could go from here as Reddit’s army of traders take profits and search for their next targets.

“Main Street has Wall Street by the cojones. Great story/LOVE it. Tee it: bulls make money, bears make money, #pigsgetslaughtered,” he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to navigate GameStop madness – The strategy that outsmarted Wall Street – How Reddit traders are driving a populist movement

Hello and welcome to Insider Investing. I’m Joe Ciolli, and I’m here to guide you through what’s been happening in markets, as well as what to expect in the coming weeks. This week is packed with all the GameStop and Reddit content you could ever ask for.

Here’s what’s on the docket:

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Have thoughts on the newsletter? Just want to talk markets? Feel free to drop me a line at or on Twitter @JoeCiolli.

Your weekly recap and outlook

If you’re reading this, that means you managed to make it through the stock market’s most absurb week in recent memory. You’ll always remember where you were when Reddit day traders banded together and pumped 90’s nostalgia stocks like GameStop to the moon – an unprecedented uprising that sent ripples through every layer of the financial system.

The story starts, of course, with the traders themselves, who conduct their business on r/WallStreetBets subreddit. They threw the exact perfect mix of market savvy, anti-establishment sentiment, and sheer will into a blender and came out with a destabilizing cocktail that left established Wall Streeters scrambling clean up the mess.

The central concept was relatively simple: focus on buying heavily shorted stocks, which will hopefully squeeze those positions until they’re forced to close, pushing the stock up even further. Ideally that inspires people that feel left out to pile in. Rinse, repeat. That these companies – which included Nokia, BlackBerry, and BB Liquidating (formerly known as Blockbuster) – were nostalgic, past-their-prime businesses was an added bonus to the Reddit crowd, who are never ones to pass up a chance at irony.

But the phenomenon goes far deeper than that. Underlying the memes and the hubris rests an anti-establishment streak. For a portion of the WallStreetBets crowd, this undertaking isn’t just about making money. It’s about making Old Wall Street pay, and the group isn’t exactly being coy about that fact. “It seems Occupy Wall Street had the wrong approach,” the official WallStreetBets Twitter account posted on January 26.

So what’s the damage look like on Wall Street so far? Arguably the biggest casualty has been Melvin Capital, which held a short position on GameStop that’s left them down 53% year-to-date – performance so bad that investing titans Steve Cohen and Ken Griffin have had to bail them out

But it hasn’t been all negative. Silver Lake Partners saw a convertible-debt investment strike gold when AMC Entertainment’s stock surged this past week. The firm was able to flip that debt into stock, which it then sold at the peak for a smooth $113 million profit. Some have called it the “trade of a lifetime.”

Then there’s also the matter of the preferred trading platform for the Reddit army: Robinhood. The online brokerage had a week for the ages after restricting further buying of GameStop, then backtracking after backlash from everyone from AOC to Chamath Palihapitiya. There have also been reports that Robinhood was forced to draw on bank credit lines amid the madness. How this impacts the company’s quest to go public this year will be a story to watch in the coming weeks.

So where do we go from here? One thing to watch is how hedge funds react. They were already shedding equity exposure in the early days of the GameStop craze, and it’s possible the market dislocations exploited by Redditors will cause them to retreat further.

Many other questions remain. Who else was caught short and ultimately doomed by WallStreetBets? Who else raked in big returns like Silver Lake? When will the so-called meme stocks come plunging back down to earth? And will the stock market ever be the same? Keep watching this space to find out the answer to those, plus many more.

JOIN OUR LIVE EVENT: A conversation with Insider’s markets gurus on the GameStop and Reddit-trader phenomenon

Join us Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 1:00 p.m ET as deputy editor Joe Ciolli, markets and economy reporter Ben Winck, and senior investing reporter Vicky Huang discuss the GameStop phenomenon, the influence of WallStreetBets, and how the Reddit-fueled trade might end.

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How to navigate a GameStop crazed environment

GameStop Clerk

Ally Chief Investment Strategist Lindsey Bell says the meme-stock rally could be a good thing for average investors. Still, she says traders who want to play the newest hot stocks should understand they are speculating. Bell also advises investors to have a plan and stick to it when things get strange, and understand how unusual this time is.

Read the full story here:

A chief investment strategist breaks down how the GameStop saga could upend long-standing practices on Wall Street – and shares her 4-part advice for navigating the frenzied trading environment

The intricate strategy GameStop traders used to outsmart Wall Street

gamestop store line crowd

Steve Sosnick – the chief strategist of Interactive Brokers and head trader of its trading unit Timber Hill – breaks down the short squeeze and gamma squeeze Reddit traders put in place for GameStop. He also shares how the massive moves in these so-called meme stocks could permanently alter markets.

Read the full story here:

A veteran options trader breaks down the intricate strategy that Reddit traders used to outsmart Wall Street’s bet against GameStop – and shares 2 ways the parabolic rally could permanently alter the stock market

How Reddit-trader mania represents a full-fledged populist movement

occupy wall street reddit 2x1

The Reddit-fueled trading phenomenon lifting GameStop, AMC, and other stocks is backed by populist sentiments. Cries to dethrone the establishment and redistribute wealth resemble those seen at Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. The trend has all but certainly formed a bubble, but its political messaging can still live on.

Read the full story here:

The GameStop mania driven by Reddit traders isn’t simple market trolling. It’s a populist movement threatening to disrupt the financial system to a degree Occupy Wall Street only dreamed of.

JOIN OUR LIVE EVENT: Execs reveal what’s on tap for the red-hot IPO market in 2021

Join Insider on Wednesday, February 3 at 2:30 p.m. ET as Insider’s chief finance correspondent Dakin Campbell moderates a panel featuring Kim Posnett, Goldman Sachs partner and Internet investment banking chief, Greg Rodgers, a Latham & Watkins LLP attorney and direct-listings expert, and Mitchell Green, a venture capitalist at Lead Edge Capital who backed Uber, Spotify, Asana, and Alibaba.

These IPO experts will discuss what you can expect for the year ahead and how the recent changes have dramatically altered the calculus for startup entrepreneurs. They will also take reader questions. 

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Stock pick central

Seeking experts who are willing to name names? Look no further:

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