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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The share price of AMC — currently at about $45, up from around $7 pre-pandemic — makes very little sense when viewed through a classical corporate-finance lens. But meta-game theory might help.

Why it matters: AMC CEO Adam Aron has embraced the Reddit army that has rocketed his stock to the moon — at least up to a point. But he has also tried to take advantage of them by selling as much new equity as he can.

Driving the news: That plan failed this week, when Aron announced he was no longer going to ask shareholders for permission to issue new shares.

  • Part of the problem is that AMC's retail investor base simply isn't playing the same game that public-company CEOs are playing. Retail investors rarely vote their shares in any shareholder vote. So in this case, just getting a quorum would be extremely difficult.

The big picture: Institutional investors like to work with CEOs to maximize shareholder value. In the case of meme stocks, by contrast, the game is to effectively hack the stock market and create value out of thin air.

What they're saying: Drew Austin of Kneeling Bus writes that "anything arrogant enough to pretend it’s not a game, such as the stock market, simply entices the masses to expose the fallacy all the more aggressively."

  • Like "speedrunners" who hack glitches in videogames, meme-stock traders deliberately ignore the established rules of the game, and compete according to their own rules instead.

The bottom line: It's silly for Robinhood to deny that it is gamifying stock trading. We're in a world where anything can be gamified. Aron, for one, understands that he now has to play by new rules.

Go deeper: AMC to give retail investors free popcorn, other perks

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

The problem with individual stock buying

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Buying and selling individual stocks is a hobby for rich people that, over the course of the pandemic, also became a hobby for millions of new investors using free trading apps. But given the number of conflicts involved, it's a hobby that many people should probably give up.

Why it matters: In recent days we've seen shock headlines about the stock-trading activities of judges and corporate insiders. Two Federal Reserve presidents resigned after they were revealed to be actively trading the markets they were also influencing via monetary policy.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.