As the unusual market surge of Gamestop shares has tumbled the Wall Street, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman sought immediate halt on trading activity for the stock that saw 1,700% surge in just two weeks. It led many fund investors to lose billions.
Referring to the abrupt surge of Gamestop shares inspired by Reddit forum "WallStreetBets", she said in her morning interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen that there should be an immediate halt on these shares to allow investors to "recalibrate".
"If we see a significant rise in the chatter on social media channels... we also match that up against unusual trading activity, potentially halt that stock to allow ourselves to investigate the situation, to be able to engage with the company, and to give investors a chance to recalibrate their positions," she said.
Since GameStop and the other stock AMC Theatres are not listed in Nasdaq but in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Friedman joined other market players who have called on the NYSE to halt trading for at least GameStop for a month.
The dramatic jump in GameStop by over 1,700% in two weeks has already stole the show leaving fund investors lose billions in the market. It was a handiwork of groups connected via online brokerage apps like Robinhood.com who discuss stocks on anonymous social media messaging boards, leaving the regulatory bodies in shock over the manipulation of the markets.
"With small investors swarming over heavily shorted stocks in what looked like a coordinated move, the frenzy raises all sorts of questions with respect to possible market manipulation," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at retail broker CMC Markets UK told Reuters.
Battle of small-time traders
The war began last week when short time seller Andrew Left of Citron Capital tried to bet against GameStop. He was met with a barrage of retail traders betting the other way, forcing him to abandon the bet, reported Reuters.
Soon the battle between small-time traders and hedge funds has spiralled into a global stock war with US, European and now Asian stock markets tumbling on Thursday, while particular tech stocks have seen sudden surge. The rival stocks such as AMC, BlackBerry and Nokia have slipped more than 14% after Gamestop surge and in Europe, the value of Finnish technology company Nokia Oyj dipped 16%.
Reddit Forum Shuts Doors
Meanwhile, the moderators of the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit said they closed its doors on Wednesday as membership has already jumped past 4 million. "We have grown to the kind of size we only dreamed of in the time it takes to get a bad night's sleep," the forum said in a message on its page. "We've got so many comments and submissions that we can't possibly even read them all, let alone act on them."
Reddit said it had not been contacted by authorities over the surges but the turmoil has already caught the attention of the White House. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had reportedly spent the entire first day of her on the job on Wednesday "monitoring the situation." Massachusetts state regulator William Galvin called for suspension of GameStop trade on NYSE for 30 days to allow a cooling-off period.
However, the surge encapsulates the way markets are manipulated, said another broker. The feeling of inequality in financial markets drive the new ways of manipulation, he said, not ruling out the prospect of intervention soon. "This will just galvanize the (WallStreetBets) community as it just brings home the feeling of inequality in financial markets," said Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne.