Keith Gill Resurfaces, Kicks Off Another Meme-Stock Frenzy

A rare social media appearance by a well-known daytrader boosted GameStop and other stocks that gained popularity during the 2021 craze.

Photo of a GameStop storefront
Photo by Will Buckner via CC BY 2.0

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Kitty has gone from snoring back to roaring. 

After a three-year hiatus, day-trader Keith Gill — a.k.a. “Roaring Kitty” — returned to social media on Sunday, sparking surges in shares of GameStop and other companies that gained popularity during the 2021 meme-stock craze. And while that fervor was short-lived, this one might be even shorter.

A True Underdog Story

Meme stocks are popular because they’re popular, and their share prices tend to vault to extraordinary levels in a matter of days, driven by social media chatter among traders often looking to disrupt establishment short-sellers.

Around the start of 2021, participants in the Wallstreetbets community on Reddit hatched a “short-squeeze,” with waves of amateur traders using platforms like Robinhood to buy shares in given-up-for-dead stocks like GameStop, AMC, and Blackberry. In a matter of weeks, the video game retailer — whose business had not fundamentally changed in any major way — saw its stock rise by more than 2,000% to nearly $87. 

Gill, the driving figure behind the craze, saw his Gamestop stake gain tens of millions of dollars in value, while hedge funds like Citron Research and Melvin Capital lost billions. Shortly after the craze, Gill — whose story was adapted for the film “Dumb Money” — retreated from the social media limelight. Until this past Sunday:

  • Gill took to X to post a cartoon of a man playing a video game, sitting up in his chair. For those who don’t speak meme or gamer, it essentially means “this just got serious,” like Link versus Ganondorf for the Triforce levels of serious.
  • As a result, GameStop shares climbed 110% just an hour after the opening bell Monday, and the stock was halted multiple times due to volatility. At the same time, short sellers had suffered a mark-to-market loss of more than $1 billion, according to S3 Partners data

Gamestop closed up 74.4% on Monday, while other meme stocks like AMC and Reddit rose 78.4% and 8.7%, respectively.

Nostalgia Bait: Financial experts hardly expect a repeat of 2021. Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital, told Reuters, “It was a point in time when you had a bunch of people stuck at home with free money and nothing to do and that’s no longer the case.” But if the ride does go on for a few more weeks, it could be good fodder for a sequel.