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Feb 18, 2021

GameStop falls as House hearing on retail trading begins

McCreath: Identifying signs of market froth

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GameStop Corp. was trading lower as the House Financial Services Committee hearing on retail trading and the video-game distributor kicked off.

The shares were down 5.2 per cent to US$43.57 as of 12:06 p.m. in New York. The Grapevine, Texas-based company has been a focus of the retail craze that has drawn ire from Washington and gripped Wall Street.

READ MORE: GameStop spotlights 'predatory ways' of Wall Street: Waters

Trading frenzy in GameStop’s stock led to a nearly US$31 billion wipeout in its market value. At one point, individual investors were unable to trade shares of the retailer and other stocks as brokers including Robinhood Markets set trading limits, drawing outrage from account holders.

The surge for heavily shorted stocks from GameStop to AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. was triggered by individual investors who flooded social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter. While backlash against short sellers like Citron Capital’s Andrew Left sparked the initial rally, the euphoria reached its peak late last month when the stock capped off a 2,728 per cent rally and dealt massive losses to prominent hedge funds including Gabriel Plotkin’s Melvin Capital.

Thursday’s virtual hearing -- titled “Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide” -- will feature testimony from Wall Street bigwigs including Citadel Securities founder Ken Griffin and Melvin Capital Management Chief Executive Officer Plotkin.