The meme-stock moment turns 1 — unofficially — and welcomes a sophomore class of ticke


Meme stocks marked their unofficial first birthday on Saturday, and then spent Monday celebrating in a variety of ways.

Keith Gill, aka The Roaring Kitty, tweeted his congratulations to investor Ryan Cohen for taking an activist position in GameStop GME, -5.04% on Aug. 28, 2020, and linked out to a now-famous YouTube video in which Gill shares his investment thesis for why the videogame retailer’s stock could go from $5 to $50 a share.

By the end of the year, GameStop was trading at almost $20 a share. In late January, it hit $483. Its surge came alongside gains among peers that would go on to be identified as meme stocks, such as AMC Entertainment AMC, -0.81% and BlackBerry BB, -1.60%, as retail investors — utilizing much of Gill’s advice, turning him into a folk hero — attempted to short squeeze hedge funds.

MarketWatch data: These are the stocks with the highest levels of short interest

In the year following, the frenzy around meme stocks has ebbed and flowed, while Gill appeared virtually before Congress as part of an investigation into January’s stock surge, and Robinhood HOOD, -2.56% has gone from controversial trading platform to controversial meta–meme stock. Meanwhile the U.S. stock market has been forced to fundamentally rethink how individual investors will use no-fee trading apps and social media to upend Wall Street’s apple cart.

On Monday, retail investors marked the occasion by putting GameStop and AMC in the green for another day in what has been a red-hot August for the meme group, while cementing the membership of some new stocks in the club.

The king and queen of the meme scene eked out solid gains on the day, with GameStop closing 2% higher and AMC popping 6% by the closing bell, but the single-digit boosts were just part of a huge month that had GameStop up almost 33% and AMC up just over 23% with one trading session to go.

August has been huge for other meme stocks, too, with BlackBerry up 11% on the month and Palantir Technologies PLTR, +0.49% up almost 17%.

Some meme stocks have struggled, though, like Koss KOSS, -0.43%, down more than 3% in August, and Bed Bath & Beyond BBBY, -2.45%, essentially flat for the month, as the meme spotlight has widened to include new tickers. The best evidence of this is the recent and meteoric rise of shares in SPRT, -0.23%, a technical-support software company that closed up more than 38% on Monday, adding to its almost 227% weekly gain. boasts all the indicators of a meme with major short volume on one side and surging social-media interest on the other. 

According to a Sunday note from Fintel,’s “short interest % float is a whopping 66.53% and the borrow fee rate remains at 102%, which makes the shares very expensive to borrow and susceptible to margin calls.” 

Retail traders appear to have noticed the short interest in Social-media mentions of the stock were up by a factor of thousands on Aug. 27, according to data for HypeEquity, with more than 12% of the total comments mentioning “short.”

An almost identical trend has been visible in shares of Vinco Ventures BBIG, -0.13%, which leapt more than 30% on Monday after surging 80% on Friday. The stock is up almost 117% in August.

The induction of the new meme-stock class at the dawn of the retail movement’s second year is prompting action from the financial sector.

PayPal made waves on Monday after a CNBC report revealed that former Ally Invest president Rich Hagen had changed his LinkedIn profile to show that he is now chief executive of “Invest at PayPal,” revealing that he is responsible for “[l]eading PayPal’s efforts to explore opportunities in the consumer investment business.”

News that the online-payments giant will encroach on the mobile-first, no-fee trading-app turf of Robinhood is just another signal that financial-services companies are still looking to capitalize on the trading fad.

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