Echoing GameStop saga, retail traders fuel Robinhood stock price hike

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After making unwanted headlines with its disappointing initial public offering (IPO) debut on Nasdaq last week, shares in stock and cryptocurrency trading app Robinhood have seen wild volatility in recent days. In an ironic twist that saw the price of HOOD stocks soar by as much as 82% in one day, the app that has so often been the beneficiary of frenzied meme stock trading itself began to resemble the latest online craze.

Since its debut on Nasdaq on July 29, HOOD is up 102% and is trading at $70.39 at the time of writing, down just slightly from its peak on Wednesday at $85. In response to such wild volatility and an exponential surge in retail trading volume, Nasdaq dealt the company a dose of its own medicine by halting trading multiple times.

Antony Pompliano’s quip refers to Robinhood’s notoriety among retail and crypto investors for its decision to suspend trading in GameStop (GME) and other stocks amid unprecedented retail-driven price volatility earlier this year. It drew further ire for temporarily disabling instant deposits for crypto purchases as Dogecoin (DOGE) surged by 900%. This unpopularity elicited a degree of relish from online traders at the app’s first floundering debut for its public offering. 

Analysts have proposed that a midweek decision by Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood to increase her position in Robinhood — adding 89,622 shares of HOOD in Ark Fintech Innovation exchange-traded fund to the 3.15 million Wood had already bought up — may have been the spark for the subsequent price turnaround. HOOD’s rapid, meme stock-like price surges have since largely been fueled by the buzz among retail traders online.

According to Swaggy Stocks, which tracks the top trending stocks mentioned on the popular subreddit r/Wallstreetbets, HOOD was by far the most mentioned stock on the forum over the past 24 hours, with 2,770 mentions against 265 for Tesla (TSLA), 1,960 for the SPDR S&P 500 trust (SPY) and 488 for Moderna (MRNA). 

Related: Robinhood introduces a feature aimed at protecting investors from crypto volatility

Retail investor sentiment tracker Breakout Point has also confirmed that its aggregate retail popularity framework, which “aggregates across dozens of retail chatter/sentiment sources,” has HOOD as the most popular ticker of recent days. Breakout Point founder Ivan Ćosović has attributed HOOD’s metamorphosis from “a very hated IPO in the retail world” to meme-like stock to three factors: the influence of Wood’s bullish position, some retail “investors on the sidelines [who] decided to give it a try,” and the subsequent, familiar online FOMO.

As previously reported, a series of major system outages on Robinhood this spring preventing users from accessing their accounts have also galvanized traders to rally behind multiple class-action lawsuits against the company in the United States.

The company has paid $57 million in fines to the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as well as providing roughly $12.6 million in restitution to certain customers, after the regulator alleged that the trading platform caused “widespread and significant harm” to thousands of users and had “systemic supervisory failures” since as early as September 2016. The platform has also been under scrutiny from federal and state-level U.S. securities regulators and congress members over its handling of the Gametop affair.

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Julio Medina

Just some guy on the interwebs. I'm interested in all facets of internet marketing and technology.

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