There’s blood on the floor for holders of popular meme stocks, but some bleeding retail traders only see a dip to buy.

Things looked bleak Thursday morning as shares of GameStop
AMC Entertainment

and other social media-fueled stocks continued to get pummeled, as they had over the past month, thanks to an abating of a froth around retail traders piling into cheap and heavily-shorted stocks and a spate of bad news pushing down on the biggest meme names.

By Thursday afternoon, AMC was back adding to its roughly 1,500% gain so far in 2021, while GME shares were up about 760% for the same stretch.

The outsized gains come as Google searches of key investing terms have dropped to pre-pandemic levels, signaling an potential end to the unprecedented surge in market interest from new retail investors, according to research by Nicholas Colas, Co-founder of DataTrek Research.

A Thursday note from HFM also showed that hedge funds, the archenemy of retail investors, had a big start to 2021, returning 8.8% in the first half of the year, thanks in large part to funds specializing in long/short equity strategies.

But as hedge funds regain a footing from a series of shocking losses in January tied to short squeezes, and as interest from individual traders in the daily scuffle wanes, the combustion could create another outcome: a smaller, but more militant group of investors committed to squeezing back on hedge funds shorting their favorite tickers.

And Thursday’s action provided a window into how that might look. 

AMC stock had taken it particularly hard, falling more than 30% in the last five trading days going into Thursday. But shares of the struggling movie chain on Thursday rose almost 11% from the Wednesday’s close, as the Twitter hashtag #AMCNOTLEAVING gained traction on social media, signifying a coordinated effort by the retail crowd to fight back against shorts that, so far this summer, helped cut the stock price in half from its high.

Social media also was rife with investors spreading the word to fight the powers that be, and to buy into the carnage.

“We apes love the stock,” posted Gold_Building_378 on popular AMC subreddit AMCStock early Thursday morning, using the common parlance for retail traders. “We own THE FLOAT!!!! These dips are psychological and just a temporary illusion.”

“We are easy to predict actually, “responded user MassiveRepeat6. “As soon as the hedgies stop f***king around and start bidding at our price targets, then we sell. Until then we HODL.”

AMC stock responded early, advancing almost 14% in the first 45 minutes of the trading day, before falling back again as the day wore on.

Things were a little less sanguine for GameStop, as the videogame retailer took a big hit in pre-market trading, dropping more than 6% on the news that Netflix Inc.

could emerge as the embattled company’s newest existential threat, after it disclosed that it has hired a videogame executive, cementing its long-rumored move into GameStop’s backyard.

That news came just days after GameStop received a big upgrade from analyst Edward Woo of Ascendiant Capital Markets on Monday, who lifted his price target to $25 from $10. Shares of GameStop were traded off 1.9% Thursday afternoon, near $164.

Other stocks, perceived as massive overvalued, include BlackBerry

and Clover Health
although as the list constantly changes.

GameStop did not have a trending hashtag Thursday, but it did pop briefly to a gain for roughly 15 minutes in early morning trade, before also pulling back.

Social media support for GameStop may be the clearest, least subtle signal that retail investors don’t plan to be going down so easily, even after the latest drop.

One Reddit user encapsulated the vibe around the stock with clarity and brevity on Thursday as the price fell yet again.

“There is no stop loss, there is only HODL,” posted The-Weapon-X.

As Wall Street cheers the two standard bearers of the “meme stock movement,” GameStop and AMC, coming back to slightly more modest valuation levels, insiders in the retail trading game are preparing for yet another bounce, particularly as shares become cheaper, providing the potential for another chance to catch short sellers napping, or to pull off what insiders call “MOASS”: the Mother of All Short Squeezes.

That crusade might have gotten a small lift from an odd source on Thursday: Qraft AI-Enhanced U.S. Large Cap Momentum ETF
an exchange-traded fund run by artificial intelligence that picked one stock over Facebook, Walmart and Home Depot.

The stock was AMC.

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