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GameStop and AMC stocks surge as 'Roaring Kitty' returns

It wasn't only GameStop that caught fire Monday. Some of the same meme stocks that recorded astronomical gains back in 2021 surged as well.
Credit: House Financial Services Committee via AP, File
FILE - Keith Gill, a GameStop investor, also known as Roaring Kitty, testifies during a virtual hearing on GameStop in Washington, Feb. 18, 2021.

NEW YORK — The man at the center of the pandemic meme stock craze appeared online for the first time in three years, sending the prices of those quirky and volatile stocks sharply higher Monday.

Keith Gill, better known as “Roaring Kitty,” posted an image on Sunday of a man sitting forward in his chair, a meme used by gamers when things are getting serious.

He followed that tweet with a YouTube video from years before saying, “That’s all for now cuz I’m out of breath. FYI here’s a quick 4min video I put together to summarize the $GME bull case.”

GameStop in 2021 was a video game retailer that was struggling to survive as consumers switched rapidly from discs to digital downloads. Big Wall Street hedge funds and investors were betting against it, or shorting its stock, believing that it would continue a well established downward trend.

Gill and those who agreed with him changed the trajectory of a company that appeared to headed for bankruptcy by buying up thousands of the companies shares. That forced what is know as a “short squeeze,” when those big investors that had bet against GameStop began buying those stocks rapidly rising in value to offset massive their massive losses.

At Monday's opening bell it appeared that Gill had reignited that phenomenon as shares of GameStop more than doubled at the opening bell and were trading 60% higher at midday. It's the biggest intraday trading jump for GameStop since the meme craze in 2021. Other meme stocks like the theater chain AMC were jolted higher as well.

Gill became a cause célèbre in 2021 after his posts on the Reddit subcategory Wallstreetbets ignited a battle between thousands of smaller retail investors and large hedge funds that were betting heavily against the survival of GameStop, shorting its stock.

The small guys won, at least for a while, driving shares of GameStop up more than 1,000% in 2021, and other meme stocks as well. The struggling movie theater chain AMC jumped 2,300% in the same year.

And some big traders lost billions.

Citron Research, Melvin Capital and other well-known hedge funds lost an estimated $5 billion on the other side of the trade in 2021, according to analytics firm S3 Partners.

Gill and other investors in GameStop were betting, in part, on the ability of Ryan Cohen, co-founder of Chewy.com, to push the traditional retailer in a more online direction. Cohen built up a stake in GameStop before eventually joining the board and last year becoming its CEO.

Yet it wasn't only GameStop that caught fire Monday. Some of the same meme stocks that recorded astronomical gains back in 2021 surged as well.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. leapt 33%. Koss Co. a headphone manufacturer, spiked 25% and BlackBerry, the one time dominant smartphone maker, rose 7%. The retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond, another meme stock, sought bankruptcy protection last year.

However, some meme stocks including GameStop and AMC had already been climbing higher earlier this month, and rapidly.

Shares of GameStop Corp., which have faded steadily since 2021, had risen 57% this month. In January, GameStop reported its first annual profit since 2018, although it’s still unclear if Cohen’s turnaround plan will succeed.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., had risen 10% over the past 30 days.

Gill reaped a big profit investing in a troubled video-game company, but denied when he appeared virtually at a Congressional hearing that he used social media to drive up GameStop's stock price.

He told lawmakers at the time simply, “I like the stock.”

As Roaring Kitty, Gill vanished from messaging boards after posting a video in June 2021 of kittens going to sleep.

The story of Roaring Kitty and the meme stock craze was turned into a movie last year called “Dumb Money.”

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