AMC, GameStop shares fall to half of their June peaks

(Reuters) – Shares of cinema operator AMC Entertainment and video game retailer GameStop Corp fell on Wednesday and were both trading at half their recent peak prices, testing the fortitude of the stocks’ retail shareholders.

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AMC, on track for its fourth straight day of declines, was last down % at $34.93, more than 50% below its all-time record high of $72.62 reached in early June. The stock earlier fell as low as $33.66 to its lowest point since May 28.

GameStop was down 5.2% at $170.66 after hitting a session low of $170.29, compared with its June 8 high of $344.66. GameStop, which hit an all-time record high of $483 in late January, was also on track for its fourth straight day of declines.

Both stocks – which have been at the center of epic rallies in so-called meme stocks that have captivated Wall Street, hurt bearish hedge funds and raised the profile of retail investors -are still sitting on big year-to-date gains. AMC was still up roughly 1,500% so-far in 2021 while GamesStop was up about 800%.

Their recent declines, however, likely present a test to the individual investors that have purchased their shares in recent months, often touting their buys on sites such as Reddit’s popular WallStreetBets.

“When things are going up it’s easy to get on board,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa. “It could go significantly lower because there’s less interest in the trade. People hate to lose money much more than they love to make money.”

The decline in AMC shares came even after a strong weekend at the box office, where Walt Disney Co and Marvel’s superhero adventure movie “Black Widow” captured $80 million in the biggest opening weekend for a movie since the pandemic.

Dollarhide noted, however, that Disney also generated $60 million globally from selling the movie on its direct-to-consumer streaming service, which competes with movie theaters.

Concerns about the surge in cases of the latest variant of COVID-19, which kept theaters and other businesses shuttered for months, may be exacerbating declines in so-called reopening stocks such as AMC, according to MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler.

“It’s a stock that was trading up very high because it was a momentum trade and when the momentum dries up a little bit it comes down,” said Handler.

For the full-year 2021, AMC is expected to report an adjusted loss per share of $3.16 on revenue of $2.41 billion. As of Tuesday’s close, about 78 million shares of AMC, or almost 16% of its float, were sold short, according to the latest estimate from S3 Partners. That compares with 75 million shares sold short as of June 30.

About 8.68 million shares in GameStop or 14.9% of its float was sold short as of Tuesday’s close, compared with 8.22 million on June 30, according to S3.

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