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AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) and other shares in the ‘BANG’ group of stocks favoured by the Reddit community of retail traders over at r/wallstreetbets, have seen their prices pop higher once again on Monday amid reports short-sellers could be circling again.

The BANG group consists of mobile phone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB), AMC, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) and GameStop, all of which have received boosts to their share prices this year as the army of Reddit retail traders sought to inflict large losses on institutional short sellers.

READ: AMC Entertainment touches dizzy heights as it offers free popcorn to retail investors

In early trading in New York, AMC had jumped 19.1% to US$57.10, while GameStop rose 6.5% to US$264.46, BlackBerry climbed 5.5% to US$14.62 and Nokia was up 0.3% at US$5.50.

While the reasons behind surges in the BANG stocks sometimes remain unclear to many traders outside the relevant internet forums, the latest bounce may have been sparked by reports that some institutional investors on Wall Street are deploying new financial instruments to short the stocks that will limit their losses in the event their bets fail to pay off.

According to Reuters analysis of options data and interviews, some institutions have ramped up complex options trades to allow them to bet shares in the BANG stocks, particularly AMC, will suffer falls in value.

However, the analysis also showed the new options protect from losses also limit profits, potentially showing that funds are treading more cautiously after surges in the BANG stocks earlier this year left many short sellers nursing hefty losses.

The institutions instead appear to be betting that the current rally will not last, particularly for the likes of AMC which has seen its share price increase just under 80% since the start of June.

However, the recent increase is just the latest episode in a retail trader and Reddit-backed surge in the price of the stock, which has ballooned by 2,729% since the start of 2021.

AMC’s boom is also a stark turnaround for the fortunes of the cinema chain, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy earlier this year as the pandemic forced its theatres to close and left it haemorrhaging cash. 

However, while institutional short sellers may be hoping AMC’s shares come off their recent highs, the extent to which they can afford to maintain their positions against the army of retail traders is still in doubt.