Wall Street’s mania over GameStop is on again, at least for one afternoon. Shares in the troubled video game company more than doubled Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 to $91.71 apiece, the stock’s best day since Jan. 27, when it was going for $347.51 a share. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Wall Street’s mania over GameStop is on again, at least for one afternoon. Shares in the troubled video game company more than doubled Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 to $91.71 apiece, the stock’s best day since Jan. 27, when it was going for $347.51 a share. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

GameStop shares double Wednesday after tumbling for much of February

Wall Street’s mania over GameStop is on again, at least for one afternoon

Wall Street’s mania over GameStop is on again, at least for one afternoon.

Shares in the troubled video game company more than doubled Wednesday to $91.71 apiece, the stock’s best day since Jan. 27, when it was going for $347.51 a share.

A rally in GameStop has been rare since it fell back to earth early this month. The stock, which soared 1,600% at one point in January, has been extremely volatile.. It’s down nearly 72% so far in February, though it’s still up nearly 387% this year.

Shares in AMC Entertainment, another stock hyped by online social media forums, jumped 18.1%. The movie theatre chain’s stock is up nearly 60% this month and about 329% this year.

The sudden, sharp move higher in GameStop and AMC Entertainment left even some members of Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which helped cheer the stocks’ meteoric rise last month, scratching their heads.

“Can we honestly sound off on what we think is happening?” wrote one Redditor. “Is there any reason for this 150% spike??” asked another.

GameStop’s wild ride shocked Wall Street, forcing the market to gird for more volatility. It prompted Congress to hold a House hearing last week into what led to the frenzy and whether smaller investors need to be shielded from taking big risks.

Individual investors on Reddit and other social media forums encouraged each other to buy GameStop, AMC Entertainment and select other stocks in a bid to hurt hedge funds that were betting the stocks would lose value. The move, known as a “short squeeze,” can lead traders who were using options to bet against a stock to abandon their bets. To do so, they have to buy shares of the stock, which pushes the price even higher.

GameStop was an extreme example because some of its shares had been sold short multiple times.

Gust Kepler, CEO of stocks and options platform BlackBoxStocks, said that he became aware around 3:30 EST Wednesday of “aggressive buying” of call options on GameStop shares. A call option gives a trader the right to buy a stock at a certain price at a later date.

“I am not certain that there’s another short squeeze going on like the one before, however, there are probably some funds who stayed short assuming the dust would settle,” Kepler said.

Another possible reason for GameStop’s sharp move: The Grapevine, Texas, company announced Wednesday that its chief financial officer will be resigning on March 26.

“The CFO exited the company and there’s talk of the company finally transforming from a brick and mortar to deploying their product in a digital way, and this is why we believe the stock shot up at the end of the day today,” Kepler said.

Some of the traders who bid up GameStop’s shares last month cited optimism that new board member Ryan Cohen, the founder of online pet store Chewy, would help turn the struggling retailer’s fortunes around.

The company has been struggling to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming and digital downloads that have rendered its more than 5,000 stores obsolete, even more so during the pandemic.

Some market watchers speculated that GameStop’s surprise reanimation was a reaction to critical comments from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man.

Speaking at the annual meeting of Los Angeles Daily Journal Wednesday, the Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman pinned the GameStop stock frenzy on small investors that he said were gambling on the stock market.

“That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you get a whole lot of people who are using liquid stock markets to gamble the way they would in betting on race horses,” Munger said.

The remarks didn’t win Munger many admirers on WallStreetBets. One Redditor posted a chart in the forum showing the spike in GameStop’s shares, adding: “TAKE THAT CHARLIE MUNGER.”

Stocks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(B.C. Government photo)
POLL QUESTION: Are you in favour of B.C.’s three-week ban on in-restaurant dining?

Dr. Bonnie Henry called the three week stoppage a “circuit breaker”

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Theatre manager Sophie L’Homme is ecstatic to share the news that Tofino’s aging Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre is finally getting upgrades. (Nora O’Malley photo)
BC Arts grant funding breathes new life into Tofino’s community theatre

“Once it’s done, it’s going to be a pride of the town.”

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

Pickleball is a favourite recreation for older adults on the West Coast. (Westerly file photo)
Pacific Rim Hospice releases older adult survey report

One key theme unearthed during the research process was the need for companionship

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read