In a year full of "you've got to be fucking kidding me" moments, today ranks pretty high on the list. In a move that is sending shockwaves through the internet and around the country, Robinhood, a very popular stock trading app for retail investors, announced that they had restricted trading for several of the "meme stocks" that were disrupting the market - and causing hedge funds to allegedly lose billions of dollars - all week long.
The announcement came just after the stock market opened via a tweet to a press release that explained Robinhood's decision. It read in part:
We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AAL, $AMC, $BB, $BBY, $CTRM, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD, $NOK, $SNDL, $TR, and $TRVG. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities.
This explanation does not appear to have satisfied many of the people who rely on Robinhood to make their stock purchases and have used Robinhood to purchase the very stocks that Robinhood decided to restrict for purchase today:
Predictably, with scores of retail traders locked out of the action, GameStop, AMC and Nokia, three popular stocks among the WallStreetBets crowd, have tanked this morning with GameStop down 55%, AMC down 58% and Nokia down 27%, respectively.
Let's be honest though, this whole thing stinks to HIGH HEAVEN! You have several stock brokerage firms/apps/whatever, coordinating to prevent people from buying stocks (BUT YOU CAN SELL!). Why are they doing this? Because they want to. . . protect people?
I do not know what happened over the course of the last 24 hours that led to Robinhood's decision today, it could've been a totally innocent decision geared toward stabilizing a "volatile market". Maybe, but I think we all know that we'd never see the rules changed in the middle of the game if hedge funds were suddenly reaping windfall profits off of the backs of regular folk (they did, they do and will continue to do so). This feels like that time you were beating your brother in Madden and he decided to just walk over and turn off the Xbox in the middle of the 4th quarter. This feels like a moment where, if you're paying attention, you'll learn how that no matter how clever you are (and the WallStreetBets people have been very clever) they'll still find a way to win, they'll still find a way to fuck you.
So yeah, the 'free market' doesn't feel so free right now and people are noticing:
Portnoy is the king.
Based Charles Payne.
Seriously, why am I agreeing with AOC?
Seriously, why am I AND TED CRUZ agreeing with AOC?
Seriously, why am I agreeing with Ted Lieu?
Seriously, why am I agreeing with Rashida Tlaib?
Will people be able to hold out?
Sure feels that way, doesn't it?
Now, I don't profess to be an expert in securities - and I don't think the movement we've seen on all the "meme stocks" is exclusively the result of Robinhood traders pumping up the value of the stock (it appears many wall street whales have been doing this as well) but it sure does feel very shady. It feels like they're trying to scare people into flooding the market with sell orders to drive the stock price down. It seems like they're applying pressure and seeing if they can get retail investors to blink first and sell. It appears, thus far, to be working.
That has not stopped some from trumpeting a rallying cry for retail investors to HOLD their position, weather the storm and call Wall Street's bluff:
It will be remarkable to see how the Democrats now become the patron saints of hedge funds (Wall Street 2020 political donations went over 75% to Democrats) after years of Bernie and Liz Warren trumpeting the war charge to end Wall Street corruption. They are the party of Wall Street now and they will have to do what's necessary to protect their big dollar donors.
This definitely one to watch. Feels like we're witnessing something unique here - a moment where people from all backgrounds are getting a chance to see how the system is rigged against them.
Will it materialize into anything? We shall see.
Hold the line. Happy Thursday and God Bless America.
Disclosure: I bought some AMC and some NOK - so there, you know where I stand in all of this.