- Meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment have taken the investing world by storm in 2021.
- Small-time retail traders have banded together in a rebellion against Wall Street hedge funds.
- Insider regularly interviews experts who share how to spot meme stock surges.
- Below is a compiled list of stories covering everything you need to know about meme stocks. You can read all about the trend by subscribing to Insider.
Stocks have steadily advanced in 2021 as the economy rebounded from the pandemic, but the S&P 500’s solid gains pale in comparison to those of previously left-for-dead companies like GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC).
Those long-suffering stocks shocked the world by spiking as much as 1,700% and 2,800%, respectively, and ushered in a new era of investing in what are now known as meme stocks.
Meme stocks have no precise definition, but they’re not hard to spot. Common characteristics of these select few stocks include sudden rallies and volatile price swings on unusually high trading volume.
The action is typically driven by members of online forums like Reddit and social media users, who sometimes make and share memes to promote and build momentum around the stock’s rally. But stocks that meet the above criteria can be considered meme stocks without having a big online following.
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of Insider’s coverage of the meme stock movement and how investors can profit from it.
Top meme stocks now
Retail investors are always searching for stocks to send “to the moon.” Below are some of the hottest names that social media users are buzzing about during the week of August 23.
- Top 16 meme stocks this week on Reddit: Alibaba comes back from the dead, and Nvidia catches fire, while AMC and GameStop stick around
- These 5 stocks offer the most short-squeeze potential for retail investors this week, according to Fintel
- Expect retail traders to pile into these 3 types of stocks as meme-driven appetite slows, Vanda Research says
How to trade meme stocks
Trading meme stocks isn’t as simple as it sounds. It takes hours to surf through Reddit forums for the next trendy stock, and it requires a huge, carefully coordinated online movement to send individual stocks spiking.
But sending meme stocks to the moon isn’t rocket science either. Insider has interviewed investing pros who have simple strategies for spotting meme stocks, as well as the creator of a site that saves investors time by scanning Reddit forums for the next big meme stock.
Just as important as finding the next hot meme stock is avoiding common trading mistakes. An analyst who’s covered GameStop since 2002 told Insider how to spot short squeezes and avoid getting burned, and a strategist shared how to avoid landmines in a rapidly evolving investing landscape that now includes meme stocks.
- A quant-trading chief breaks down a simple 2-step method for finding future meme-stock candidates – including 2 he thinks could pop next after AMC’s 2,500% surge this year
- Memeification vs manipulation: The creator of a site designed to find meme stocks shares how to track Reddit momentum and find frauds – and lists the 9 meme stocks with the most loyal fanbases
- A GameStop analyst shares how to successfully spot the short squeezes that send meme stocks to the moon – and warns of a common shorting mistake to avoid
- A chief investment strategist breaks down how the GameStop saga could upend long-standing practices on Wall Street – and shares her 4-part advice for navigating the frenzied trading environment
How the meme stock movement began
GameStop is widely considered to be the first meme stock. The long-beleaguered video-game retailer suffered for years as its sales were cannibalized by e-commerce giants like Amazon and by the video-game industry’s shift to online games. Its C-suite became a revolving door for executives: Three different CEOs led the firm in 2018 alone.
GameStop’s miraculous surge began in January 2021 after Ryan Cohen, the founder of online pet-store company Chewy, joined the company’s board and inspired optimism among investors. Cohen could spearhead GameStop’s e-commerce efforts and help the company get back on track, investors believed.
But the main reason behind GameStop’s monumental move was a massive short squeeze.
Convinced the video-game seller was destined for the same fate as Blockbuster, a handful of Wall Street pros bet against the stock through shorting, a process where investors borrow shares of a company they think will decline, then sell them immediately in hopes of buying them back at a cheaper price before returning them and booking a profit.
Small-time traders flipped the script on hedge funds by driving the price of the heavily shorted shares up, forcing the bears to close their positions by buying back borrowed shares, which perpetuated the cycle. The stock then rose to the moon, and the rest is history.
- The GameStop mania driven by Reddit traders isn’t simple market trolling. It’s a populist movement threatening to disrupt the financial system to a degree Occupy Wall Street only dreamed of.
- A veteran options trader breaks down the intricate strategy that Reddit traders used to outsmart Wall Street’s bet against GameStop – and shares 2 ways the parabolic rally could permanently alter the stock market
- GameStop investors may have transformed day trading forever
- How GameStop became the perfect ‘meme stock’ for r/WallStreetBets
- Here’s how short-selling works, and how Reddit’s day-trader army spoiled the strategy for GameStop bears
What to know about the dangers of meme stocks
If getting rich off meme stocks were easy, thousands of Redditors would be millionaires.
The harsh reality of markets is that for every buyer, there must be a seller. For every trader that nailed the bottom of a stock, someone else sold at the worst possible time – and every time an investor sells at the peak, someone must have bought ahead of the crash. Some unlucky soul bought GameStop shares at its all-time high of $US483 ($AU661).
By definition, investing in meme stocks is incredibly risky, and poorly-timed trades can lead to massive losses. Critics have said the practice creates “false markets” and reflects how the market is broken.
Michael Burry, the hedge fund mogul who predicted the housing market crash, told Barron’s via email earlier this summer that a meme stock crash could come soon.
“I believe the retail crowd is fully invested in this theme, and Wall Street has jumped on the coattails,” Burry said. “We’re running out of new money available to jump on the bandwagon.”
- ‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry compared the meme-stock craze to the dot-com and housing bubbles – and warned of an impending crash
- The rise of meme stocks is leading to the creation of ‘false markets,’ CEO of the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund says
- Trading meme stocks like GameStop can mean billions in hidden costs for retail investors – reflecting how the equities market is broken in places, a markets chief says