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Meme Stocks: History and Risks ($GME, $AMC)


Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about an investing phenomenon: meme stocks. These are stocks that gain popularity through social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and TikTok, often fueled by viral trends and online communities[1]. While the potential for quick gains can be enticing, investing in meme stocks carries significant risks that investors need to be aware of. In this blog post, we’ll explore what meme stocks are, why they’ve become popular, and the potential problems associated with investing in them.


GameStop storefront

What Are Meme Stocks?

 

Meme stocks are shares of companies that see a sudden surge in interest and trading volume due to viral internet trends rather than fundamental business performance. The most famous example is GameStop ($GME), which saw its stock price skyrocket in early 2021 after being championed by the Reddit community r/WallStreetBets[2]. Other notable meme stocks include AMC Entertainment ($AMC), BlackBerry ($BB), and Bed Bath & Beyond ($BBBY).

 

Why Meme Stocks Like $GME and $AMC Have Gained Popularity

 

1. Community and Social Influence: Online communities like Reddit have given retail investors a platform to share ideas, strategies, and support. This collective action can drive significant price movements.

2. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): The potential for rapid and substantial gains creates a sense of urgency among investors to jump on the bandwagon before prices soar.

3. Distrust of Traditional Institutions: Many meme stock investors are motivated by a desire to challenge the traditional financial institutions and hedge funds they perceive as manipulative and corrupt[3].

4. Accessibility: The rise of commission-free trading platforms like Robinhood has made it easier than ever for individuals to trade stocks.

 

Potential Problems with Investing in Meme Stocks

 

1. Volatility and Risk: Meme stocks are notoriously volatile. Prices can swing dramatically in a short period, leading to significant gains but also substantial losses. This volatility is often driven by speculative trading rather than underlying business fundamentals.[4]

 

2. Market Manipulation: The collective action of online communities can sometimes border on market manipulation. Coordinated buying can artificially inflate stock prices, creating bubbles that are likely to burst.[5]

 

3. Lack of Fundamentals: Many meme stocks are companies with poor financial health or declining business prospects. Investing in these stocks based on hype rather than a thorough analysis of the company’s fundamentals can lead to poor investment decisions.

 

4. Emotional Investing: Meme stock trading is often driven by emotion rather than logic. The excitement and adrenaline of participating in a viral trend can cloud judgment and lead to impulsive decisions.

 

How to Approach Meme Stocks

 

1. Do Your Research: Before investing in any stock, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research. Look beyond the hype and examine the company’s financial health, business model, and market conditions.

 

2. Set Limits: Establish clear limits on how much you’re willing to invest in meme stocks and stick to them. This can help prevent emotional decision-making and reduce the risk of significant losses.

 

3. Consult a Financial Advisor: Consider working with a financial advisor to create a balanced investment strategy that aligns with your long-term financial goals. At Halter Ferguson Financial, we can help you navigate the complexities of the stock market and make informed investment decisions.

 

Matt Smith post on X 5/17/2023

 

Conclusion

 

While meme stocks can offer exciting opportunities for quick gains, they come with considerable risks. The volatility, potential for market manipulation, and lack of solid business fundamentals make them a risky investment. Always consider consulting a financial advisor to ensure your investment strategy aligns with your long-term financial goals.

 

Investing wisely requires patience, discipline, and a thorough understanding of the market. While the allure of meme stocks can be strong, it’s essential to stay grounded and make decisions based on sound financial principles rather than hype.


References


[1] “Staff Report on Equity and Options Market Structure ...” Sec.Gov, Securities and Exchange Commission, 24 Oct. 2021, www.sec.gov/files/staff-report-equity-options-market-struction-conditions-early-2021.pdf.

[2] Hayes, Adam. “What Are Meme Stocks, and Are They Real Investments?” Investopedia, Investopedia, 14 May 2024, www.investopedia.com/meme-stock-5206762.

[3] Harding, LaToya. “Wallstreetbets: Meet the Founder of the Forum That Sparked a Meme-Stock Frenzy.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!, 17 Mar. 2022, finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-street-bets-meme-stock-frenzy-reddit-gamestop-amc-000155705.html.

[4] Burris, Devan, and Jared Blikre. “Meme Stock Madness - Gamestop and AMC One Year Later.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!, 1 Feb. 2022, finance.yahoo.com/news/meme-stock-madness-game-stop-and-amc-one-year-later-181826891.html.

[5] Hasson, Ryan. “Will the Surge in Gamestop Stock Spark a New Meme Craze?” MarketBeat, MarketBeat, 10 May 2024, www.marketbeat.com/originals/will-the-surge-in-gamestop-stock-spark-a-new-meme-craze/#google_vignette.

 

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