17.06.2024 Issuer Call Redemption Notice

Аватар на автора

Author

Sandeep Rao

Date

Meme Stock Rally: Likely to Continue

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This current week has had significant mentions of a “meme stock frenzy” as retail investors trooped back into the markets en masse with a strong interest in a growing set of stocks that have largely been forgotten as the “AI surge” and the “Magnificent Seven” drew away market breadth. So strong has been retail investor participation that trading in certain stocks were briefly halted a number of times on zero-commission brokerages such as Robinhood1 to account for the heavy demand.

The commonly attributed (and perhaps convenient) lynchpin for this phenomenon is the return of Keith Gill (who goes by “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube) to digital activity after a three-year break. In the last “meme stock frenzy” of 2021, Mr. Gill had emerged as a leading voice of the masses investing into certain stocks, following which he was subjected to intense scrutiny by the United States Congress2 and even his home state of Massachusetts.

Much like last time, the bulk of retail investor activity centered around GameStop Corp (ticker: GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings (ticker: AMC). Unlike last time, the list of key beneficiaries is larger and more varied. In addition to these two, the Children’s Place Inc (ticker: PLCE), Beyond Meat Inc (ticker: BYND), Tupperware Brands Corporation (ticker: TUP), SunPower Corporation (ticker: SPWR), BlackBerry Limited (ticker: BB) and Virgin Galactic Holdings (ticker: SPCE) have received substantial investor attention.

The performance of most of these stocks in recent times – most of which are of small- to mid-cap companies that had hitherto been languishing due to a variety of factors – has less to do with macroeconomics and more to do with investor behaviour.

Market Data Trends

Earnings results be as they may, a dominant driver in U.S. equities is investor interest which often lead to company performance and stock performance frequently ending up being divorced. Market data trends in these eight stocks over the Year Till Date until the 15th of May (the day after “peak market activity” in this latest frenzy) help contextualize the interest held by these stocks.

Websim is the retail division of Intermonte, the primary intermediary of the Italian stock exchange for institutional investors. Leverage Shares often features in its speculative analysis based on macros/fundamentals. However, the information is published in Italian. To provide better information for our non-Italian investors, we bring to you a quick translation of the analysis they present to Italian retail investors. To ensure rapid delivery, text in the charts will not be translated. The views expressed here are of Websim. Leverage Shares in no way endorses these views. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment, please seek financial advice. View the original at

Source: Leverage Shares analysis

The four metrics laid out here could be explained as follows:

  1. The “Average Daily Traded Volume” is, as the name suggests, presents a mean of investor interest in each period.

  2. The “Standard Deviation” indicates the variability of interest within each period.

  3. The ratios “Max-to-Average” and “Min-to-Average” are a little complex and can be considered together: the closer the pair is to 1, the more likely is the strength of sustained interest for that period. The farther they are, the less sustained.

Over the course of the year, it is evident that each of these stocks generally received higher interest in February until the past two week. BlackBerry is an exception here. March seemed to have the least sustained interest while April tended to have large swings. This puts paid to the idea that these stocks were “memed” into high activity solely by the recent actions of Mr. Gill.

In the second week of May, only GameStop received heightened investor attention – about a 660% increase – relative to April. The only other stock in this set that came close was Beyond Meat at a 96% increase. In the third week of May, however, nearly every stock except for The Children’s Place skyrocketed in traded volumes both relative to the 2nd week of May as well as April. In week-on-week terms, The Children’s Place maintains its own relative sustained interest. Nearly all other stocks show a significant weakness in sustained interest and large swings in variability.

Large variability in trading volumes along with a bearish outlook on consumption due to macroeconomic outlook would ordinarily suggest that Put-Call Open Interest in these stocks would be trending higher than 1 as sophisticated tactical players (who hold a key role in fostering liquidity and price discovery in modern markets) position themselves to benefit from the downfall. However, as of Wednesday, this is definitively not the case.

Source: Leverage Shares analysis

While Virgin Galactic, Beyond Meat and The Children’s Place have had very high Put-Call Ratios through most of the year, the “meme stock frenzy” of 2024 sees them trending close to 1, i.e. the point of equivocation. As the frenzy began, The Children’s Place already had strengthening “Call” volumes that is began to normalize towards 1 in the current week. The other stocks, with the exception of Tupperware, have held very strong “Call” interest throughout the year that are now heading towards equivocation.

Juxtaposing the Put-Call Ratios over the volume statistics might lend weight to the notion that price levels have been closely contested and maintained somewhere close to those in 2023. While this was certainly true (for the most part) until March, this was certainly not the case as of the end of April.

Source: Leverage Shares analysis

Through March and April, five out of eight stocks bled out, with The Children’s Place being the worst hit. Over the course of the 2nd and 3rd weeks of May, all but The Children’s Place had recouped and even gained over the losses sustained until April.

Classes vs Masses

Outside of energy and financials (which traditionally tended to be more muted), overvaluation was once considered an inherent feature of almost every American equity. Over the course of the year, large swathes of institutional/high-net worth investors largely abandoned the broad economy in favour of top-of-the-line tech stocks, the “Magnificent Seven” and anything related to AI, thus effectively deflating the valuation premium of nearly every other equity in the public market. Retail investors with a taste for what directly impacts them had tended to favour these small businesses as investments to some measure or the other. The enormous disparity in instrument performance of these “favoured” few over those that had endeared themselves to the public has been a growing bone of contention for years now.

What also likely galled the “public” was that their favourites received far more interest in their downfall – as evidenced by the short interest ratio – than the entire market’s average and, of course, the “favoured” few.

Source: Leverage Shares analysis

While short-selling is deemed necessary to enable price discovery in modern markets, those who do so are often considered to be “bloodsuckers” – as Tesla (ticker: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is often prone to say3 – reveling in the misfortune of others.

The entirety of this frenzy could broadly be posed as one class of investor asking the other as to why the latter wouldn’t extend a modicum of favour to the former’s picks as they regular bestow upon their own. This query has no satisfactory answer beyond “caveat emptor”. Given that each investor is free to choose as they wish, this frenzy isn’t just the result of some blindly following Mr. Gill’s lead. Instead, it’s the considered and selected answer of an entire class of investors who feel increasingly slighted and discarded.

Given the trends seen in the Put-Call Ratio and timing (wherein the first half of the week tends to show a lot more activity than the second), it’s likely that the frenzy will find fresh wind in the week to come. There will be a host of tactical opportunities in every direction and likely a few more additions to the list of “meme stocks” wherein interest trends will build over and sustain in the short term.


Footnotes:

  1. “Robinhood Emerges as Meme Stock King: Daily Trading Volume Hits $5B”, Finance Magnates, 16 May 2024
  2. “Keith Gill, aka ‘Roaring Kitty,’ testified to Congress on the GameStop saga. Here’s what happened.”, Associated Press, 18 February 2021
  3. “Elon Musk blasted short-sellers as bloodsuckers. Bill Gates, ‘Big Short’ star Michael Burry, and other top investors have bet against Tesla.”, Business Insider, 18 September 2023

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