GameStop shares surge 140% as short sellers start to surrender

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By Paul Jarvis

GameStop Corp. extended its surge Wednesday as bullish day traders kept the upper hand over short sellers who started to capitulate.

The stock rose 140% to $354.83 as of 9:30 a.m. in New York, after having surged more than threefold in the past four days.

The meteoric rally has left short sellers counting the cost in a battle with day traders who have taken to Reddit to encourage others to follow their lead. Melvin Capital closed out its short position, while Citron Capital’s Andrew Left said the firm covered the majority of its short in “the $90’s at a loss of 100%.”

“It does feel like rationality and fundamentals are just kind of dead,” J Capital Research co-founder Anne Stevenson-Yang said by telephone. “If you’re short you’re in a very difficult position because you have to buy the stock to get out, so you end with a heavily overvalued stock.”

GameStop didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The stock had gyrated wildly outside of regular hours since Tuesday’s 93% surge, a move that meant GameStop has risen more than eightfold this month in a dizzying rally fueled by Reddit-charged day traders.

“It really just goes to show the classic saying that markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent,” said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments. “So you can try to fight this as long as you want but at some point you just have to give in and just step to the sidelines.”

The stock’s gains were fanned late Tuesday after Tesla Inc. chief Elon Musk tweeted a link to a Reddit thread about the company. But famed fund manager Michael Burry warned that the manic rally has gotten out of hand, calling the stock’s rise “unnatural, insane, and dangerous.”

“That feels like the phase of the market we’re in right now, where things are going a little crazy and definitely divorced from fundamentals,” Taylor said.

Bloomberg

Another note of caution was provided Wednesday by Bank of America Corp. analysts. While raising their price target to $10 from $1.60 to reflect the stock’s recent surge, they noted that GameStop is in “a weaker not a stronger place” and reiterated their underperform recommendation.

“While it is difficult to know how much very high short interest and retail ownership could continue to put upward pressure on the shares, we think fundamentals will again factor into valuation,” analysts led by Curtis Nagle wrote in a note. “We remain skeptical on the potential for a turnaround.”

Gamestop 2Bloomberg

Euphoria born in day-trader chat rooms has turned GameStop into the biggest story stock of the retail era, its improbable surge an emblem of the newfound power of individual investors. At the same time, it’s become a major headache for institutional investors betting it would fall. An epic short squeeze lifting the shares has set off a search for other companies that might be similarly vulnerable, with Express Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. among stocks surging in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Gamestop 3Bloomberg

“The thing about these manias is there’s always enough people who make 600% or 1,000% and tell everybody about it that everybody gets excited about it,” said Anne Stevenson-Yang. “The thing is it’s not the majority of those people and eventually a whole bunch of people lose money.”

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