When much of our culture is now determined by the efforts of “community,” the historic price movement behind GameStop (NYSE:GME) isn’t that surprising. In fact, you could say it was just a matter of time before retail investors realized the power they could have over a stock. At one point this year, this power took GME stock as high as $483 a share.
Since then, GME stock has been volatile. But I think we can all agree that, with the exception of the late-August rally, the general direction over the past six months has been down. What’s relevant now, though, is where the stock goes from here.
In my opinion, retail investors must do more than hold GME stock. They should hold the company accountable to protect their investment. Otherwise, what has this all been about?
Some GME bulls would say it was about sticking it to the hedge funds and other short-sellers. However, a report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirms that GME stock soared higher because retail investors piled into shares. That’s in contrast to the widely held opinion that the stock went up due to short-sellers covering their positions, although that may have been an unintended consequence of the GameStop rally.
But as they say in the Marvel Universe, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s time for GME shareholders to wield that power.
Retail Investors Spoke, the Company Listened
One bullish argument for GameStop is that the company has significantly improved its financial picture. In addition to using the elevated stock price to pay down debt, the company may soon be free cash flow (FCF) positive.
I’m glad to hear it. But let’s not pretend GameStop is standing on second base because it hit a double. The company accomplished this due to the investment of retail investors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I applaud management for taking the life raft that was offered.
It’s also clear GameStop has done more than just cut debt. The company appears to have a path forward to generate consistent revenue as it seeks to diversify and modernize, investing in technology and refocusing on e-commerce. There are even rumors it’s getting into the NFT business.
The Numbers Still Don’t Add Up
So, what is the state of GameStop’s business? The consensus opinion of the analyst community has the company reporting a loss of 52 cents per share on revenue of $1.2 billion for the fiscal quarter that ended in October. That would mark a slight improvement over the same quarter in 2020 and a 20% jump in revenue.
But given that 2020 was a year when companies that had an e-commerce model of any kind did solid business, that may not be a fair comparison. With that in mind, I decided to go back two years. The earnings picture is much the same. However, revenue would be down 14% in comparison.
Now here are questions I struggle with even as I know GameStop shareholders do not. Are those numbers enough to justify a stock that is more than 10 times higher in price than at this point in 2020 and 25 times more than at this point in 2019? And if not, why doesn’t that matter?
The Bottom Line on GME Stock
The analyst community has largely abandoned GME stock. According to MarketBeat, six analysts follow the stock. The consensus is that GME stock is a “sell” with a $27.50 price target. That represents a decline of 84% from current levels.
But that target price reflects the opinion of analysts, who don’t control the short-term fortunes of GME stock. That comes down to the retail investors. If they are true believers, then now is the time for them to raise their expectations, not simply resort to shorting the stock. Investors have been paying tomorrow’s price for close to a year. It’s time for them to hold management accountable.
If that happens and the company delivers, this may be one of the greatest investment stories of all time. If not, it will likely be just another cautionary tale.
On the date of publication, Chris Markoch 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.
Chris Markoch is a freelance financial copywriter who has been covering the market for over five years. He has been writing for InvestorPlace since 2019.