Jan 11 (Reuters) – Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY.O) jumped on Wednesday as individual investors piled in, extending the stock’s rebound from multi-decade lows hit last week and reviving a rally in other meme stocks.
The stock, the third most actively traded across US exchanges and second on Fidelity’s retail platform after Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), was up nearly 50% at $3.13. It has risen about 140% so far this week.
Other popular stocks among retail traders also rose, with GameStop (GME.N) and AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) up 5% and 15%, respectively.
Bed Bath & Beyond said on Tuesday it would lay off more employees to cut costs after reporting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.
The struggling US home goods retailer’s shares last week hit their lowest since the early 1990s after the company announced its intention to explore options including bankruptcy.
Short interest in Bed Bath & Beyond is $82.7 million, or 52.07% of its free float, analytics firm S3 Partners said.
S3 Partners noted that there are more retail investors on the long side and large institutional activity on the short side that sets up the stock for volatile trading based on momentum and not fundamentals.
“If bankruptcy is not in BBBY’s future, its rallying stock price will force short sellers to rush to the doors to retain some of the mark-to-market profits they earned in 2022,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s options volume was running nine times what is typical, based on recent trading, according to Trade Alert data.
Much of the trading interest was concentrated in near-dated options, with contracts expiring on or before Jan. 20 making up about 70% of the volume. In a sign that traders expect the shares to remain highly volatile in coming days, the stock’s 30-day implied volatility, a gauge of how much traders expect the stock to swing in the near term, was at 330%, about the highest in at at least four years, Trade Alert’s data showed.
In a meme stocks frenzy nearly two years ago, retail punters bid up Bed Bath & Beyond’s shares by banding together on online forums, costing bearish hedge funds trillions of dollars.
Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York; additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Maju Samuel
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