GameStop Redux: Shares are Soaring Again

Kokomo, US - October 11, 2016: GameStop Strip Mall Location.
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GameStop shares were up 85% in pre-market trading, seemingly mimicking last month’s trading frenzy that led to Congressional hearings.

See: Did GameStop Happen Because of COVID-19? How 2020 Sparked a Retail Investing Craze
Find: GameStop CFO Resigns Following Trading Frenzy

A factor that could be driving this most recent spike is the resignation of GameStop CFO Jim Bell, who will step down on March 26, 2021.

“The company thanks Mr. Bell for his significant contributions and leadership, including his efforts over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” GameStop said in a statement.

The company said it has initiated a search for a permanent CFO “to help accelerate GameStop’s transformation,” adding that if a permanent replacement is not in place at the time of Bell’s departure, it intends to appoint Diana Jajeh, who is currently senior vice president and chief accounting officer, to the role of interim chief financial officer.

See: After GameStop, Regulations Are Coming for Wall Street – But Will They Reign in Everyday Investors Instead?
Find: GameStop Stock Has Crashed and Burned – How to Recover If You Went All In

 

Last month, retail traders on the subreddit group WallStreetBets, who were intent on taking down hedge-fund short sellers by buying shares of stocks that didn’t seem to have much of a chance of success, sent stocks, including GameStop, soaring (and then crashing).

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The  market volatility has brought the attention of regulators, and last week, Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev testified before Congress to address the market frenzy that ensued when the app halted trading of certain stocks, including GameStop, that are popular on the Reddit subthread.

The saga has also brought the ire of some experts, including Charlie Munger, Daily Journal chairman and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman. In an interview with Yahoo! Finance yesterday, Munger shared his views on the recent market frenzy, calling it “very dangerous” and “really stupid.”

 

See: Yellen Meets with Key Financial Regulators to Discuss GameStop Saga
Find: Robinhood Registers in-House Lobbyists Amid Scrutiny over Recent Trading Restrictions

Munger said the frenzy “is fed by people who are getting commissions and other revenues out of this new bunch of gamblers, and of course, when things get extreme, you have things like that short squeeze. It’s not generally noticed by the public, but clearinghouses clear all these trades, and when things get as crazy as they were in the event you’re talking about, there are threats of clearinghouse failure,” he told Yahoo! Finance.

“So it gets very dangerous, and it’s really stupid to have a culture which encourages as much gambling in stocks by people who have the mindset of race dog, racetrack bettors, and of course it’s going to create trouble as it did. And I have a very simple idea on this subject. I think you should try and make your money in this world by selling other people things that are good for them, and if you’re selling them gambling services where you rake profits off the top like many of these new brokers who specialize in luring the gamblers in, I think it’s a dirty way to make money, and I think we’re crazy to allow it,” Munger added.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

GameStop Redux: Shares are Soaring Again
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