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GameStop extends wild ride on Wall Street

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GameStop has seen a sudden surge in its share price apparently sparked by online chatter./AFP
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Jan 26, 2021 - 12:28 PM

NEW YORK — GameStop continued its wild Wall Street ride on Monday with dizzying ups and downs seemingly powered by online chatter about the struggling video game retailer with a devoted fan base.

GameStop shares were up 70 percent at one point in morning trades, after ending last week with a surge in price and rocketing some 800 percent in the past three months.

Shares that were trading at $2.80 in April of last year topped $100 during morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange, despite analysts warning that GameStop’s retail model is out of touch with market trends.

In highly volatile trade, GameStop jumped more than 140 percent before settling with a gain of 18 percent at $76.79

Investors betting against GameStop by borrowing shares and selling them “short” in the hope of buying them back cheap, pocketing the difference, seemed to be up against day traders and users of social media sites such as Reddit boosting the company in online posts.

“I’m not selling this until at least $1000+,” read one post at the sub-reddit WallStreetBets.

“Buckle the …. up.”

The rollercoaster day for GameStop came as Telsey Advisory Group downgraded its view of the shares to an expectation they will underperform due to “disconnect between fundamentals and valuation.”

The analysts said GameStop is benefitting temporarily from a “short squeeze,” or a jump which forces short-sellers to buy shares to stem losses, amplifying the rise in price.

“We believe the current share price and valuation levels are not sustainable,” the research group said in a note to investors.

‘To the Moon’ 

A hashtag based on the GameStop trading symbol, #GME, at Twitter featured posts boasting about the soaring share price ,and one person touted they were going to make him rich in a day.

A “GME to the Moon” hooded sweatshirt for sale at handmade e-commerce website Etsy was emblazoned with an image of a beloved character from video game “Fallout” riding a rocket skyward.

GameStop this month announced an agreement with RC Ventures that included “refreshment” of its board with three new directors it said brought expertise in e-commerce and strategic planning.

GameStop’s model of customers trading in old game discs for new or other used titles has become “antiquated” and is out of synch with trends of downloading game software online or playing games hosted in the internet cloud, according to activist short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research.

Left said Friday he was walking away from the stock due to what he called an “angry mob” that has terrorized him and his family. Left put out word of the decision on Twitter a day after he posted a video at YouTube detailing reasons he was certain GameStop was overpriced in the market.

Citron critics were quick to point out that it was wrong years back when it took a short-seller position regarding electric car star Tesla, which has been a winner for long-term investors.

Citron Research did a complete U-turn in 2018, advising buying and holding Tesla shares.

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