It is official. Gamestop (GME) is now giving a “better returns” than Tesla (TSLA). GME returns stand at 3300% vs TSLA 691% over the past one year. It is even better than bitcoin which is giving a 257% returns over the past one year. Just how did it happen? Is it too late to invest in bitcoin, Tesla or even Gamestop?
Here at Wealthdojo, we seek to understand what has happened fundamentally. For example, the impact of raising $5 billion from Tesla offering. We then see if it makes sense to invest in it or just speculate. Even in the insane movement in the stock market, we aim manage our wealth in a logical and systematic way.
Disclaimer: I do not have any position in Bitcoin, TSLA or GME. Indeed, I have “missed” out on the huge runs of those companies but time will tell.
How did this happen?
It happened for TSLA. It is happening for GME. This movement in the stock market can be summarised into 2 words.
What is a Short Squeeze?
A short squeeze happens when there is a (1) sharp rise in the price of an asset. For traders who previously short the asset, they are (2) forced to close out their positions. As they are forced to now (3) buy the asset at that current price, this tends to send the prices even higher.
In simpler words, a strong buying pressure “squeezes” the short sellers out of the market.
Example of a Short Squeeze
For example, stock ABC price has been falling over the last 2 years. Let’s assume that it is now $10. Short sellers (people who sell the stock without having them) sell the stock ABC at $10 hoping to profit from the decrease in prices. (In a hypothetical example, if price becomes $1, they just buy it back at $1 and profit the $9 difference).
However, something happened. This could be a favorable earnings or simply a tweet. The price (1) rapidly increase. Let’s assume prices is now at $20. They are now under pressure if they are on margin (2) to buy back the stock at $20 or risk having the price going up further. At this moment of time they would already be losing $10. They scramble to close/buy the stock (3) at $20 sending the price even further. This keeps escalating until all the short sellers are pretty much out.
Case Study of Short Squeeze
In July 2020, the dollar value of all shorted Tesla shares is close to hitting $20 billion. No US stock in history has ever been that shorted. On 23 Oct 2020, TSLA reported a profitable quarter. When the (1) share price increase, the short sellers were forced (2) to buy Tesla shares. This in turn send the price even further (3).
Another example is Volkswagen in 2008.
How to identify a potential Short Squeeze?
There are many indicators to identify a potential short squeeze and I will try to explain it in a quantitative and qualitative way.
Quantitative: Short Interest
Short Interest is number of shares that have been sold short but have not yet been covered or closed out. Short interest, which can be expressed as a number or percentage, is an indicator of market sentiment. The larger the percentage, the more shares that are being shorted.
Quantitative: Hated Company / Movement Driven
The 3 above are just an example of strong emotions in retail investors. The more someone “hate” the company, the more he is committed to short them. This can be seen from Tesla cult-like investors who either love them or hate them.
After that, it is just waiting for the right moment for it to pop.
Can you profit from a Short Squeeze?
You definitely can. This screenshot has been making it’s way on the internet and this isn’t the final profit that he has. The current price of GME is $209 (27 Jan 2021) and the last price in this screenshot is $65. He has amplify his returns using options so god knows his returns now.
However, I would advice otherwise from chasing this return. This is purely speculative and nothing short of a gamble.
Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo
The market is an representation of the collective human behaviour. I personally think that it is an amazing run for GME. However, I rather sit on the sidelines along with Warren Buffett to watch this play out. Congratulations for those who profited.
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.