Shares of GameStop surged as much as 1,600% between Jan. 11 and Wednesday after an unprecedented stock market battle pitting amateur investors piling on the videogame retailer’s shares against hedge funds scrambling to cover losing bets.
The use of volatile call options, herd buying through social network Reddit, the involvement of Tesla’s Elon Musk and a burst of copycat trades in an apparent speculative retail bubble have contributed to put low profile GameStop on the front page of financial news.
The following are significant moments in the GameStop share price:
Dec. 8, 2020: GameStop shares tank after company misses Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue as pandemic-led store closures and intense competition from digital-game sellers hit sales.
Jan 11: GameStop appoints Chewy.com founder and two other e-commerce veterans to its board in a deal with investor Ryan Cohen’s RC Ventures, as it doubles down on digital sales
Jan 12: Short interest at 70.9 mln shares, down from 71.2 mln on Jan 8, per S3 Partners. Notional value of short bets rose to $1.4 bln from $1.3 bln, reflecting the rising stock price
Jan 13: GameStops shares rise 57%, followed by another 27% jump the next day to $39.90. Its median target price among analysts is only $12.50.
Jan 19: Short seller Citron Research takes aim. Tweets about GameStop, saying buyers at these levels are “the suckers at this poker game” and stock “back to $20 fast.”
Jan 20: Citron Research delays negative report, says it does not want to go live with its report on the stock
Jan 22: Shares rise another 50%.
Jan 25: GameStop stock soars as much 144% then settles up 18% with retail traders storming in to buy more.
Jan 26: Elon Musk tweets “Gamestonk!!”, along with a link to Reddit’s Wallstreetbets stock trading discussion group, where supporters refer to the Tesla CEO as “Papa Musk.” here
Jan 26: Shares surge 92.7%. Top securities regulator in Massachusetts reportedly says trading in GameStop suggests there is something “systemically wrong” with the options trading.
Jan 27: Melvin Capital and Citron closes the majority of their GameStop position at a loss