We’re past the point of denial about meme stocks. What looked unsustainable nine months ago is proving to have staying power. Retail investors continue to identify their favorite stocks and drive up the price.
The bullish case for meme stocks says that retail investors, with more research available to them than ever before, are willing to take a risk on companies that may be the next Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The bearish case is that they may be propping up companies that deserve to trade for much, much lower.
Who’s to say which side is right? I tend to believe that some of the moral outrage being expressed by retail investors against hedge funds is a rationale to avoid admitting that they’re investment strategy is similar to gambling. But there are many things in life that are a gamble and it’s not my money.
That argument will continue to play out in 2022. So it may be interesting to look at 10 meme stocks that have been part of the this movement in 2021. And it’s also time to take a look at how these stocks may fare in 2022.
- GameStop (NYSE:GME)
- AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC)
- BlackBerry (NYSE:BB)
- Clover Health (NASDAQ:CLOV)
- Zomedica (NYSE:ZOM)
- Sundial Growers (NASDAQ:SNDL)
- Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY)
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)
- ContextLogic (NASDAQ:WISH)
- XPresSpa (NASDAQ:XSPA)
Top Meme Stocks of 2021: GameStop (GME)
GameStop is the company that made the terms “meme stocks” and “short squeeze” household names. The initial surge in GME stock was caused by retail investors who identified a high level of short interest in the stock. This led to the short squeeze to end all short squeezes. GameStop stock moved from $17.25 to a closing price of $347.51 in late January.
However, a recent report from the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) confirms that the rise in the GME stock price was largely due to retail investors continuing to bid the stock higher, not as much short sellers covering their position.
Needless to say, the stock price wasn’t sustainable, but GME stock is still up over 600% in 2021. It’s unrealistic to expect that the company will deliver that kind of performance in 2022. The company’s ability to pivot from a brick-and-mortar to a digital model has yet to be determined. But at this point, loyal GameStop investors believe in the stock, and that may be enough to push the stock higher.
AMC Entertainment (AMC)
When it comes to meme stocks, AMC Entertainment is the Robin to GameStop’s Batman. However, the AMC apes may say the opposite is true. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the committed AMC army has seen the stock post a 1,000% gain in 2021.
The company is known for its chain of movie theatres. That was a troubled business model prior to the pandemic. However, as is the case with GameStop, the stock is not moving forward because investors are putting stock in the company’s current fundamentals; they have their eyes fixed on the future.
Between AMC’s move into the non-fungible token (NFT) space and its willingness to accept some forms of cryptocurrency, the retail crowd believes there’s an emerging growth story for AMC stock.
I don’t share that belief. Revenue for 2021 is expected to be about a billion dollars shy of where it was in 2019. Yet at this point in 2019, AMC stock was trading at around $8. As for 2022, the loyalty of retail investors could prop up the stock for some time to come. However, like GameStop, conservative investors should stay far away.
Top Meme Stocks of 2021: BlackBerry (BB)
BlackBerry may be best known to some people as the manufacturer of the mobile phone of the same name. And while some people may long to have their BlackBerry, the larger story of the company had to do with the safety and security that was built into the product. That’s because BlackBerry is, at its core, a software company.
And that’s why, if you’re looking to buy the stock in 2022, you’ll want to look at their cybersecurity offerings that currently accounts for approximately two-thirds of BlackBerry’s revenue.
There is some sentiment that BlackBerry is an acquisition target. However, the reason to buy BB stock is for its strategic partnerships with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon. The latter is the most intriguing because it will allow BlackBerry’s Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform (IVY) to provide a consistent and secure common app that can be used for autonomous driving.
Although the autonomous vehicle (AV) future may be years away, if you believe in that future, a small, speculative position in BB stock may pay off in the long run.
Clover Health (CLOV)
Like many companies on this list, the risk/reward calculus for Clover Health in 2022 comes down to its ability to generate revenue with its Clover Assistant. The Clover Assistant uses AI and predictive analysis to give doctors actionable patient care information that will drive better health outcomes.
The bullish case says that by focusing on Medicare Advantage patients, Clover Health has a huge addressable market. The flipside to that argument is that many doctors the company is targeting don’t have that many Medicare Advantage patients.
And, because of the regulatory environment that surrounds Medicate Advantage, it may not be as profitable as expected. One way that the company may look to address this is by opening up the Clover Assistant to fee-for-service Medicare patients.
With that said, CLOV stock does have a $9 price target from the analyst community, which suggests that risk-tolerant investors may be rewarded for their investment.
