Shares of Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP-N), Yellow Corp. (YELL-Q) and other U.S. companies have soared in recent days, reminding analysts of so-called “meme stock” rallies in which strong demand from retail investors fuelled huge gains in stocks that had fallen out of favour on Wall Street.
Shares of trucking company Yellow jumped more than 78 per cent on Tuesday, after more than doubling in the previous session, following a news report that private equity firm Apollo Global Management was nearing a deal to provide new capital to the firm after it ceased operations and prepared to file for bankruptcy.
Home and kitchen product maker Tupperware Brands Corp.’s stock rose more than 32 per cent, after skyrocketing by more than 575 per cent over the past seven sessions despite no material changes to the company’s health. Tupperware said in April it was nearing bankruptcy, weighed down by a US$705-million debt burden and slumping sales.
Analysts likened the surge in Tupperware and Yellow to stellar rallies seen in shares of other struggling companies including home goods seller Bed Bath & Beyond, nail polish maker Revlon and car rental company Hertz Corp.
“I think people always want to buy the stock that is going to be the one that explodes to the upside,” said JJ Kinahan, chief executive at IG North America.
“Another aspect is that these are often companies with products people know and so that also leads to a certain attraction. The last reason I believe is the large percentage of short interest in these companies,” Mr. Kinahan added.
The original meme stock rallies, most famously, involved retailer GameStop and movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment. Their unexpected share price gains were exacerbated by a “short squeeze” on professional investors who had bet that the beaten-down shares would fall further. The sharp gains were attributed mostly to individual traders posting on social media sites.
Tupperware and Yellow’s stocks are currently among the top 10 most watched equities on Stocktwits, a popular website with retail investors. Other companies on that list are American Superconductor Corp., a small power technology firm whose shares have risen by 57 per cent, and electric vehicle (EV) maker Nikola Corp., which is up 18 per cent.
Yellow and Tupperware were the second and third most traded stocks by retail investors as of 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, behind only EV maker Tesla Inc. Nikola and American Superconductor took the fifth and sixth spot, respectively, J.P. Morgan data showed.
Market orders from retail traders made up 17.6 per cent of total market flows on July 31, up from a near six-month low of 14.8 per cent on July 20, according to J.P. Morgan data.
Roundhill’s Meme index had hit a more than one-year high on Monday.
“There is really no logic,” said Dan Raju, CEO of brokerage Tradier. “Interest rate hikes tapering off pushes directional traders to jump back into the market, touch the social media echo chambers and they latch on to – generally what I call – unprofitable companies riddled with debt, creating these meme stock rallies,” Mr. Raju added.
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