Retail traders have won big (and lost big) with meme stocks in 2021. When the social media-driven investing phenomenon became a thing last January, those early enough to the game saw jaw-dropping returns in the span of just a few weeks.
The same thing happened during the summer when the trend came back in vogue, this time with a greater focus on short-squeeze potential. Not only did some new names obtain meme stock status as a result, but the original names in this category made partial or even full rebounds.
But now, as crypto has become hot again among retail traders, the popularity of meme stocks has cooled. There may still be plenty of buzz about them on platforms like Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets. New stocks continue to see meme-driven, “to the moon” moves. But since the second meme stock wave ended, the most popular names in this category are either treading water or trending lower.
With the meme stock trend waning, it’s best to be choosy when it comes to buying them. Some names in this category have potential to rebound — albeit on their own merits. But others have little more than Reddit hype backing them up.
These seven meme stocks are in the latter category and more likely to see further declines instead of a move to past highs:
- AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC)
- Camber Energy (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI)
- Clover Health (NASDAQ:CLOV)
- Digital World Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:DWAC)
- GameStop (NYSE:GME)
- Ocugen (NASDAQ:OCGN)
- Remark Holdings (NASDAQ:MARK)
Meme Stocks: AMC Entertainment (AMC)
Along with GameStop, AMC Entertainment is in what I like to call the “meme stock legends” category. As I’m sure you’re aware, shares in the movie theatre chain were one of the first names to be sent to the moon by the trend.
During this initial wave, shares zoomed from around $2 per share to prices topping $20 per share. But unlike GME stock, which hit its all-time high during the first meme stock wave, AMC stock hit its high water mark during the second wave this summer.
After falling back to $10 per share this spring, between late May and early June, AMC stock went on an incredible run. Most notably, it hit a high of $72.62 per share on June 2.
Since then, however, hype around the company has waned considerably. The self-proclaimed “Ape army” of retail traders that held the stock with “diamond hands” have helped it hold onto most of its meme-related gains.
But once more of them decide to cash out, expect shares to take a massive dive. With its underlying value likely below $10 per share, a high-double digit decline is in store for AMC stock once the meme crowd leaves the scene. To avoid getting caught holding the bag, it’s best to stay away.
Camber Energy (CEI)
A more recent meme name, micro-cap oil and gas play CEI stock became a Reddit favorite thanks to rising energy prices, a low stock price and high short interest.
However, not too long after it made a move nearly 10 times higher to $4.85 per share, a vocal short seller came out with a scathing short report. Kerrisdale Capital, the group behind the report, stated in the tagline: “What if they made a whole company out of red flags?”
Calling its key asset “low quality” and “dangerously levered,” Kerrisdale also alleged that the company’s move into clean energy was built more on hype than substance. As a result of the short-seller’s bombshell 25-page report, Camber Energy shares tanked, falling back below $1 per share. In the weeks since, it’s tried to bounce back, and trades around $1.26 per share as of this writing.
On Oct. 12, I argued there was still a chance of it spiking once more due to its popularity as a short-squeeze play. Yet as we head into November, the level of conversation about Camber Energy on r/WallStreetBets has quieted down. I wouldn’t count on an encore. With the short side likely right about this situation, take a hard pass on CEI stock.
Meme Stocks: Clover Health (CLOV)
Shares in former special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Clover Health didn’t join in on the fun during the initial meme stock wave. Instead, at the time, shares in the Medicare Advantage plan provider were trending lower.
At the time, a report from a short-seller was released, revealing that the company was under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Looking back, this investigation has done little to impact the company’s operations. Even so, the controversy was cause enough for short sellers to pile in. In turn, this pushed CLOV stock down to around $7 per share by late May.
For those who were long in the stock, this came just in time for the short-squeeze focused second meme wave. In a matter of weeks, the stock went on a quick trip to the moon, climbing to as much as $28.85 per share.
Unfortunately, the trip didn’t last long. Following the frenzy, it steadily made its way back to earth, giving back most of its gains by July.
