GameStop, AMC meme revolution: one year since retail investors took stocks on wild ride

GameStop shares are down 34% year to date, while AMC is off 45%

A year ago in January, the U.S. stock market got a jolt and an in-your-face introduction to a fresh crop of meme stocks as the retail trading community and Reddit traders waged war against short-sellers and hedge funds.

GameStop and AMC shares climbed and then cratered sending U.S. trading volume across all stock exchanges on Jan. 27, 2021, to the biggest day of the year, as tracked by Dow Jones Market Data Group. Volume has not hit that level since. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GME GAMESTOP CORP. 89.01 -7.00 -7.29%
AMC AMC ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS INC 10.38 -1.20 -10.33%

Investment app Robinhood, facing liquidity issues, was forced to suspend some trades, while other brokerages dealt with outages and chaos. 

In the months following, the Securities and Exchange Commission was called on to address the market volatility, even the White House weighed in. 

FOX Business took a look at what we’ve learned since then. 

Meme favorites shifting 

Retail traders are shifting when it comes to their favorite and most-held stocks, according to Apex Clearing which tracks the percentage of holdings by generation. 

For GenZ and Millennials, Tesla, Apple and AMC lead the top three, while GameStop has fallen to 11th and 14th place. 

Mighty retail investors 

Retail investors are a mighty group and getting mightier. Data shared with FOX Business from some of the biggest brokerage firms tell the story. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SCHW THE CHARLES SCHWAB CORP. 63.94 -1.33 -2.04%
HOOD ROBINHOOD MARKETS INC. 9.11 -0.95 -9.44%
IBKR INTERACTIVE BROKERS GROUP INC. 56.51 -1.04 -1.81%

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AMC CEO jumps into the fray 

After watching from the sidelines, AMC CEO Adam Aron decided to get more active on Twitter last year, opening up a direct line of communication with retail traders via social media. The move was first reported by FOX Business.

  (Photo illustration | Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The company also, in June, rolled out "AMC Investor Connect," a portal where the company aims to entice retail investors with information and promotions. Aaron can often be found pulsing his followers on items like accepting cryptocurrencies or touting upcoming films. 

AMC stock over the past 12 months

The stock has gained about 68% over the past 52 weeks. 

Securities & Exchange Commission: GameStop report 

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who took over after the January brouhaha, was tasked with figuring out what if anything was suspect when the market went haywire on January 28. Rumors of intentional interference tied to hedge funds was ruled out in a lengthy GameStop report titled: "Staff Report on Equity and Options Market Structure Conditions in Early 2021."

What’s notable is the SEC is still searching for clarity. On Wednesday Gensler released a statement saying, "The events of last January gave us an opportunity to consider how we can further our efforts to make the equity markets as fair, orderly, and efficient as possible…" but he also urged for more feedback. "I look forward to staff recommendations that address their conclusions and areas for further consideration in the GameStop report," he said. 

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