Investors are estimated to have lost $930 million (roughly Rs. 6,790 crores) on their short positions in meme stocks GameStop and AMC Entertainment over the last five trading days, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Tuesday.
Shares in GameStop, which was at the heart of the so-called "stonks" retail trading mania earlier this year, have risen by a third in the last one week, while shares in cinema operator AMC are up 39 percent.
Ortex said short interest in AMC is currently estimated to be 18.3 percent of freefloat and in GME it is estimated at 21.8 percent of freefloat.
Yesterday alone, short-sellers lost over $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,460 crores) each in both of those stocks, Ortex data shows. GameStop closed 13 percent higher at $180.6 (roughly Rs. 13,190), the highest level since April 30.
Earlier this month, an analysis by Massachusetts-based cybersecurity company PiiQ Media showed that Bots on major social media websites have been hyping GameStop and other "meme stocks," although the extent to which they influenced prices was unclear.
"You might be able to make some quick trading money and it could be a lot of money, but in the end, it's the greater fool theory," said Eric Diton, president and managing director at The Wealth Alliance in New York. The theory refers to buying stocks that are over-valued, anticipating a "greater fool" will buy them later at a higher price.
Analysts mostly ruled out a short squeeze like the one that fueled GameStop's rally in January, when individual investors using Robinhood and other apps punished hedge funds that had bet against the stock, forcing them to unwind short positions. Many GameStop buyers took their cues from online investment forums on Reddit and elsewhere.
Options market activity in GameStop, which has returned to the top of the list in a social media-driven retail trading frenzy, suggested investors were betting on higher prices, higher volatility, or both.
Refinitiv data showed retail investors have been buying deep out-of-the-money call options, which have contract prices to buy far higher than the current stock price.
© Thomson Reuters 2021