GameStop can't (and won't) keep doing this

Roaring Kitty returns to massive fanfare, but the stakes are different this time

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It’s not 2021, but a certain corner of the internet is trading like it.

GameStop stock is the talk of the town once again, and it’s inspired plenty of pandemic nostalgia across Reddit, X, and Wall Street.

Before we get into it, you should know that today the April Producer Price Index is due at 8:30 a.m. in New York.

Remember, like most recent data dumps, if it comes in hotter than expectations, stocks will likely fall. If it’s cooler, stocks will probably tick higher.

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Retail traders are revisiting their pandemic playbook

“We are so back.”

Few words mark the rallying cry of retail traders quite like those — and the quip has been impossible to miss to start the week thanks to investor Keith Gill’s first tweet in three years.

On Sunday night, Gill, also known as Roaring Kitty, tweeted a doodle of a man leaning forward in a chair holding a gaming controller. 

As of early Tuesday morning, it’s been viewed about 23 million times.

The post included zero words, but an army of Redditors and meme-stock enthusiasts seemed to know exactly what it meant: The man of WallStreetBets fame was back.

When markets closed Monday, GameStop had soared 74%. It continued climbing in after-hours trading.

Shares of AMC, Reddit, and various GameStop-themed cryptocurrencies also spiked.

Still, several analysts I spoke with remain skeptical that anything today could ever match the meme-stock pandemonium of 2021, back when Gill first led legions of everyday traders to buy up shares of GameStop as hedge funds bet against it. 

Like last time, Wall Street pros don’t appear to be taking it seriously. 

Here are some words my sources are using to describe what’s going on: 

  • “Something to ignore”

  • “Detached from reality”

  • “Silly”

  • “Not going to end well [for retail investors]”

  • “Social media isn’t reliable for market sentiment”

Since I don’t work on Wall Street, that makes me a retail investor by default. Perhaps that makes me more open to paying attention here, but I can’t say I’m confident in how this will unfold for anyone betting on memes.

We aren’t sitting at home during a pandemic anymore, for one. 

Plus, the free money people received from the government has largely been spent at this point. Any gambling funds now have to come out of pocket. 

Finally, GameStop itself is in a different position at this point.

In 2021 the company saw an absurd 140% of available shares being shorted. A consequence of that was anyone betting on the stock to fall saw unusually painful losses as it climbed. 

That figure hovers now at roughly 24%, according to AP data. 

Gill, meanwhile, had laid out an admittedly compelling bull-case for the stock during the pandemic. But much of his prognosis has yet to come to fruition. 

Maybe “we are so back” will always be a relevant tweet anytime memes are involved.

But it’s hard to imagine a return to anything close to how things once were — for retail traders, markets, and GameStop itself.

*At a glance:

*Data as of Monday 12 a.m. ET

Elsewhere:

  • Things are good at Goldman Sachs. CEO David Solomon said he sees an uptick in IPO activity and dealmaking — and the bank’s stock recently hit a record. (Bloomberg)

  • Europe’s economy may never rival the US again. The bloc across the pond has underperformed American growth and dynamism for years. EU policymakers are scrambling for solutions. (FT)

  • ChatGPT just got a huge upgrade. In a Monday event, OpenAI revealed GPT-4o, which features a more realistic voice, “eyes” and a package that resembles something like a robo-assistant. (Business Insider)

Rapid-fire:

  • Melinda Gates is resigning from the Gates Foundation (WSJ)

  • Cocoa prices plunged 19% on new rain forecasts (Bloomberg)

  • A batch of US metros still haven’t recovered from the pandemic recession (Business Insider)

  • Walmart is cutting hundreds of corporate jobs (WSJ)

  • Two huge China banks are set to sell $8.3 billion of loss-absorbing bond sales (Bloomberg)

Last thing:

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