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GameStop tanks almost 40% as Roaring Kitty fails to spark enthusiasm

GameStop tanks almost 40% as Roaring Kitty fails to spark enthusiasm
A GameStop store is pictured amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, Jan 27, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters file

Stock influencer Keith Gill's first livestream in three years failed to spark enough investor enthusiasm in GameStop?on Friday (June 7) to reverse a nearly 40 per cent slump in the shopping mall retailer's stock after it unveiled a share sale to raise up to US$3 billion (S$4?billion).

On a livestream with more than 600,000 viewers, Gill, the key figure behind an eye-popping rally in the struggling company's stock in 2021, joked about memes and interspersed his discussion of GameStop with various disclaimers.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1prSyyIco0[/embed]

Known on YouTube as Roaring Kitty,?he warned viewers they could "lose it all" and that his "aggressive style of investing, it is almost certainly not suitable for you all".

Shares of GameStop, which also reported its quarterly results four days ahead of schedule on Friday, shot up nearly 50 per cent the day before after Gill posted about the upcoming livestream.

Volatile trading in GameStop, AMC Entertainment and other stocks since Gill's return to social media last month shows some investors still have appetite for risky trades on struggling companies.

"You post a couple of memes, you post a couple of screenshots, and everyone loses their minds," Gill said on the livestream, wearing a headband and white sunglasses.

The stock ended at US$28.22 after it was halted several times ahead of and during the much-anticipated livestream.

Investors exchanged US$10 billion worth of GameStop shares, more than any other stock on Wall Street, except Nvidia?and Apple, according to LSEG data.

Gill also said he was confident in GameStop's billionaire CEO Ryan Cohen.

"I believe this guy," he said about Cohen. "It's kind of based on feeling."

GameStop is "right-sizing" the ship and cutting costs to stabilise the legacy business and "now it's all about the transformation," he said.

"This is what he does. He discusses the fundamentals, he likes the stock, he memes, he drinks, he rambles," user SteveRogers 7 commented on Reddit after Gill's livestream. "You want him to tell you to go and pump GME? That is not gonna happen, stay disappointed."

The company earlier said it would sell up to 75 million shares, but did not respond to a request for more details on the timing of the capital raise.

A spokesperson for the US Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on whether it was reviewing the share sale.

In 2021, Gill's championing of GameStop helped its shares rally by as much as 1,600 per cent before they tumbled. He won a cult-like following among some investors and notoriety with others.

Gill has helped attract a flood of retail cash to the beleaguered bricks-and-mortar retailer with his bullish case on Reddit posts and YouTube streams where he often appeared wearing a bright red pirate bandana.

But after drawing congressional and regulatory scrutiny for his role in the extraordinary saga, Gill disappeared, albeit much richer thanks to his GameStop investment, which at one point touched US$48 million in value.

His return has sent GameStop shares soaring in recent weeks after an account on X linked to Gill on May 13 began posting memes that some investors viewed as a sign of him being bullish on the company. After Friday's drop, the stock remains up more than 50 per cent over that time.

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"Retail traders are growing in force and inserting themselves into the conversation like never before. These investors truly have a seat at the table now and need to be paid their due attention by public companies for their influence," Don Montanaro, president of discount brokerage Firstrade, said.

Just last month, GameStop said it made more than US$900 million by selling 45 million shares as it took advantage of the revival meme-stocks rally.

"Strike while the iron is hot. AMC was applauded for making use of their stock price surge to clean up its balance sheet, so it's not surprising that GameStop would take a page from their playbook," said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management.

Theater chain AMC, also a retail darling, completed a US$250 million "at-the-market" share sale during the meme-stock craze last month.

Shares of other so-called meme stocks also tumbled on Friday. AMC lost 15 per cent and headphone maker Koss?dropped 17 per cent.

GameStop's quarterly results showed net sales declined from year ago as it struggles with customers buying videogames online instead of at its stores.

[embed]https://youtu.be/PY1Mhm8ubus?si=3h8uRiEiCpd1Yr7n[/embed]

ALSO READ:?GameStop shares plummet after fifth CEO exit in 5 years

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