May 13, 2024 - Economy

Meme stocks soar on Roaring Kitty's rumored return

A phone with the meme-stock influencer Roaring Kitty overlaid a GameStop background.

Keith Gill, known as Roaring Kitty. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Meme stocks roared on Monday, as speculation grew that Keith Gill, aka "Roaring Kitty" and "DeepF---kingValue" of WallStreetBets fame, was getting back in the game.

Why it matters: Gill helped fuel the meme-stock craze of 2021 by rallying an army of retail traders, who sent shares of battered companies soaring.

Between the lines: Gill mostly went silent starting in the summer of 2021.

  • Then, on Monday, speculation of his return hit the market, and GameStop, the name most closely associated with the trader, jumped more than 70%.
  • AMC Entertainment rose 40%, while Beyond — the new name for Overstock that acquired meme darling Bed Bath & Beyond last year — jumped more than 18%.
  • Reddit, the host of WallStreetBets, rose by nearly 10%.

Zoom in: The rumors of Gill's return was sparked by a post on X Sunday night that showed a sketch of a man leaning forward in a chair while holding a videogame controller, as if he were re-engaging.

  • Since then, he's posted edited movie clips all centered around characters returning to action.
  • Before that, his last social media post was June 2021, which consisted of video clips of cats going to sleep.

Reality check: It's been a difficult run for many of the 2021-vintage meme stocks over the past couple of years. Even with today's rally, GameStop shares are down over 50% since June of 2021.

  • AMC is down over 90%. And Beyond has lost over 75%.

What they're saying: Not everyone believes that the meme stock frenzy of 2021 can be duplicated.

  • "The conditions are different," Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital, told Yahoo! Finance. "It was a point in time when you had a bunch of people stuck at home with free money and nothing to do and that's no longer the case."
  • Gill's actual return to trading stocks has yet to be confirmed.

Flashback: The Roaring Kitty character returned to the public in 2023, when the movie "Dumb Money" debuted.

  • The film portrayed the meme stock craze and featured the actor Paul Dano, who played Gill onscreen.
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