A second wave of the GameStop (GME) rally has struck the stock market in recent days, sending the price up 172% since late last month. While still well below its January high, GameStop stands more than 1,500% above where it did six months ago.
Amid the rally, the stock’s traders and their online movement came under fire from personal finance guru Suze Orman in a new interview with Yahoo Finance. That interview came before shares of another heavily shorted stock, Tanger Factory Outlet Center (SKT), shot up amid a similar frenzy, going as high as 16% in early trading Thursday.
Speaking to Yahoo Finance this week, Orman derided the GameStop trading spree as “stupid” and “crazy,” saying the effort to short squeeze the company turned investing into a game that needs to end. But she rebutted critics who’ve blamed stimulus checks for fueling the influx of investment, instead faulting low interest rates and trading apps like Robinhood.
“The GameStop frenzy was just crazy,” she says. “That wasn’t an investment. That was a game. And that game needs to stop.”
“You don’t invest in somebody or in something because you figured out a way to squeeze them,” she adds. “You invest in a company because you like the company, you like their management, you like their potential, they’re ethical, they’re honest, they have growth, they can help this world.”
‘Fear of missing out’
Shares in GameStop rose dramatically over the course of a few days in late January, driven in part by discussion on a now-famous Reddit thread called r/WallStreetBets. In response, Robinhood suspended buying of GameStop and other hot stocks, eliciting anger from traders and members of Congress.
Last month, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing about the trading spree and the halt placed on buyers of the stock by Robinhood. During that hearing, retail investor Keith Gill, known as “Roaring Kitty” online, said that he believed GameStop was undervalued and could transform into a digital business.
However, billionaire “Bond King”Jeffrey Gundlach and others blamed the trading on an influx of cash from COVID-19 stimulus checks. Orman rebutted such claims.
“I don’t think, however, that the stimulus checks really are what fuel this stock market,” she says.
“I think being able to buy slices of stock at no commission fueled the stock market,” she adds. “You have millennials out there that were like, ‘Oh, my God, look what I can do.'”
“I think people not knowing what to do with money fueled it,” she says. “And I think it was the fear of missing out.”
Orman spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
She started her career at Merrill Lynch in the 1980s and before long, she formed her own consulting firm. Then, in 2002, she launched “The Suze Orman Show” on CNBC, which made her the go-to financial guide for millions. She has written dozens of books, and now hosts “Suze Orman’s Women & Money Podcast.”
Even though she took issue with the investing spree, Orman said GameStop may turn the capital into long-term growth that could resuscitate the beleaguered brick-and-mortar video game retailer. As Yahoo Finance’s Daniel Howley has noted, GameStop has a turn-around plan focusing on e-commerce.
Indeed, Chewy founder Ryan Cohen has a major stake in GameStop and, as an activist investor, has pushed for the game retailer to embrace online sales of video games. As Bloomberg’s Tae Kim noted last month, Cohen has a proven track record, having successfully competed against Amazon (AMZN) before selling his company to PetSmart for $3.35 billion.
“Maybe GameStop will turn into a company that’s fabulous in the long run,” Orman says. “They have a lot of things that they’re working on now.”