These stocks are primed for a short squeeze.
In recent months, groups of social media stock traders have orchestrated targeted buying campaigns in some of the market's most heavily shorted stocks in an attempt to trigger short squeezes. A short squeeze is a large, short-term spike in a stock's share price that occurs when a sizable group of short sellers is forced to close out its positions all at once by buying shares of stock. S3 Partners just launched a metric that scores stocks by their short squeeze potential. These eight stocks received scores of 10 out of 10, according to S3 Partners analyst Ihor Dusaniwsky.
AMC Entertainment Holdings (ticker: AMC)
The global health crisis completely shut down the movie theater business in 2020. AMC reported a net loss of $4.59 billion last year and entered 2020 with $5.4 billion in debt. However, social media traders got the hashtag #saveAMC trending, and the stock price soared. In response, AMC raised billions of dollars in capital by selling new shares of stock. AMC's share count has skyrocketed by more than 380% since the beginning of 2020, yet its stock recently hit a new all-time high. The AMC short squeeze fireworks may just be getting started as "short sellers have covered -24.6 million shares, worth $1.35 billion, over the last 30 days," according to Dusaniwsky.
GameStop Corp. (GME)
GameStop was the first so-called "meme" stock of 2021 to capture the attention of hedge funds, the media and even Congress. A massive short squeeze back in January sent the stock soaring from less than $18 to $483 in a matter of weeks. GameStop's short interest has dropped significantly since it peaked at more than 130% of its float earlier this year. However, S3 recently reported that 19.1% of GameStop's float is still held short, which is still plenty of fuel to ignite another major short squeeze for GameStop in the weeks ahead.
Beyond Meat (BYND)
Plant-based meat alternative producer Beyond Meat jumped to a multiyear high of $221 during a short squeeze back in January, but it has yet to generate the type of explosive upside seen with AMC and GameStop in 2021. As of the end of May, S3 reported that short positions represented 27.5% of Beyond Meat's float. In addition to its high short interest, Beyond Meat has the lowest float — or free-trading shares not held by institutions or company insiders — of any of the eight stocks mentioned. That low float could contribute to the volatility of any potential short squeeze.
Short interest in mobile gaming platform developer Skillz stands at 69.5% of its float, according to Bloomberg and ZeroHedge. Not only does that number make Skillz the most-shorted stock on this list, but it makes it the third most-shorted mid- and large-cap stock in the entire market relative to its float. A new partnership with the National Football League sent Skillz shares soaring as high as $46.30 in February, but the stock has since come back down to earth. However, its short interest suggests another surge could be imminent.
Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)
Virgin Galactic is a commercial space tourism company led by influential entrepreneur and founder Richard Branson. Virgin Galactic traded as high as $62.80 earlier this year before test flight delays sent the stock crashing back down to less than $15. In late May, Virgin successfully completed a test flight of its VSS Unity spaceplane, sending shares higher once again. Virgin's momentum continued this week when Amazon.com (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos said he would be aboard Virgin competitor Blue Origin's first crewed space flight in July, which seemingly reassured Virgin investors about the safety of commercial space flight.
Upstart Holdings (UPST)
Upstart is an online lending marketplace that specializes in personal loans. Upstart went public at an initial public offering price of $20 per share in December 2020, and the stock is already up more than 230% in less than seven months. Unlike many of the other popular meme stocks, Upstart's underlying business is performing well. The company recently reported a net profit and 81.9% revenue growth in the first quarter. Upstart short sellers have endured heavy losses during the stock's meteoric rise, and pressure is mounting for them to exit their positions.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)
Home furnishings retailer Bed Bath & Beyond is in the same boat as GameStop, but its short position is much larger than GameStop's these days. Data from Bloomberg and ZeroHedge suggests Bed Bath & Beyond is one of the most-shorted stocks in the entire market, with short positions representing 33% of the stock's float. Bed Bath & Beyond's underlying business is still struggling to recover from 2020 shutdowns, but short sellers may already be feeling the heat of a potential booming summer shopping season. The stock's short interest percentage suggests it has all the hallmarks of a short squeeze.
Nikola Corp. (NKLA)
The short thesis for electric vehicle maker Nikola is understandable. Nikola took a major hit in 2020 when founder and chairman Trevor Milton resigned amid allegations that the company had misled investors. Nikola has spent much of the past year fighting the public perception that the company is a complete fraud. Partnerships with General Motors Co. (GM) and CNH Industrial (CNHI), as well as investments from Ark Invest's Cathie Wood, have helped Nikola regain investor confidence. Nikola shares have roared back to life in the past month, and the stock's recent rally may be just the beginning.
Eight short squeeze stocks that could take off:
— AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC)
— GameStop Corp. (GME)
— Beyond Meat (BYND)
— Skillz (SKLZ)
— Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)
— Upstart Holdings (UPST)
— Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)
— Nikola Corp. (NKLA)