Closed signs are seen in an AMC theater during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York City, United States, on April 29, 2020. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

July 20 (Reuters) – AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) stocks closed 24.5% Tuesday after a surge in late-session volume spurred the cinema operator, which had a large focus on social media.

AMC stock ended the session at $ 43.09 after rising as high as $ 44.39. With a trading volume of around 166 million shares, it was the second most heavily traded share on the US stock exchanges that day.

While the volatile stock rose sharply throughout the trading day, it gained more momentum in the final hour of trading when it topped $ 40 for the first time since July 13.

Possibly, the stock helped on Tuesday from AMC’s announcement late Monday that it would open cinemas in two high-revenue locations in Los Angeles from August and be in active discussions with other property owners about the use of currently closed locations.

AMC stock was also bolstered this year by its popularity with retail investors who use social media forums like Twitter and Reddit to encourage each other to buy the stock. Along with video game retailer GameStop (GME.N), AMC was the focus of massive rallies in January as retail investors attempted to hurt bearish hedge funds that bet against the stocks.

The stock has lost ground recently after hitting a record high of $ 72.62 in early June, but it’s still up 1.933% so far for 2021.

Around 75.84 million AMC shares were sold short at close of trading on Monday, representing about 15 percent of the free float, a decrease of 4 million shares from last week, according to the latest data from S3 Partners.

According to analyst estimates from Refinitiv, AMC will report a quarterly loss per share of $ 0.93 on sales of $ 369.93 for the second quarter ended June. AMC has not announced a release date for its Q2 results.

Reporting by Sinéad Carew; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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