UPDATED with broader market movement and closing prices. AMC Entertainment’s stocks are up 301% on a wild day of trading, recovering to levels not seen long before the coronavirus pandemic.
Broader stocks fell in one of the market’s worst sessions in months as mixed profits and frantic trading sparked concerns about a possible new bubble and ongoing concern over the pace of vaccine launch. Another problem was the news from the Federal Reserve that it was taking a wait and see approach to the economy despite admitting that it was weakening. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2% to 30,303.17, within sight of the vaunted 30,000-point barrier. The damage was worse on tech-heavy Nasdaq, which pulled back 2.6%.
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AMC closed at $ 19.90, the highest point since the exciting days of 2018 when the domestic box office hit a record.
Reddit and a huge number of new day traders and small investors encouraged during the pandemic catapulted sharply shortened stocks like GameStop, AMC, and a few others by multiples of hundreds. Wall Street pundits fear stocks will skyrocket from inexperienced retail investors who stimulate one another through social media.
The hashtag #SaveAMC has been used on several online platforms. Apps like Robinhood reported outages as user activity increased and other trading platforms stopped action on AMC. GameStop, the figurehead of the phenomenon, has jumped from just $ 17.69 in early January to $ 347.51, sparking the recent frenzy sparked by day traders exchanging tips online.
Short positions are also a consideration and often lead to volatility in certain stocks. Individual investors using Reddit and other online platforms have piled into sharply shortened stocks like AMC, creating “short squeezes” for hedge funds and other bets in the other direction.
Other exhibition stocks like Cinemark, National CineMedia, Marcus Corp. and Imax also grew, and there has been some legitimately positive news for the theater business recently that cannot be fully discounted. While vaccine delays resulted in longer hibernation for theaters and another wave of release date changes, President Biden has promised an inflow of 200 million doses of vaccine by the summer. Theaters recently reopened in some regions of the country, including key markets like Chicago.
If AMC’s profits can be sustained, the world’s largest cinema chain will have a head start on a notable comeback. Overall, box office revenue in the US fell more than 80% in 2020 as the pandemic and key markets like LA and New York closed since last March.
Backed by China’s Wanda Group and US private equity firm Silver Lake, the company has long had a significant debt load. The debt problems were exacerbated by the complete disappearance of revenues in 2020. Liquidity issues remained a serious concern as bankruptcy was an impending scenario despite the company topping up more than $ 900 million in fresh cash and CEO Adam Aron says it will have ample liquidity by the end of 2021 .