GameStop, AMC extend rallies, gouging short sellers

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FILE PHOTO: A GameStop store is seen in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City, New York, U.S. January 27, 2021. Picture taken January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Nick Zieminski/File Photo

May 26, 2021

By Sinéad Carew

(Reuters) – Shares of GameStop and cinema operator AMC Entertainment rallied to their highest levels in months on Wednesday, with some market watchers saying the recent surge was forcing some bearish investors to unwind their bets against the video game retailer.

GameStop shares surged 17% to $245.01, around its highest level since mid March, while AMC shares shot up 17.6% to $19.30, the highest since Jan. 27.

Shares of GameStop and other companies popular on forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets had already been climbing before Tuesday’s late-day surge. GameStop has risen as much as 80% from its May low, while AMC has risen as much as 118%.

The big moves have caused some bearish GameStop investors to retreat from their bets, forcing them to buy shares to cover their loans, said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3.

“We have started to see some short covering in GME as mark-to-market losses mount on the short side,” Dusaniwsky said in an email Wednesday.

Around 958,000 shares of GameStop, worth $201 million, were bought to cover short sales over the last week, S3 data showed. Roughly 11.55 million shares of GameStop, or 20.3% of its float, are currently sold short, Dusaniwsky said.

Shorts sellers in GameStop are down $6.58 billion in year-to-date mark-to-market losses, including $339 million from Tuesday’s more than 16% gain and $261 million from Wednesday morning’s move, S3 data showed.

A short squeeze helped send shares of GameStop on a more than 1600% run in January, though the stock pared much of those gains the following month.

Some analysts also pointed to speculation that GameStop may be building a non-fungible token (NFT) platform. Website nft.gamestop.com advertised positions for engineers, designers and other jobs. GameStop did not immediately provide further details.

“If you own a stock and you want it to keep going up you need reasons,” said Telsey Advisory Group analyst Joseph Feldman, who has a $30 price target on GameStop and an ‘underperform’ rating. “This is retail investors trying to convince themselves to buy more of the stock.”

About 20.6% of AMC shares are sold short, according to Dusaniwsky who notes that even though the shares have been rallying short sellers are still adding to their exposure selling 1.18 million shares short over the last week.

With the AMC stock rally, shorts are now down $1.31 billion in year-to-date mark-to-market losses, he said.

(Reporting By Sinéad Carew; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Bernadette Baum)





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