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Meme stock mania: How much $1,000 would be worth now if you invested earlier

June 4, 2021, 4:39 PM UTC

AMC and other meme stocks have dominated the news this week—and, really, most of the year.

A flurry of individual investors, spurred on (in part) by Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets community, has sent share prices soaring in companies that Wall Street had largely forgotten. And plenty of people have seen substantial gains in a short period of time.

The meme stock traders are largely of two camps: the day traders who ride the gains, then cash out quickly, and the long-term HODLers, the die-hards who see long-term potential in the stock.

There’s all sorts of FOMO from other investors and lots of finger-wagging from fundamentalists who say the numbers can’t sustain these stock prices, but individual investors don’t seem to care much about what those groups have to say.

What if, though, you were one of the early investors in three of the biggest meme stocks: GameStop, AMC, and Blackberry? How would your portfolio look today if you had bought and held? Here’s a look at what a $1,000 investment in the past could have been worth in the present.

Dec. 20, 2013: GameStop and Blackberry had already been trading for years, but this is the first historical data available for AMC, so it’s as good a starting point as any. Your $1,000 in the theater chain would currently be worth $2,760. The same investment in GameStop would have fetched you $5,230. And a Best Buy investor would have a portfolio worth $2,100.

March 27, 2015: AMC shares were at a high of $34.95 as moviegoers flocked to see Home. Investors who bought then would see that investment now worth $1,610. GameStop was at $38.36 at the time, bringing the return to $6,760. And Blackberry was down to $9.46, and your $1,000 would be worth $1,600 today.

Nov. 17, 2017: GameStop shares were well along their slow slide down from their 2015 peaks at this point, a descent that wouldn’t stop until this year. Shares were trading at $16.31. Your $1,000 would now be worth $15,940. Blackberry was on a bit of a rise, hitting $10.30, making the investment worth $1,490 today. And AMC was in a slump, hitting $12.95. An investment then could be cashed in for $4,250 now.

Dec. 21, 2018: Blackberry was in a rut, falling to $6.91. Investors on that day would see a value of $2,190 today. GameStop couldn’t catch a break, even though it was the company’s busiest season. Shares hit $11.96, making an investment then worth $21,560 now. AMC was in its typical zone, trading at $12.34, which would now be worth $4,440.

Jan. 3, 2020: Here’s where it really starts to get interesting. r/WallStreetBets wasn’t on anyone’s radar at the time, but 2020 was when the early individual investors decided to defy conventional wisdom and make a bet on some of these companies. At the start of the year, GameStop had fallen to $5.88 as digital distribution of video games continued to grow. A $1,000 investment at the start of last year would now be worth $43,830. AMC was chugging along okay at $7.32, and an investment then would now have a value of $7,470. Blackberry? It was down to $6.46. Today, that $1,000 you wagered on the stock would be worth $2,320.

March 13, 2020: The World Health Organization had just declared COVID-19 a pandemic and even blue-chip stocks were sinking. AMC, which was going to be especially hard hit, fell to $3.22. A $1,000 investment by the brave then would be worth $16,460 now. GameStop fell as low as $4.59, which would make your investment worth $55,550 now. And Blackberry stayed in its range at $4.38, which would be worth $3,460 now.

Jan 15, 2021: The ride was underway. GameStop had soared to a previously unimaginable $35.50. Investing at that high point would have earned you $7,180 toady. AMC was near the bottom at $2.33. Your $1,000 would be worth $22,920 now. And Blackberry loyalists would have bought at $9.84 and seen that investment turn into $1,540.

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