Today, investor interest was focused on ongoing meme stock mania and a huge cryptocurrency bet by Carl Icahn. Tonight, everyone will be tuning in to watch the Friends revival episode. But what do you need to know about besides r/WallStreetBets and pop culture nostalgia? And what did the stock market do today? Dive in with InvestorPlace.
To start, here is a look at the major indices:
- The S&P 500 closed higher by 0.12%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 0.41%
- The Nasdaq Composite closed lower by 0.01%
So what did the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
What Did the Stock Market Do Today? Chase Memes.
The meme stocks rally continued on Thursday in a big way, sending AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) to a market capitalization near $12 billion. Gains of roughly 40% on the day prompted some Redditors to question if AMC stock could make it to the moon.
Joining AMC on its meteoric quest today were familiar names like GameStop (NYSE:GME), BlackBerry (NYSE:BB), Rocket Companies (NYSE:RKT) and Clover Health (NASDAQ:CLOV). Retail investors have latched onto these companies in 2021 in hopes of short squeeze, and so far, they have been lucky. Trading action on Tuesday alone cost short-sellers upwards of $700 million.
The story with these names also feels similar. Investors are watching figureheads like Ryan Cohen continue to spark speculative frenzy, such as through not-safe-for-work GIFs. Relatively high short interest continues to come into play, as does the dedication of r/WallStreetBets. Company updates in line with turnaround hopes have also been promising.
However, investors should pay attention to just how this short-squeeze rally and its ripple effects are impacting the market. Moving from meme stocks, it seems investors are targeting any name that has faced the wrath of short-sellers. For instance, Chinese crypto mining firm SOS (NYSE:SOS) saw a huge boost this morning. Supporters on dedicated subreddits rallied against Hindenburg Research, which targeted the company in a February short report. Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA), another target of short-sellers, saw nice gains on the day.
One other noteworthy winner today was Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND). The plant-based meat company was actually first targeted by TV analyst Jim Cramer, who said BYND stock would be his pick for the retail rally. Cramer cited both its high short interest and its need for some further capital. Just like clockwork, r/WallStreetBets latched onto the idea. BYND stock closed out Thursday up by 12%.
Wall Street Is Scrubbing Up
Healthcare — and healthcare professionals — moved front and center during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, an emerging company that serves those professionals is looking to cash in on the New York Stock Exchange. So far, it is meeting those goals. On its first day trading, Figs (NYSE:FIGS) gained nearly 40%, pricing above its IPO range.
So what exactly is Figs? For those unfamiliar, the online retailer is best known for producing scrubs that healthcare workers actually want to wear. Unlike the boxy uniforms of times past, Figs makes scrub pants that fit more like joggers and tops that come without sleeves. It also makes underwear, jackets, face masks and face shields.
Importantly, the trendy company is also growing. Revenue more than doubled to $263 million in 2020. Profits leapt from $112,000 in 2019 to $49.7 million last year.
But perhaps most interesting for investors is exactly how Figs pulled off its timely initial public offering. The healthcare company actually became the first to offer its IPO on the Robinhood app. According to officials, this was a way to give healthcare workers a chance to own a portion of the company. While appealing to the customers it serves, it also speaks to the growing power of retail investors at a time when the Reddit crowd is regaining steam.
So what is the bottom line? Figs seems to have chosen the perfect time and way to go public, and is already impressing investors. This means FIGS stock is certainly a name to keep an eye on going forward.
If It Looks Like a Scam and Smells Like a Scam…
Then, as InvestorPlace Assistant News Writer Brenden Rearick writes, it probably is a scam.
Over the last several months, investors have piled into altcoins. Some, like Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD), Polygon (CCC:MATIC-USD) and Internet Computer (CCC:ICP-USD) promise to disrupt our existing financial systems in meaningful ways. They have robust use cases, and they improve on market leader Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD).
Others simply focus on community. They promise massive gains, but offer only the benefits of dedicated holders who want memes and moonshots. Not all of these altcoins are scams, but they are fertile ground for bad actors looking to take advantage of trusting investors.
Take for example Elon Musk impersonators. As Rearick highlighted, just since October 2020, social media accounts posing as meme-lord Musk have run away with a cumulative $2 million from their victims. All it takes is a duplicate profile photo and a convincing handle — most are brand-new accounts with few followers.
So what can you do to protect yourself on the way to the moon? For Rearick, avoiding cryptocurrency scams is all about being diligent and doing your own research. He recommends everything from thoroughly reading a crypto white paper to investigating social media users before clicking their links or taking their advice. It may sound silly, but it could be the difference between real gains and losing your life savings.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Sarah Smith is the Editor of Today’s Market with InvestorPlace.com.