Meme stocks have exhausted investors this year, and we’re only through the first quarter.
Retail investors have taken to social media sites such as r/WallStreetBets on Reddit to work themselves and others into an irrational frenzy over stocks that they then pump up to unreasonable and unsustainable levels.
From outdated retailers such as GameStop (NYSE:GME) to companies teetering on the edge of insolvency such as movie theatre chain AMC (NYSE:AMC), these stocks do not have the underlying fundamentals to justify share price increases of 100% or more.
The irrational nature of the stocks being targeted is what seems to make them appealing to the Reddit crowds. Of course, many people have lost money as these meme stocks skyrocket and then crash and burn in quick succession.
Here are four of the most popular meme stocks that aren’t worth the hype.
- BlackBerry (NYSE:BB)
- Zomedica (NYSEAMERICAN:ZOM)
- Koss (NASDAQ:KOSS)
- Churchill Capital IV (NYSE:CCIV)
Meme Stocks to Avoid: BlackBerry (BB)
It’s been nearly 15 years since BlackBerry was a significant technology company.
As a glut of other competitors entered the market, BlackBerry was forced to abandon smartphones altogether, although it still licenses its name to a small percentage of phones manufactured and sold in Asia.
Today, BlackBerry has reinvented itself as an enterprise software and the Internet of Things (IoT) company. BlackBerry focuses much of its resources these days on making software for self-driving vehicles.
However, the reinvention has only been mildly successful. BlackBerry continues to struggle in markets outside its native Canada and the company’s financial results continue to underwhelm investors. At the end of March, BlackBerry reported a $315-million loss for its fiscal fourth quarter. Revenue for the quarter came in at $210 million, down from $282 million the previous year.
BB stock has been a disappointment too, barely moving over the past year. However, the stock spiked 237% in January when it briefly became one of the meme stocks and targeted by r/WallStreetBets. The jump was short lived, of course, and today the stock is back down to $8.60 a share, about the same level it was at toward the end of 2020.
Still, January’s sharp move higher prompted several BlackBerry executives to sell their stock in the company. Other shareholders should do the same.
There’s no question that people love their pets, and that love seems to have only grown stronger during the pandemic as people stayed home with their cats and dogs.
Just because people love their pets doesn’t mean they should gamble on animal healthcare company Zomedica. In many ways Zomedica is a classic meme stock, the type of unproven, completely speculative bet the WallStreetBets crowd loves to champion and push higher.
This accounts for why ZOM stock gained 731% between Jan. 4 and Feb. 8 of this year, rising from just $0.35 to a peak of $2.91.
Make no mistake, there was nothing to justify the move upwards in ZOM stock other than irrational exuberance.
Consider that Zomedica didn’t earn any revenue in 2020. Zilch. On top of that, Zomedica posted a net loss of nearly $17 million for last year.
The company has all of its eggs placed in its “Truforma” platform, an animal diagnostic tool that it hopes to sell to veterinarians across the U.S.
While Zomedica forecasts that the animal diagnostics market could be worth $5.4 billion by 2026, there’s no indication that it will get a large share of that market.
ZOM stock is currently trading at $1.46 a share, down 50% from its February high. Buyer beware!
Meme Stocks to Avoid: Koss (KOSS)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Koss, which designs and manufactures headphones, has had a wilder ride than most meme stocks this year.
On Jan. 15, KOSS stock closed the trading day at $2.90 a share. On the 29, the stock finished trading at $64. That’s an increase of 2,107% in a two week span. At one point, the stock hit an intra-day high of $127.45 per share.
By late February, Koss’ share price had crashed down to $11.90 and today the stock is worth $23.20 a share. The gigantic price moves have gotten Koss labelled as a prototypical meme stock, with critics saying that it has been pumped and dumped several times by the Reddit mob.
There hasn’t been much to push KOSS stock higher beyond it being targeted on social media. Koss is a completely average company.
While its headphones are functional and garner generally favourable reviews, the company struggles to compete in the space against titans such as Apple and Sony (NYSE:SONY), and Koss is far from being a household name: Beats by Dre they ain’t.
In fact, Koss has been in business since 1958 and even filed for bankruptcy back in 1984. The company has always struggled to maintain market share. It has consistently been a penny stock since the mid-1980s, and there’s no reason to believe that it can maintain its current lofty valuation over the long-term.
Churchill Capital IV (CCIV)
Among special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), Churchill Capital IV stands out for all the wrong reasons.
Before the shell company announced the target it planned to merge with and bring public, CCIV stock rose 547% based solely on wild speculation. After cresting at a high of $64.86 on Feb. 18, the stock has come down 63% and is now stuck under $25.
Ironically, the share price crashed after Churchill Capital announced on Feb. 22 that it would merge with electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors, a company that many analysts views as viable competitor to market leader Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).
The same investors who were keen to pump up CCIV stock seemed equally eager to sell once the Lucid Motors deal was formally announced. A broad rotation out of technology stocks and mounting fatigue over the sheer number of SPAC deals coming to market this year didn’t help matters.
It remains to be seen if Lucid Motors stock will ultimately be successful once it begins trading under the ticker symbol “LCID” by June 30 of this year, subject to shareholder approval of the deal. But, for now, Churchill Capital IV seems to have become one of the meme stocks that investors should avoid.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held a long position in APPL.