GameStop, AMC shares jump another 60% in premarket trading as meme stock craze returns

A GameStop location on 6th Avenue in New York on March 23, 2021.

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Shares of GameStop and AMC jumped around 60% in premarket trading on Tuesday, on track to extend gains after “Roaring Kitty,” the man at the center of the meme stock craze, posted online for the first time in roughly three years.

Shares of video game retailer GameStop traded 59% higher at 7:05 a.m. E.T., while movie theater chain AMC rose over 64%.

Other so-called “meme stocks” were poised to open sharply higher on Tuesday. Shares of one-time dominant smartphone maker BlackBerry rose 21% in premarket trading, while headphones manufacturer Koss was up 23%.

The market moves follow dramatic gains for the stocks at the start of the trading week. GameStop on Monday climbed a whopping 74.4%, while AMC soared 78.4% in the previous trading session.

The meme stock phenomenon appears to have been reignited by a recent social media update from “Roaring Kitty.” The man, whose legal name is Keith Gill, posted a picture on the X platform of a video gamer sitting forward on their chair — a meme used by gamers to indicate they are taking the game seriously.

It marked Gill’s first post on the platform since 2021, and has since been viewed more than 23 million times. Gill followed up with a series of posts of short videos from popular TV shows and movies, although the meaning behind some of them was unclear.

The situation ‘unmistakably’ echoes 2021’s saga

Gill is a former marketer for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. Also known as DeepF——Value on Reddit, he led an army of day traders who cheered each other on and piled into the brick-and-mortar video game stock and in GameStop call options between 2020 and 2021.

The aim was to drive up shares of certain previously unloved companies, putting pressure on hedge funds that had been betting they would decline in value.

Shares of GameStop, which hit an all-time intraday high of $120.75 in January 2021, later collapsed along with other meme stocks as interest faded. GameStop shares have been trending lower in recent years, touching a three-year low of $9.95 last month. They ended Monday at $30.45.

Analytics firm Ortex Technologies estimated that losses for GameStop short sellers came in at $868 million as of Monday’s close, and stood at $1.26 billion for May.

At the price of $46 per share early Tuesday, Ortex Technologies said GameStop short sellers had lost a further $1.04 billion, pushing total losses for May to just over $2.3 billion.

“With GameStop’s short interest nearing 25% of the free float, the highest level since 2022, and a staggering 150% price increase in under two days, the situation unmistakably echoes the events of January 2021,” a spokesperson for Ortex Technologies told CNBC via email.

“Notably, there are no indications that short position holders have begun closing their positions. In such a dynamic market environment, monitoring short interest levels is crucial as these metrics signal when short sellers start to close their positions, potentially adding additional buying pressure to the stock,” they added.

Short selling is a strategy in which investors borrow shares at a certain price, expecting the market value to fall below that level when it’s time to pay for the borrowed shares.

— CNBC’s Ganesh Rao, Yun Li & Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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