By Wallace Witkowski
GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Inc. shares burst out of the gate Friday and both finished for their best week ever as an army of social-media rallying retail investors sought to take on established Wall Street firms.
GameStop /zigman2/quotes/203755179/composite GME -1.22% shares leapt 113% to an intraday high of $413.98, and closed Friday up 68% at $325.00. AMC /zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite AMC +0.20% shares surged 85% to $16.00 at Friday’s open and closed up 54% at $13.26. Friday gains overcame Thursday’s losses when several online trading platforms started restricting trades of the volatile stocks. That turned around late Thursday when online trading platform Robinhood said it would allow limited buying of volatile stocks for now .
By Friday’s close, more than 49 million shares of GameStop had exchanged hands. That’s less than the 10-day average daily volume of 91.8 million, but more than the 52-week average daily volume of 10.8 million. AMC share volume was even more pronounced, trading more than 589 million shares by the close, compared with a 10-day average of 367.8 million and a 52-week daily average of 25.5 million shares.
GameStop’s share price has jumped 400% on the week, while AMC’s share price has surged 278%, notching the best performing weeks ever for both stocks.
The frenzy for buying up downtrodden stocks hasn’t just been limited to GameStop and AMC.
Siebert Financial Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203873990/composite SIEB -0.32% shares, which had been halted several times Friday, more than tripled out of the gate on no news, and finished Friday up 122% at $8.22.
BB Liquidating Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205925187/composite BLIAQ -13.33% , the holding company of long-bankrupt Blockbuster Video that lives on as a penny stock, surged more than 70% at the open to 14 cents a share, and finished up 14% at 8 cents a share. That closes out a week where the penny stock’s price has surged more than 1,200%.
On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was closely monitoring price volatility of certain stocks and was ready to take aggressive action if it finds evidence of market manipulation.
Interest in buying and holding stocks that are heavily shorted has risen greatly since retail traders using Reddit have sought to retaliate against Wall Street firms en masse since mid-month, when GameStop shares started their meteoric rise .
Noted short-selling activist Andrew Left of Citron Research , who has been vilified in Reddit threads, said on Friday he would stop writing reports on stocks he feels should be shorted after 20 years.
Other heavily shorted stocks that have seen big gains over the past month range from Tesla Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +0.18% modest 12% gain to Naked Brand Group Ltd.’s /zigman2/quotes/204285810/composite NAKD -1.57% 759% gain year to date. Other shorted stocks falling between that range of gains include Blackberry Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202784246/composite BB -0.95% , Nokia /zigman2/quotes/207421390/composite NOK +1.20% , Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209801102/composite BBBY -1.52% , National Beverage Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205234797/composite FIZZ -0.56% , SunPower Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200243424/composite SPWR -2.60% , Tootsie Roll Industries Inc /zigman2/quotes/200900273/composite TR +0.22% ., Ligand Pharmaceutical Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202030140/composite LGND +0.60% , Macerich Co . /zigman2/quotes/203054096/composite MAC +3.60% , Fossil Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202056599/composite FOSL -2.02% , and 3D Systems Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204115574/composite DDD -1.05% .