Written By Elissar Zabaneh
The Reddit army of day traders has gained worth hundreds of millions of dollars to two big-name creditors of struggling cinema operator AMC Entertainment (Silver Lake Management and Mudrick Capital Management) after the investment firms swapped risky debt for equity that has skyrocketed in value.
The stock price of AMC, the world's largest cinema operator, soared 300 per cent to $19.90 on Wednesday, as individual investors drove up the stock price. That exceeded the trigger price on $600m of convertible bonds held by Silver Lake Group.
Robinhood, the online app synonymous with the retail traders' rise, doubled the amount of money that customers must stump up to extend their trades in GameStop, AMC, Bed Bath & Beyond and Koss. It also restricted investors from taking out new positions in a small group of shares. In a blog post on Thursday, the company directed customers towards its "educational materials" on investing and understanding market volatility.
Interactive Brokers, which has more than 1 million customers, restricted investors from new trades in GameStop and raised margin requirements for taking out options on several shares, including AMC, Bed Bath & Beyond, and BlackBerry.
On Thursday, Robinhood joined Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade in clamping down on GameStop and other shares due to volatility. While Robinhood users were allowed to close their positions out, they weren't allowed to buy more. Accordingly, users who tried to purchase shares were greeted with messages such as "This stock is not supported on Robinhood."
Alarmed, Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy ranted on Twitter, "I will burn @RobinhoodApp to the ground if they shut down free market trading."
In an "emergency press conference" that Portnoy posted on Twitter early Thursday afternoon, he went on to blast prominent hedge fund billionaires like Ken Griffin of Citadel Investments, whose firm processes orders for Robinhood. He also called for the founders of Robinhood to go to prison.
Additionally, a partisan Congress was unified by outrage after Robinhood and other retail stock trading companies froze some individual trading in response to the massive spike.
Texas Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, tweeted "Fully agree," in response to a tweet from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who scolded Robinhood for deciding to "block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit."
Cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which began as a 'joke' cryptocurrency based on a meme from nearly a decade ago, is riding the retail investor wave into the top 10 cryptocurrencies ranked by market value. In December, Elon Musk tweeted "One word: Doge" sending the cryptocurrency to a 20% surge.
Dogecoin's value was up about 600% over the last 24 hours, jumping to a valuation of $0.072 per coin as of Friday morning. Elon Musk has also tweeted a digital magazine cover, titled "Dogue" featuring a dog, supporting the Dogecoin digital currency.
The digital currency's rise this week has pushed its total market value to about $9 billion, making it the seventh most valuable cryptocurrency, according to CoinMarketCap data. Bitcoin leads the pack with a total market value of about $160 billion.