The investor who helped direct the world’s attention to GameStop, leading a horde of online followers in a bizarre market rally that made and lost fortunes from one day to the next, says he’s just a normal guy. From his profile by The Wall Street Journal: “I didn’t expect this,” said Keith Gill, 34 years old, known as “DeepF-ingValue” by fans on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum and “Dada” by his 2-year-old daughter. He said he didn’t set out to draw the attention of Congress, the Federal Reserve, hedge funds, the media, trading platforms and hundreds of thousands of investors. “This story is so much bigger than me,” Mr. Gill told The Wall Street Journal in his first interview since the unboxing this week of a volatile new stock market game. “I support these retail investors, their ability to make a statement.” To many of them, Mr. Gill — who until recently worked in marketing for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance — is the force behind the triple-digit gains in shares of the videogame retailer GameStop, up more than 900% this year through Thursday. On Wednesday, the stock jumped 135% to $347.51, a record, before plunging to $194 a share Thursday as online brokerages clamped down. At the start of the year, GameStop shares went for around $18. Many online investors say his advocacy helped turn them into a force powerful enough to cause big losses for established hedge funds and, for the moment, turn the investing world upside down.
Mr. Gill posted a screenshot of his brokerage account Wednesday, showing a roughly $20 million daily gain on GameStop shares and options. “Your steady hand convinced many of us to not only buy, but hold. Your example has literally changed the lives of thousands of ordinary normal people. Seriously thank you. You deserve every penny,” replied one Reddit user, reality_czech. The next day, Mr. Gill posted another screenshot — showing about a $15 million loss. After Thursday’s market close, his E*Trade brokerage account, viewed by the Journal, held around $33 million, including GameStop stock, options and millions in cash. “He always liked money,” said Elaine Gill, his mother. As a child, she said, “he would get money from those scratch tickets that people didn’t know they’d won. People would throw them on the ground… A lot of times there was still money on them.” Mr. Gill’s online persona — he goes by “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube — has drawn tens of thousands of fans and copycats who share screenshots of their own brokerage accounts. Mr. Gill said he wasn’t a rabble-rouser out to take on the establishment, just someone who believes investors can find value in unloved stocks. He never expected to have a legion of fans debating his identity online, or millions of dollars in his trading account, he said. He was just a dad with an online hobby and a plastic kiddie slide on the front lawn of a Boston suburb.
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