So far, with the exception of a failed attempt in early September, Clover has yet to bounce back. Admittedly, if it can solve its profitability challenges, an epic recovery could be in the cards. But until it proves that its high Medical Care Ratio (MCR) is temporary, consider this stock a “wait and see” situation at best.
Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC)
Traders waiting for the next AMC or GME may have thought they found it on Oct. 21, when DWAC stock became the latest name to join the meme stock ranks.
A SPAC trading around its offering price, Digital World Acquisition went up more than 300% that day on news that it would take former President Trump’s latest venture, Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), public. The next day, as the investing public became more aware of it, shares made another triple-digit percentage move, climbing as high as $175 per share.
But now, the frenzy may be coming to a close. DWAC stock is down 58% since then and is trending lower. Will this sell-off continue? At this point, it’s hard to tell. On one hand, even if the company’s social media platform finds only a limited audience, the company could find success with its planned subscription-based streaming service.
On the other hand, this is a high-risk venture. Trump has had mixed success with businesses outside of real estate. As a Forbes commentator pointed out, the fact this platform’s distribution is dependent on big tech — which it’s also trying to take on — is a hurdle as well.
At lower prices, it may be a worthwhile speculative bet. But while it remains a meme stock? Not so much.
Meme Stocks: GameStop (GME)
GameStop may have kicked off the whole meme stock trend when it skyrocketed from $20 to as much as $483 per share. But after its pullback to around $180 per share, there’s little reason to buy it this late in the game.
Sure, the meme stock phenomenon may not be over. Shares in this brick-and-mortar video game retailer, which is trying to transform into an e-commerce play, may still be propped up by the legion of Reddit traders who bid it up to triple-digit prices.
But at some point, it’ll finally be “game over” for GME stock. If the overall market corrects, it could cause those still long in the stock to finally cash out. Or, said investors might trickle out even as stocks stay steady as new meme opportunities pop up.
Like AMC stock, expect GameStop to fall to much lower prices once it’s again valued based on its fundamentals. Given the chances its digital metamorphosis will pan out, I don’t see it falling back to pre-meme levels. But the stock still trades above what the company would be worth as an e-commerce pure play, so there’s only one direction it can go from here: lower.
Among the meme stocks discussed here, OCGN stock may be the one I’m most bearish on. That’s mostly because any way you slice it, it’s hard to see this company being able to produce the results necessary to sustain the $1.65 billion market capitalization it sports at today’s prices.
The bull case for Ocugen is built around its ability to successfully commercialize Covaxin. The company holds North American licensing rights to the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which was developed by India-based Bharat Biotech.
However, it still hasn’t been given full approval or even Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. or Canada. The odds are slim that Ocugen will generate substantial revenue from Covaxin.
Many speculators are hopeful that, if the World Health Organization (WHO) gives it an Emergency Use Listing (EUL), it’ll speed up the regulatory go-ahead in both countries. But the existing crop of vaccines have first mover advantage. Additionally, employer-based vaccine mandates are helping to improve American vaccination rates. With vaccination rates already high in Canada, it may all be too little, too late.
Once it’s undeniably clear this company doesn’t have a billion dollar opportunity on its hands with Covaxin, expect OCGN stock to make its way to much lower prices.
Meme Stocks: Remark Holdings (MARK)
Remark Holdings has a long history of being a meme stock. In fact, you can say it was a meme trade before the term was even coined.
If you recall, retail traders bid MARK stock up in mid-2020 on the buzz surrounding its AI-powered thermal screening devices. Of course, as thermal screening failed to catch on as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19, this potential catalyst came and went.
Falling back down in late 2020, it popped again thanks to the initial meme stock wave in early 2021. But that too quickly faded.
Just recently, we’ve seen Remark shares pop up again. This time, as InvestorPlace’s William White reported, the hype surrounding DWAC stock spilled over into other stocks with a Trump connection — including MARK stock.
However, this connection is very indirect. As it becomes clear Remark has nothing to do with the launch of TMTG, the frenzy is fading fast. After its run to as much as $6.70 per share, MARK stock is back to less than $2 per share. Avoid it at all costs, as it’s likely to fall even further to prior price levels.
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On the date of publication, Thomas Niel 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.
Thomas Niel, a contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.