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Reddit’s AMC, GameStop surge happened because of anger over Wall Street

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There’s more to this GameStop run than money. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Redditors, individual investors and have a lot to cheer about. Shares, after all, have catapulted to more than $320 from $17.25 at the beginning of the year, a surge that’s creating a lot of paper millionaires. But make no mistake, the movement driving this rally isn’t about savvy financial tactics or good will for a once-beloved retailer and strip mall fixture. It’s about righteous anger. 

When the Reddit stock trading community WallStreetBets kicked off a coordinated effort to drive up GameStop’s stock, part of the appeal was the idea of devastating short sellers — investors who place bets on a stock’s price going down — and by extension the broader financial institution. GameStop was a particularly attractive target because it was the most heavily shorted stock. But this is as much about making money as it is, as one Redditor put it, making it so „the old guys drown in their tears.“

The collective effort has proven successful partly because it taps into the same kind of frustration and stick-it-to-the-man sentiment that drove the Occupy Wall Street movement, which kicked off nearly a decade ago as a reaction to the extreme wealth of the „1-percenters“ versus everyone else. That sentiment holds the same power 10 years later.

„In one sense, this is ‚Occupy Wall Street‘ via the trading desk rather than from Zuccotti Park,“ said David Kirsch, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School for Business.