It’s kind of like a scratch-and-win ticket, according to one Calgarian who got in on the David and Goliath battle between retail and institutional investors of GameStop, AMC and Nokia.
Another managed to double their investment in a couple of days.
If you’ve been following the situation involving the company GameStop and others like AMC Entertainment and Nokia, you’ll know that it’s pitted retail investors against institutional hedge fund managers.
(If not, we’ve included an explainer here.)
Chad (last name withheld), who lives in Calgary, has had an investment account for some time, but rarely used it. He’d used it most recently to roll into a few cannabis stocks.
“I’ve been an avid reddit user and for about a month now I’ve been seeing people making posts about GME,” he told LiveWire Calgary.
“They were really popular and kept showing up in the main feed.”
People were discussing user u/DeepFuckingValue and the accomplishments to date with the Game Stop trading. Chad said on Jan. 24, he ran across a reddit post that had a lot of information in it about the coup planned by retail investors.
He shared the post with others, mostly meeting resistance; others told him it was straight up gambling.
Still, that thread, and others from the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, convinced him to fold up his other investments and let it ride on GME.
He bought immediately on Monday (Jan. 25) at $90. Chad invested $6,000.
‘Throw some money at it and see what happens’
Calgarian Matt Daniels was a little late to the dance with GameStop. He’d read about it but didn’t react quick enough.
He did post $100 each on Nokia and AMC Entertainment this week. These are other stocks where the tug-of-war is being played out.
Daniels, who has only been handling his own investments for a little over a year, didn’t want to step in too deep.
“Ninety-five per cent of my investments are managed by people smarter than me and much more conservative accounts,” he said.
“So, I didn’t want to go too crazy. I figured if I can make a couple bucks, that’s all right.”
Both stocks have bounced around this week as investors wait for any further squeeze on the hedge fund managers.
“I figure it’s kind of like buying a scratch-and-win ticket; throw some money at it and see what happens,” Daniels said.
Chad, however, managed to cash out at roughly $12,000 on GameStop. He’s still hanging on to a few shares, just in case.
“I never had an exit strategy. I just thought I had an opportunity to make money and time was of the essence,” he said.
“The cash will cover my rent and bills for the next year, which was too good to pass up – as much as I wanted to keep it all in to stick it to the man.”
Impact of social media and market volatility
Both Chad and Matt recognize the role social media played in pushing this forward.
But, this isn’t the age of mom and dad flipping open the morning paper and looking at tiny font on the newsprint searching for their stock movement (in fractions, too!). It’s easy, it’s instant and being influenced by the digital everyman.
“My dad says I’m crazy. Who gets their financial advice from places like TikTok, Twitter, Reddit and whatnot,” said Daniels, noting that stocks he’s seen on TikTok start off as pennies and end up $2 or $3 before long.
“As crazy as the cult following and taking financial advice from strangers on the Internet is, it’s really been interesting to see so far, a little bit of a payoff for that.”
Chad said he’s been watching the GameStop stock price like a hawk. Every little bump up and down is like being on a roller coaster. It can be stressful, especially when it’s going on the advice of people online.
“Taking stock advice from a forum full of idiots isn’t something I usually do. But their memes were really convincing,” he said.
He said social media has influenced stock markets for some time now, but what’s happening today is something different.
“It appears we’re witnessing the overhaul of an entire industry, or some kind of digital financial revolution,” he said, adding maybe even more regulation.
“At the very least, hedge funds and other market makers have an entirely new player in the risk assessment game to worry about now.”
(Unsolicited Editor’s Note: This is somewhat of a cautionary tale. If you are new to investing, seek out the help of a finance professional, or at least educate yourself first.)