Home merchandise retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) had quite a day Wednesday, despite a somewhat mixed quarterly earnings report. The company missed the earnings per share (EPS) estimate of $0.08 by three cents, while managing to beat the Wall Street revenue estimate by more than 4%. Same-store sales improved by 86% year over year, thanks mainly to an easy comparison with the pandemic-hammered quarter a year ago.
Perhaps the most important driver right now, though, is Bed, Bath & Beyond’s status as a meme stock among Reddit followers. About 20% of the company’s float of around 102 million shares is sold short. The high percentage of short sales combined with a relatively small number of shares poses a tempting bet for investors looking to generate a short squeeze.
A double-digit winner Wednesday is Vertex Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: VNTR), an oil refining and marketing company that specializes in re-refining used lubricating oils into processed oils for sale. Less than 1% of Vertex shares are sold short, however, out of more than 54 million floated shares.
On Tuesday, Vertex announced the sale of several of its properties to Clean Harbors Inc. (NYSE: CLH) for $140 million. The company will use $6.3 million of the net proceeds to retire term debt and a portion of total net proceeds of $90 million to exercise its option to reacquire the 15% interest in a Louisiana site that it had previously sold. As one Reddit commenter noted, “What a gift.”
Meta Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: MMAT), the surviving company from the reverse merger of Torchlight Energy and Metamaterials, added more than 10% in Wednesday morning trading. On Tuesday, the company published some details of how the distribution of Series A preferred stock would be completed to shareholders of the former Metamaterials. There’s not really anything other than what one might expect to hear about the transaction.
Underneath all that, however, short sellers had been mostly successful in pushing the share price down. Until this morning.
At the other end of the spectrum, MoSys Inc. (NASDAQ: MOSY) is a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor company that develops and sells high-speed chips for a variety of applications. The company’s market cap is around $55 million and its total float is just 5.4 million shares, of which less than 5% are sold short. This is not a stock that is a good candidate for a short squeeze, especially after short sellers covered more than half their positions between May 28 and June 15. There’s simply no there there.
Add to all this Intel’s announced delay in delivering its new Xeon server chip until next year. Only Micron and AMD among nearly two dozen chipmakers are trading higher Wednesday. MoSys is having the worst of it too.
Shares of Vertex traded down up more than 27% in the noon hour Wednesday, at around $13.06 in a 52-week range of $0.40 to $13.88. The high was posted earlier in the morning. The average daily trading volume on the stock is about 13.1 million shares, and 14.7 million had been traded already Wednesday.
Bed, Bath & Beyond stock traded down more than 8% in the noon hour to around $32.40, in a 52-week range of $7.39 to $53.90. More than 38 million shares have been traded so far, more than five times the daily average of 7.3 million.
Meta Materials traded up about 7.5% at $7.56 in the noon hour Wednesday. The stock’s 52-week range (mostly as Torchlight) is $0.42 to $21.76. The average daily trading volume is about 16.1 million shares, and nearly 19 million have already changed hands Wednesday.
Shares of MoSys dropped nearly 7% Wednesday to trade at $6.45, in a 52-week range of $1.32 to $10.75. The average daily volume is around 6.6 million shares, but only 722,303 had been traded so far on Wednesday.