Hedge funds, small investors and stockbrokers are bracing for tougher U.S. markets regulation, with officials expected to meet this week to assess the fallout from a social media-driven market frenzy that has roiled stocks and silver prices.
For two weeks, amateur investors have rattled a handful of hot stocks, and the price of silver, as social media posts on forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets inspired mass buying, particularly in companies that big U.S. fund mangers had made large bets against.
Here are five things to watch on Wednesday:
** STOCK SLUMP – U.S.-listed shares of GameStop Corp, which has been at the heart of the battle between amateur investors and hedge funds, slumped 60% to $90 on Tuesday after scaling a peak of $483 last week, sparking speculation that the social media-driven rally had fizzled. The videogame retailer’s Frankfurt-listed shares sank another 17% in early deals on Wednesday. Silver, which became an alternative focus in the battle, fell more than 8% on Tuesday before recovering slightly on Wednesday.
** REGULATORY SCRUTINY – Days of gyrations in the shares of GameStop and other Reddit favorites has drawn the attention of the White House and financial regulators. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling a meeting, possibly as early as Thursday, of top financial regulators including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve to discuss the situation.
** BROKER APPS – Robinhood, one of the most popular easy-access online broker apps that has fueled the trades, recorded 2.1 million downloads last week in the United States despite concerns that curbs imposed to cope with the deluge in orders would cost it users ahead of a planned initial public offering later this year. It further eased buying limits on hot stocks including GameStop on Tuesday.
** REDDIT FORUMS – Participants on WallStreetBets bemoaned the fall in shares of GameStop. “Our darkest hour,” read one post by user name kigfik who claimed to be still holding the stock. Another user, Cinther, posted of buying at $390 and “lost so much that I don’t even care anymore” but were still holding.
** BROADER MARKETS BOUNCE – The S&P 500 jumped another 1.4% on Tuesday after logging its biggest daily percentage gain since November a day earlier as fears around a broader stock market meltdown subsided.