by John Walters
Can’tStop! Won’tStop! GameStop!
Move over, Tesla. There’s a new girl in town.
It’s simply crazy-going-nuts time on Wall Street—or should I say on Reddit?
We mention shares of GameStop (GME), Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and AMC theatres (AMC) on Monday. Here’s where they were at the end of last week and here’s where they are this morning:
GME $44 $283
BBBY $26 $43
AMC $2.90 $17.25
What’s happening, in a nutshell: Billionaire hedge fund firms announced short positions (betting on these retailers to fail) on these companies. And then Robinhood investors (mostly younger, certainly poorer) got on Reddit and announced that they were investing in these companies. That drives the price up.
The result is that the billionaire hedge funders are losing lots and lots of money, since they need the stock price to go down. In order to offset those losses, they themselves need to invest in the stock (covering their shorts). The Robinhood gang, meanwhile, like William Wallace’s men in that first great battle scene in Braveheart, are encouraging one another to “Hold! Hold!” The longer they go without selling, the greater the chance the stock prices continue to rise, the more the billionaire hedge funders feel the pain.
Hedge funds have already lost a reported $5.2 billion, which is more than the actual market cap of GameStop. Think about that.
What’s funny is now the SEC is investigating. What, exactly? Crowdsourcing? All these younger, not wealthy people used social media to work together as one (to make a profit, sure, but also to stick up a giant middle finger at hedge funds looking to profit off the demise of COVID-vulnerable retailers). This morning trading on some of these names has been halted or, like at my brokerage account, trading has been halted without any specific reason.
I smell a rat.
Earlier this morning a former SEC investigator, a lawyer, excused the SEC’s interference by saying that they just want to make sure that people aren’t going on Reddit giving bad information simply to hype a stock. He then said, with a straight face, “It would be the same if some hedge fund manager came on your show and promoted a company or two and then the stock price jumped after his appearance. If he were to do that specifically to move the stock price, the SEC would be issuing him a subpoena.”
For those in the back: HA!
This is a Revenge Of The Nerds moment in investing, and I’m finding it a little difficult to believe that some of those hedge fund managers (almost all of whom used to work on trading floors of big banks) haven’t been frantically phoning their influential friends on Wall Street or in the SEC and begging them to get involved.
This is really the greatest episode of Billions ever.
Remember when then-Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, just days after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol, said that he would not reconvene the Senate until after the inauguration? And remember when we said that was his ploy to avoid having to deal with the open-and-shut case of Donald Trump’s impeachment?
Well, here we are. Now he and other Republicans are saying that it’s futile to impeach a president after he has left office (it’s not, of course, for two reasons: 1) A conviction would prevent Donald Trump from ever holding office again and 2) it would also send the sorely needed message that, hey, you can’t incite a coup d’etat as a lame-duck president). Yesterday Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) called for a floor vote on whether this impeachment trial is even necessary. He, his fellow Kentucky senator (Mitch) and 43 other GOP senators said No.
So, needing 67 votes to impeach, we’ve already got 45 out of 100 senators who want to dismiss the case before it begins.
And this is where we find our Catch-45. Seems that their reasoning is that, Hey, nothing actually of lasting consequence transpired (outside of the six deaths and dozens of broken windows, etc.) so why punish the guy? And so you have to ask, What would it have taken for you guys to agree that this was a punishable offense? And their answer might be, Well, if he had succeeded. But of course, had Trump succeeded, there’d be no chance for an impeachment trial, now would there be?
Now comes news, from @sethabramsson, that there was an actual “war council” at Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5. That a few senators, Rudy, Mike Lindell and others huddled to discuss the following day’s events. This is potential conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Will even that sway 45 of our elected U.S. senators? Probably not.
Why not? Because they’re no longer working in service to democracy. They’re working in service to white supremacy. And they long ago realized that majority rule will no longer serve their interests. That the only way to maintain white supremacy in this land is through a subtle (for now) dictatorship. They hoped to suppress enough votes or to create enough misinformation with The Big Lie the past few months to keep Donald Trump in power.
They failed. Next move? The insurrection.
That also failed.
Next move? Do not punish any of the conspirators. Live to fight another day. They’re all traitors to this country. Make no mistake about that.