Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

GameStop Corp shares more than doubled in afternoon trading on Wednesday, surprising those who thought the video game retailer’s stock price would stabilize after a fierce rally and steep dive that upended Wall Street in January.

The shares soared nearly 104% during the session in which trading was halted several times, then jumped another 85% after hours. The rally began after 2:30 p.m.

Other so-called “stonks” - an intentional misspelling of ‘stocks’ - favored by retail traders on sites such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets, also shot higher. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc gained 18%, Koss Corp rallied more than 50% and BlackBerry Corp rose nearly 9%. Shares of Canadian cannabis company Tilray Inc gained nearly 13%.

Story continues below advertisement

Analysts could not pinpoint one reason for the sharp move. At least one ruled out a short squeeze like that which fired the “Reddit rally” in January when mom-and-pop investors bought GameStop furiously to punish hedge funds that had bet against the retailer. Some Twitter users pointed to an activist investor’s tweet of an ice cream cone picture. Others cited factors including a reshuffling of top executives and options trading.

Shortly before 2 p.m., activist investor Ryan Cohen, a major shareholder of GameStop and founder of Chewy.com, tweeted a picture of a McDonald’s ice cream cone with a frog emoji. Some GameStop bulls wondered online whether it was a veiled message that Cohen would fix GameStop’s business, like the fast-food chain fixed its ice cream machines.

“I don’t know what an ice-cream means,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst covering GameStop at Wedbush Securities. “People are looking for signals.”

Others pointed to the resignation of GameStop Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell as the company focuses on shifting into technology-driven sales.

“GameStop announced the resignation of its CFO last night. Some may have taken this as a good sign that RC Ventures is making a difference at the company in terms of trying to accelerate the shift to digital,” said Joseph Feldman, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.

Stephanie Wissink, analyst at Jefferies Research cited her research report noting that the CFO resigned after the company settled with activist investor Ryan Cohen’s RC Ventures. Her note said the chain of stores would likely signal a change in business model by going after “a CFO with a more extensive tech (vs. retail) background.”

Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at analytics firm S3 Partners, said short covering was “not the predominant reason for this price move.”

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s mostly long buying with short covering sprinkled in to help grease the skids up,” Dusaniwsky said.

Fewer than 18 million GameStop shares were shorted as of Tuesday, down from over 70 million in early January, according to S3.

Some said options trading may have amplified the move.

Henry Schwartz, head of product intelligence at Cboe Global Markets, said the most active options contracts for GameStop were in calls around the $50 and $60 strike prices, expiring Friday. Those contracts began picking up in volume after 11 a.m., Schwartz said, adding that when the stock started jumping after 2:30 p.m., whoever was short those contracts may have had to buy GME stock to hedge their position.

GameStop devotees on Reddit’s popular WallStreetBets forum expressed surprise.

“Why is GME going up?” another retail trader asked on WallStreetBets. “Because we like the stock”, another replied, borrowing a line from well-known GameStop backer Keith Gill, known as RoaringKitty.

Story continues below advertisement

Another user posted, “I missed out on GME the first time, I’m not making that mistake again. TO THE MOON”

It was good news for those that held a position. Egor Romanyuk, who runs Barna Capital Group from Dubai, said on Wednesday that he scored a quick payoff that he plans to turn into a present for his pregnant wife.

“A cool +6k$ in 10 minutes,” he told Reuters about the gain he made in a “small but very quick trade,” on GameStop. He said he will use the proceeds to buy his wife “something nice” for the couple’s sixth anniversary on Sunday.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies