Tag Archives: Stock Market

New Report: Millions of Fails to Deliver in AMC and APE Shares

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings reached the millions in the first half of September. The chaos hit both AMC and AMC Preferred Equity (APE) shares, according to a new report out today from the SEC.


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APE fails to deliver peaked at 2.4 million shares on September 1st. AMC fails to deliver peaked a week later on September 8th, at 2.2 million shares.

AMC shares have had large and persistent fails to deliver for over a year. It’s telling that as soon as APE shares were issued, huge fails to deliver appeared there as well.

Meanwhile, much larger companies continue to have almost no trades failing. Let’s take a look at fails to deliver in a few major stocks on Sept 1st:

Amazon: 0

Apple: 5,679

Microsoft: 0

Tesla: 14,727

APE: 2,366,422

And again a week later:

Amazon: 17,603

Apple: 523,020

Microsoft: 179

Tesla: 10,561

AMC: 2,164,802

Fails to deliver in AMC and APE are dramatically larger than in much bigger companies. Why are these shares in constant chaos while other companies are unaffected?

I suspect it’s because of naked short selling by hedge funds. This illegal practice involves selling short shares you never borrowed.

It’s a powerful weapon to crush a stock. If you never have to find shares to borrow, you can sell short any amount!

This can reach absurd levels. In August, we saw fails to deliver in APE shares exceed the entire daily trading volume.

The SEC must investigate what’s going on in AMC and APE shares. Until they do, it’s hard to believe the prices we see are real.

What do you think of the huge number of failed trades in these shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 👋

More on markets:

Over 43 Million APE Shares Fail to Deliver — Market in Chaos

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

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Shopify’s Tobi Lutke on Layoffs and Building for the Long Term

Few people did better during the pandemic than Tobi Lutke. The Shopify founder signed merchants to his e-commerce platform at a record pace, doubling revenues in 2020.

It was all systems go. Lutke hired like crazy to meet demand and locked up every server he could.

Meanwhile, Shopify’s stock price more than quintipled, putting the company’s valuation at over $200 billion.

In an excellent episode of This Week in Startups, Lutke tells us what it was like to guide his company through these heady times.

Employees were so distracted that Lutke had to make a rule: anyone caught checking the stock price had to buy donuts for everyone. Tim Horton’s, if you please.

But as the pandemic receded and stores reopened, consumers retreated from e-commerce. This left Shopify overbuilt and overextended.

Lutke was in a position he’d never been in throughout Shopify’s heady expansion. He had to do layoffs.

Shopify laid off 10% of the company this summer. For Lutke, the decision was wrenching.

“They were some of our hardest days.”

Tobias Lutke

Because Shopify had expanded ahead of demand. When demand dropped, that left Lutke with no choice but to lay off workers.

However, many of those workers would’ve never had the job in the first place had Lutke not expanded aggressively. And as well-paid tech workers, they’re likely to land on their feet.

Shopify’s tough times show how even large businesses struggle. A company with a $200 billion market cap can see its stock crushed and be forced to do layoffs just months later!

Take heart, early stage founders! The big boys face huge challenges too, just like you.

In all, I think Shopify is well positioned for the long term. It focuses on providing amazing service and doesn’t copy merchants’ products like Amazon.

When your livelihood depends on a platform, you want someone you can trust. Shopify fulfills that role better than Amazon.

I also commend Lutke for building a more honest culture at Shopify than most companies. He calls Shopify a team, not a family.

We all know the “family” rhetoric is nonsense. I have to give Lutke credit for telling it like it is.

I think his employees will too!

What do you think of Lutke’s leadership during the pandemic? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

When Are You Ready to Raise a Seed Round?

How to Avoid Scams, Find Investors, and Lead Like the Best

The Founders: The Story of PayPal

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This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

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Misfits Market

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Who Will Unfreeze the IPO Market?

It’s every founder and investor’s dream: ringing the bell at the NASDAQ on the day you go public. But in 2022, that dream has been elusive as tech IPOs have vanished.


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From a report out this weekend in the Financial Times:

The stock market downturn since the start of the year has caused the longest drought in US technology listings this century, with experts cautious about the pace of a revival even after tentative signs of life in other sectors.

Wednesday will mark 238 days without a tech IPO worth more than $50mn, surpassing the previous records set in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the early 2000s dotcom crash, according to research by Morgan Stanley’s technology equity capital markets team.

Startups are afraid to IPO in a down market. The NASDAQ has fallen 28% so far this year, and many tech stocks have fallen far more.

No startup wants its stock to get hammered like high profile IPOs Robinhood or Coinbase:

When you go public and your stock starts dropping like a stone, employees watch the price all day. This hurts morale, not to mention productivity.

In these turbulent times, startups are better off in the tranquil harbors of the private markets. There, valuations rarely change and companies can build outside the public eye.

Startups are able to stay private longer because many raised huge sums last year. Many late stage startups bagged $100 million or more from firms like Tiger Global.

That means they don’t need to go public to raise money. So, they can wait until the most opportune time to cash out.

If I were a shareholder of a late stage startup, I wouldn’t want them to go public any time soon. Why risk a black eye in the markets when you can wait it out?

Sooner or later, the IPO window will reopen. The most likely candidates to force it open are high profile startups like Stripe or Instacart.

Indeed, Instacart is working on an IPO and may list later this year. If that IPO is a success, you can bet there will be many more.

Until then, let’s bide our time and build!

When do you think the IPO window will reopen? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Midas Speaks: Sequoia’s Don Valentine at Stanford GSB

Why Drone Delivery Will Be an Awesome Business

Giving Investors What They Need to Say Yes

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: “Yahoo! opens NASDAQ” by Yahoo Inc is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Over 43 Million APE Shares Fail to Deliver — Market in Chaos

The market in AMC Entertainment Holdings Preferred Equity (APE) shares is a mess. Fails to deliver (FTDs) peaked at over 43 million shares last month, according to a report just out from the SEC.


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These new shares were issued last month by AMC and began trading on August 22. FTDs peaked at 43,438,257 shares two days later.

This represents over 8% of all shares outstanding. And it all happened in 3 days!

FTDs like this is beyond a mix-up. It’s a total market meltdown.

FTDs remained elevated through the end of the August reporting period. They settled at 5,635,854 on August 31, the last data available.

Let’s compare the FTDs on August 24th in APE shares with those of some of the biggest stocks in the market:

Amazon: 0

Apple: 395,929

Google: 113

Microsoft: 0

Tesla: 530

APE: 43,438,257

APE shares have dramatically more FTD’s than other, much larger stocks.

FTDs can sometimes happen for benign reasons, like clerical errors. But when there’s a sustained pattern of massive trade failures, it often indicates naked short selling.

This generally illegal practice involves selling short shares without borrowing them first. It’s a powerful way to push down a stock’s price.

If you don’t have to find shares to borrow or pay interest, you can sell short as many shares as you like! All that selling makes a stock’s price crater.

If naked short sellers are targeting APE, so far they seem to be winning. The stock is down 43% since its debut.

The NYSE and SEC must look into this market breakdown immediately. One in three trades failing is not a functional market.

What do you think of the huge FTD numbers in APE shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

SoftBank May Launch Third Vision Fund

Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Group may launch a third, massive venture fund. From a report that broke this morning in The Wall Street Journal:


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Global tech investor SoftBank Group Corp. is considering the launch of a new giant startup investment fund, part of a plan to turn a new leaf after the poor performance at its two earlier funds, according to people familiar with discussions at the company. 

SoftBank, led by Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, has been hit particularly hard by the rout in tech valuations that began last fall, posting a record $23 billion loss in the three months ending in June. 

The first two Vision funds, massive at $99 billion and $56 billion respectively, have not performed well. The first is up just 20% since its launch in 2017, while the second has lost nearly 20%.

Massive bets on WeWork, Didi Global, and others have soured, leaving the funds with huge losses.

But if we look at Softbank’s performance more closely, the picture begins to brighten.

Vision Fund 1 is at least in the black. And since it was launched in 2017, it has about another 5 years on its fund life.

That’s a lot of time to notch big gains.

Vision Fund 2’s performance looks awful, until you realize it’s only 3 years old. It’s common for venture funds to lose money early on, as poor performers go bust.

The big winners usually take longer to mature.

But the Vision funds have one big thing against them: size. A venture fund is expected to at least triple in 10 years to justify the risk.

That’s hard enough with a small fund, but when you’re sitting on $100 billion, it’s almost impossible.

If you own 10% of companies you invest in, you have to find companies that will generate $3 trillion of value in 10 years. That’s more than the entire market cap of Apple.

Even if you own 20%, you still need to find a Google. In every fund.

Companies like Apple and Google are rare, coming along perhaps once a decade. The idea that you’ll find one every few years and be able to get major ownership is unlikely.

Another problem with having so much capital is that you have to write tons of huge checks, fast. It’s venture capital meets Brewster’s Millions.

This means writing giant checks at high valuations with minimal oversight. After all, who has time to attend all those board meetings when you’ve got billions more to deploy?

Big investors have been lured by the siren song of venture capital for years, from Softbank to Tiger Global. They see the big returns and think “What if I could get returns like that on my $100 billion?”

The problem is that venture capital doesn’t scale that big.

Done right, Vision Fund 3 could be a huge success.

Valuations are down and capital is scarce. This is especially true at the late stage, Softbank’s specialty.

Son could have his pick of deals, making gains so large any past failures are forgotten. But he’d be wise to keep the fund small.

Son has had some incredible successes — Alibaba, DoorDash, Uber. He may be struggling now, but something tells me he’ll make a comeback.

Would you invest in Vision Fund 3? Why or why not?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Why Drone Delivery Will Be an Awesome Business

John Doerr’s Biggest Mistake

Giving Investors What They Need to Say Yes

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

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Photo: Masayoshi Son

New Index Will Drive Demand for AMC, Other Meme Stocks

Note: This is not financial advice.

Robinhood Markets is launching a new index fund to track meme stocks. From a report that broke this morning in The Wall Street Journal:


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Robinhood Markets is launching an index to track the favorite stocks of its millions of predominantly young, social-media-savvy customers.

The brokerage firm’s new “Robinhood Investor Index” will track the performance of the 100 investments most popular among its user base. Initially, the top five stocks in the index will be Tesla , Apple, Amazon.com, Ford Motor and meme-stock favorite AMC Entertainment Holdings. Robinhood said it would update the composition of the index monthly, offering a view into its customers’ changing tastes.

In an unusual approach to constructing an index, Robinhood said it would weight stocks in the index by the “conviction” customers have in them, defined as the percentage of assets in a customer’s portfolio devoted to a particular stock.

The new index will increase demand for meme stocks, especially those weighted heavily like AMC and Tesla.

When a stock is included in an index like the S&P 500 for the first time, the price generally jumps. This is because so many index funds track the S&P 500.

When a stock is added to it, those funds must buy the stock. Similarly, when investors buy shares of the new Robinhood index, Robinhood must buy stocks like Tesla, AMC, etc.

This increases demand for those stocks.

Indeed, a McKinsey study found that stocks added to the S&P 500 jumped a median of 5%. But the increase was short-lived, disappearing in just 20 days on average.

The effect of inclusion in the Robinhood index is likely to be more modest, given that $5.4 trillion tracks the S&P and the Robinhood index is just getting off the ground. Still, I expect a modest tailwind for meme stocks from this change.

The Robinhood index is an interesting approach. It allows investors to profit from the “wisdom of the crowd,” following investors who have strong conviction about particular stocks.

If an investor is confident enough to put their entire portfolio into a single stock, maybe they know something I don’t.

I’ll be curious to see how the Robinhood index does against other index funds. And you can bet every broker is rushing to create a meme index as we speak.

What do you think of Robinhood’s new meme stock index fund? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a great weekend everybody! 👋

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. This helps more people find the blog! 

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

Hedge fund manager Neil Phillips has been arrested in Spain this week.

He is charged with masterminding a market manipulation scheme that reached from the UK to Asia. His strategy shows how hedge funds manipulate markets from currencies to stocks.


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From a new report in Bloomberg:

Phillips was charged with conspiring to manipulate the US dollar-South African rand exchange rate in late 2017. The indictment, which was returned in March but previously sealed, describes at least two co-conspirators, raising the possibility of charges against more people.

Neil Phillips

Phillips faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His scheme involved buying an option on the dollar-rand exchange rate, then manipulating the exchange rate to make his option pay off:


With the option set to expire, Phillips began making spot trades in an effort to push the exchange rate lower late on Christmas Day, while directing a Singapore-based employee of an unidentified bank to sell $725 million in exchange for more than 9 billion rand, according to prosecutors. That pushed the exchange rate below the barrier, triggering the $20 million option. Phillips collected more than $15.6 million from the deal and also allocated $4.34 million to an unidentified client.

Phillips’ moves show us how market manipulation works.

He took advantage of thin trading late Christmas Day. Markets are easier to manipulate when trading is light.

He also used trades in an underlying asset to benefit an options position. The same approach is likely common in stocks.

Phillips even went as far as involving a co-conspirator on the other side of the world in the hopes of hiding his illegal trades. But he was foolish enough to discuss the whole thing in chat messages on his Bloomberg terminal.

Bloomberg routinely gives chat records to the government in subpoenas. Phillips might not be facing prison had he used an encrypted app like Signal.

I find the Phillips case fascinating for how it trains us to spot hedge fund manipulation of markets.

If we suspect price manipulation, we should look for big trades at odd times. Major sell order right before the close on the last trading day of the year?

It might be worth a look.

Where do you see signs of market manipulation? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

There will be no post on Monday for the holiday. Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone! 👋🥳

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Why Hedge Funds May Pile into APE Shares

Is Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Headed to Prison?

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

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Photo: “prison fence” by Brad.K is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Note: This is not financial advice.

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings hit massive levels this month.

Failed trades peaked at over 700,000 shares, according to a report out this morning from the SEC. They remained in six figure territory for all but two days in the period, which covers the first half of August.


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This many failed trades is highly unusual for most stocks. Let’s zoom in on August 8th and compare AMC with some of the largest stocks in the market:

Alphabet (Google):: 22

Amazon: 533,744

Apple: 379,843

Microsoft: 0

Tesla: 49,705

AMC: 723,636

Keep in mind, these other companies are dramatically larger. But month after month, little old AMC has far more failed trades.

Fails to deliver can happen for benign reasons, like administrative errors. But why would such errors affect this stock way more than others, time and time again?

The more likely explanation is naked short selling. This involves selling short shares you never actually borrowed.

It’s a powerful weapon to push down a stock’s price.

You don’t have to find any shares to borrow. And you don’t have to pay any interest to borrow them!

This means you can sell short an unlimited number of shares. Awesome, right?

It’s illegal for a hedge fund to do this. But that may not stop them, especially given lax enforcement.

But perhaps the most incredible thing is that 723,636 may understate the number of trades that are failing.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) puts failed trades that don’t resolve for a long period into an “obligation warehouse.” At that point, they essentially disappear.

Earlier this month, over 9 million shares worth of failed trades in AMC stock suddenly vanished.

Maybe the DTCC were busy beavers cleaning it all up. Or maybe they just swept them under the rug.

We won’t know until the DTCC and SEC offer transparency on what happens to failed trades.

Something tells me we’ll be waiting a while.

What do you think of the new SEC report? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

AMC’s 9 Million Missing Shares

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

Is Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Headed to Prison?

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: Melvin Capital founder Gabriel Plotkin

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

Morgan Stanley, already under federal investigation in the US, is now facing another probe. This time, it’s in Korea.

From a report that broke last night on Bloomberg:

Morgan Stanley’s stock short selling practices are being inspected by South Korea as part of a broader effort by the nation’s financial watchdog to clamp down on bets against equities, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Goldman was fined in 2018 for naked short selling in the Korean market. Regulators may be looking for similar infractions by Morgan.

This comes as Morgan forces another executive out under mysterious circumstances. Executive Director Charles Leisure was placed on leave last week.

From a report out over the weekend, also on Bloomberg:

Charles Leisure, an executive director who worked on the New York-based bank’s equity syndicate desk, was put on leave this week, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public. He was part of a team that handled block trades — deals that have been facing scrutiny from federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 


Leisure worked for Pawan Passi. Both handled block trades, or buying and selling of large amounts of stock.

Big investors rely on banks like Morgan to quietly offload huge chunks of stock. Morgan may have tipped hedge funds to the sales beforehand, giving them a chance to front-run the trades.

Banks have an incentive to play footsie with hedge funds because of what’s called prime brokerage. A hedge fund’s prime broker handles the fund’s trades, a very lucrative relationship.

If a bank gives them information about market-moving trades, the bank could be more likely to win that business.

So far, nothing has been proven against Leisure, Passi or Morgan itself. Perhaps all its trades were aboveboard.

But consider the overall picture.

Multiple executives in the same area placed on leave. Investigations spreading from one country to the next.

Even other Wall Street banks are raising concerns about Morgan’s activity, a rare move.

Something tells me that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

What do you think is going on at Morgan Stanley? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Wall Street Banks Turn on Each Other as Federal Probe Looms

Is Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Headed to Prison?

Hedge Fund Giant Tiger Loses Over $18 Billion — Long Fund Down 64%

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

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Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: “Morgan Stanley Headquarters” by Alex E. Proimos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Why Hedge Funds May Pile into APE Shares

Note: This is not financial advice

This morning, new preferred shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.


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Interestingly, the new shares (ticker symbol APE) have the same ownership interest and rights as normal AMC shares. But as I write this, they trade for $5.80, versus $10.52 for AMC shares.

The shares appear ripe for one of Wall Street’s favorite strategies: arbitrage.

If the two share types have the same economic value, they should trade at the same price. Hedge funds often buy an underpriced security while selling short an equivalent higher priced one.

The bet: the two prices will converge.

I expect hedge funds to buy APE shares while shorting AMC common stock. On paper the strategy makes sense, but there’s a little problem…

AMC shares are heavily shorted. 20% of the float has already been sold short.

If hedge funds continue shorting the stock, they become vulnerable to a short squeeze. Huge run-ups in shares of AMC, GameStop Corp. and others have bankrupted hedge funds before, such as Melvin Capital Management.

What’s more, both AMC and APE shares have passionate fanbases that can cause massive volatility. The human factor could cause a seemingly straightforward pairs trade to go very, very wrong.

Hedge funds should heed the lesson of Melvin Capital and avoid shorting volatile meme stocks. But as Benjamin Franklin said:

“Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.”

How do you think hedge funds will react to the debut of APE shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

AMC’s 9 Million Missing Shares

Is Melvin’s Gabe Plotkin Headed to Prison?

Wall Street Banks Turn on Each Other as Federal Probe Looms

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order.