As GameStop stock crumbles, newbie traders reckon with heavy losses

02 February 2021
As GameStop Stock Crumbles, Newbie Traders Reckon With Heavy Losses 1/1


As GameStop’s stock plunged nearly 60% Tuesday, the online horde that had raced to invest in the “meme stock” scrambled to reckon with the financial bloodshed, wavering between a desire to sell and settle for heavy losses or stick with their online peers who had admonished them to “hold the line.”



In interviews Tuesday with novice traders on r/wallstreetbets, the gleefully reckless Reddit forum that helped fuel the onslaught, several said they were holding out hope that the hyperinflated stock would turn around.

But others expressed deep turmoil, posting screenshots from their online banks and brokerages to the forum that showed hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases, vanishing in a matter of hours.

GameStop’s stock climb in recent days captured the international spotlight as a “David vs. Goliath” tale for the digital age: A madcap web of everyday joes winning billions of dollars from short-selling hedge funds who had bet on the stock’s collapse.


But with the stock having plunged 80 percent since last week’s peak, the whiplash also highlights how so many investors lured by the promise of a gold rush have been quickly dismantled, with help from stock-trading discussion boards and apps that make it easier than ever to invest — and lose — a fortune.

Opinion: GameStop is not a morality tale. People’s life savings are at stake.

Evan Oosterink, a 19-year-old college student in the Netherlands, knew almost nothing about GameStop when in December he chose the company for one of his first big stock-market bets, calling it some kind of “American games shop where you can get all your games,” he said.

But his favorite Reddit forum, Wallstreetbets, was increasingly obsessed with it, casting it as a way to crush billionaires, move the market and profit heavily in the process. Energized by its rising price, Oosterink said he invested another 8,000 euros last month — nearly $10,000, mostly from years of savings from his parents and some government college loans — leaving only about 30 euros in his personal account.

Evan Oosterink, a 19-year-old college student in the Netherlands, has invested roughly $10,000 into GameStop stock — mostly savings from his parents and a government student loan — following energetic posts on Reddit's WallStreetBets forum. He said he has about $36 left in savings and is counting on the bet to pay off. (Photo by Evan Oosterink)

Had he sold last week, he could have pocketed a typical American’s full year’s salary. But as the stock has crumbled, he has turned to the forum for reassurance, posting a screenshot from his online-banking app showing the day’s losses, totaling about $9,000. He said he was “deep in losses but holding will prevail,” and included the emoji for a rocket and “diamond hands,” the forum’s lingo for not selling when a stock nose-dives.



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