Top Meme Stocks of 2021: Zomedica (ZOM)
I’ve followed Zomedica for most of 2021 and thought it was miscast as a meme stock. But the stock chart says it all. ZOM stock was literally a penny stock in December 2020. But in the first two months of 2021, it soared to over $2 a share. It’s since fallen back and is now back in penny stock territory.
The story of Zomedica will come down to the acceptance of its Truforma product. This allows veterinarians to run diagnostic tests in their offices that they currently would have to send to an outside lab at additional time and expense. The company has launched a Customer Appreciation Program that will seed the product in veterinarian offices at no cost. The catalyst is that the offices make an agreement to buy the assays that are required to run the diagnostic tests directly from Zomedica.
The company also recently acquired PulseVet, which gives the company another revenue-generation opportunity for the company that should start contributing to the company’s revenue in the next few quarters.
Sundial Growers (SNDL)
The cannabis sector continues to draw speculative interest, although profitability still seems to be years away. And Sundial Growers remains one of the most volatile stocks in the sector.
If you’re going to invest in SNDL stock in 2022, you have to be convinced that their business model will work. But before you answer that question, you have to buy into what that business model is. It appears that the most profitable path is if the company can benefit from its affiliate filing an application to be a Business Development Company (BDC).
This would seem like a better option than trying to forge a path ahead as a cannabis retailer. That continues to be a difficult path for any cannabis company, particularly as legalization in the United States is likely going to take longer than expected.
Top Meme Stocks of 2021: Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)
Bed Bath & Beyond is a curious case among the meme stocks. I can’t say the company is doing anything definitively wrong. But it’s also not doing anything that justifies a stock price that at one point was over $35 a share in 2021.
That’s why it’s part of this meme stock list, because retail investors have figured out a formula and they’re making it work. Still, you have to be careful with your expectations. The company’s revenue and earnings are still down from pre-pandemic levels and yet the stock price is above pre-pandemic levels.
The company recently announced a partnership with Kroger (NYSE:KR) that got some investors excited. However, it doesn’t appear to be a move that will be noticeable to the bottom line for several quarters, if ever.
Bed Bath & Beyond is making some moves to close underperforming stores and introduce private-label brands. But it’s unclear how much playing defense will be able to help, which makes BBBY stock a risky option in 2022.
Before meme stocks were a thing, there was Tesla. And one thing you can say about owning TSLA is that there’s never a dull moment. After the stock climbed to over $1,200 a share this year, it’s down to around $930, and that still has rewarded investors to the tune of a 32% gain for the year.
I’ve long felt that TSLA stock is valued the way it is because investors view it as a technology play more than an electric vehicle (EV) play. However, it would seem that the company’s immediate fortunes will depend on its EV business, which should be a catalyst in 2022.
Faisal Humayun recently wrote, Tesla plans to launch a $25,000 fully autonomous electric vehicle. That would be a clear game changer in terms of market share. And with $16.1 billion of cash on hand, the company has the balance sheet to invest in future expansion and innovation.
Top Meme Stocks of 2021: ContextLogic (WISH)
The only words I can offer to those looking to invest in ContextLogic is let the buyer beware. I can’t say the company isn’t trying to improve its financial situation. But the long-term outlook for WISH stock is troubled. And it’s unclear what the sales outlook is. Plus, the company’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) announced he will be stepping aside as soon as a replacement is found.
On the other hand, if you’re a believer in the speculative nature of the meme stock movement, then there are few stocks that bear it out more than WISH stock. The stock continues to be propped up by retail investors. And the analyst community gives the company a share price of over $11. That’s a gain of over 250% from its current price.
But short interest remains high. And if you’re looking to open a position on WISH stock, you may want to wait until the outlook becomes clear.
I have to admit, if someone had told me there was a business case for XpresSpa Group in 2022, I would have been skeptical. And while I won’t be buying XSPA stock anytime soon, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
For those who are unfamiliar, the company has two business units. Its namesake unit, XpresSpa, offers premium spa services and “exclusive travel products and accessories through partnership with some of the leading cosmetics brands in the world.”
However, with the collapse of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, the company made a strategic pivot to turn their existing facilities into Covid-19 testing facilities. The idea was to have a location for airline crews and passengers to get fast, convenient testing at the airport.
And as the pandemic remains in the public consciousness, rapid testing will remain a viable option, particularly as a significant segment of the population remains unvaccinated. However, it’s fair to question how much revenue the company can generate from this model. The company was continuing to lose money so it’s certainly not enough to be profitable.
And with the company losing money prior to the pandemic in its prior business model, this is still a speculative bet.
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 seven years. He has been writing for InvestorPlace since 2019.