GameStop Corp. shares experienced another volatile session and trading halts Tuesday, continuing a battle between short sellers and traders that gather on an internet message board.
shares were halted at 12:50 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday for about six minutes, the second trading halt of the day’s session, as the stock price lurched to an intraday high of $114.24. Shares declined immediately after the halt, but were still trading more than 30% higher on the day.
Trading in the stock was halted at least a half-dozen times on Monday, as shares rocketed to an all-time high of $159.18 before ending a violently volatile session up 18.1% at $76.79. Through Monday’s close, GameStop stock had increased 334% since the end of trading Jan. 8, pushing the company’s market capitalization to $5.4 billion, its highest since the end of the 2007-09 recession.
GameStop has been a darling of Reddit message board WallStreetBets, where hundreds of posters have been pushing for purchases of the stock after investors betting against the chain pushed short interest to more than 100%.
Short sellers have targeted GameStop stock as the pandemic added to issues with sales moving online. Noted short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research released a video late Thursday outlining points on why GameStop should be a $20 stock, then pulled back and claimed he and his family had been threatened. Shares began rallying midmonth with a 57% surge on Jan. 13, with five out of the next seven trading days logging daily gains of 10% or more despite a disappointing preliminary earnings report from the retailer.
GameStop has not released any news to coincide with the spike, and has not responded to a request from MarketWatch to comment. The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on Monday about any potential investigations into the trading.
Earlier this month, GameStop admitted that holiday-quarter sales had dropped more than 25% and come in lower than expectations. Over the past two quarters, losses for the company have widened significantly, following its April 2020-ending quarter when GameStop reported an adjusted loss of $1.61 a share versus the 7 cents a share in earnings it had reported in the previous year’s quarter.
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