GameStop and other ‘Reddit stocks’ plunge following triple-digit gains

January 28, 2021, 7:51 PM UTC

GameStop’s stock chart looks more like a roller coaster than ever before.

As of Wednesday’s close, the stock was up an astronomical 1,556% in the past month. But after multiple trading apps like Robinhood restricting trading, shares of the most hyped-up (and heavily shorted) stocks like GameStop, AMC, and Nokia all plunged into the red.

As of afternoon trading on Thursday, GameStop was down over 24% after soaring over 130% just the day before. Among the other short squeezed stocks, AMC is down 51%, Nokia is off 26%, BlackBerry is down 38%, Express is off over 45%, Bed Bath & Beyond is trading down almost 39%, and even Tootsie (as in the candy) shares are currently down 12%. Some of those stocks also have among the highest short interest, with GameStop currently at the top with 122% short interest float, per financial data firm S3 Partners.

Despite the selloff and restrictions on buying Thursday, stocks like GameStop have cost short sellers a pretty penny, with short losses year-to-date down over $23 billion as of Wednesday’s close, per S3 Partners. The huge rise of some of these “Reddit names,” as Ihor Dusaniwsky, a managing director at S3 Partners, called them to Fortune, was instigated and fueled by online messaging boards like Reddit’s WallStreetBets.

It’s what some like Ivan Ćosović, founder of Dusseldorf-based Breakout Point GmbH, a data analytics firm that tracks retail investors and activist shorts, call “something new in the markets that’s being almost entirely driven by retail investors—what we call, ‘viral stocks.’ Just like there are viral tweets, there are viral stocks,” Ćosović recently told Fortune.

It’s unclear what will happen to these “viral stocks,” especially with retail trading platforms like Robinhood restricting trading and facing lawsuits. Or, if Reddit investors turn their attention to a new stock. As Ćosović said Wednesday, “They look for narratives—Today, the story is AMC. Tomorrow it’s something else, and no story is too small.”

For one, Russell Rhoads, head of research and consulting at EQDerivatives, told Fortune on Wednesday that “Any sort of run in the stock market—and we have been experiencing this—always seems to run longer to the upside than a lot of the seasoned professionals think that it will,” he said. “And most of us are kind of scratching our heads right now.”

“But,” he adds, “we do know these things ultimately end, and it’s not well.”

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