Investing

Midday Meme Stock Report for 12/1: Didi, Lucid, Robinhood, Vertex Energy

Looking at Wednesday’s trading as of noon, one might think that Tuesday’s big dip was somehow induced to push share prices lower so investors could buy the dip. The major indexes had mostly recovered Tuesday’s losses, and all 11 sectors were trading higher, led by utilities (up 2.5% and energy (up 2.4%). Traders had pared the early morning gain in crude oil from more than 4.0% to 2.3%. Bitcoin added a bit to its gains, and yields on 10-year Treasury notes dipped from around 1.48% to around 1.46%. Advancers outnumbered decliners by more than 2 to 1, but more stocks were posting new lows than are posting new highs.

Among meme stocks, decliners outnumber advancers but not by so large a margin. There was, however, just one double-digit gainer on our watch list as of noon Wednesday. Vertex Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) stock traded up by as much as 26% earlier in the morning, but that gain had been halved in the noon hour. The company had no specific news.

Last week, Vertex filed its preliminary proxy statement announcing a special shareholders’ meeting for an unspecified date this month to vote on an increase of 20% in issued shares due to the conversion of $155 million in convertible senior notes issued in late October. The stock dropped 20% on the day of the announcement and still traded down about 8% as of Tuesday’s close.

According to Fintel data, short interest in Vertex is around 21.24% and the borrow fee on the stock is around 2.5%. Maybe some intrepid investor thinks that by issuing more shares, more short sellers will pile in making a short squeeze a real possibility. Or not.

Chinese ride-sharing giant DiDi Global Inc. (NYSE: DIDI) also traded higher (more than 8%) in the noon hour Wednesday. Remember that just last week the stock plunged on news that DiDi had been ordered to delist itself from foreign stock exchanges.

Now, according to a report at Barron’s, the “practical effect” of the order is that Chinese companies will have to share more data with the Chinese government and be “barred” from disclosing data to foreign governments. An added benefit, from the Chinese government’s point of view, is that companies in the same boat as DiDi basically will be forced to trade in Hong Kong or Shanghai at a lower market cap than they now enjoy.

Electric vehicle maker Lucid Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID) traded up more than 5% in the noon hour Wednesday, following a share price decline of about the same size on Tuesday. The company had no specific news, but solid reports on November sales from Chinese EV makers were lifting many EV makers and, especially, some ETFs focused on EVs.

Robinhood Markets Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOD) was among the stocks trading lower in the noon hour Wednesday. The company had no specific news.

This could be one of those moments best described by the old saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Reddit investors have never forgotten about or forgiven Robinhood’s outage during the meme stock run-up in late January. Many still believe that was all part of a scheme to deny them their share of the spoils. Bloomberg recently cited S3 Partners’ calculation that short sellers have made $253 million in mark-to-market gains since August. Let the stock sink to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Who cares?

Shares of Vertex Energy traded up more than 11% as the noon hour ended Wednesday, at $5.50 in a 52-week range of $0.61 to $14.32. The average daily trading volume is around 2.1 million shares, and more than 10 million had already changed hands Wednesday.

DiDi Global traded up more than 8%, at $8.26 in a 52-week range of $7.16 to $18.01. The average daily trading volume is around 19 million shares, and nearly 16 million had already traded on the day.

Lucid stock traded up by about 3.6% to $54.87, in a 52-week range of $9.83 to $64.86. The average daily trading volume is about 67.5 million shares, and nearly 49 million had traded thus far.

Shares of Robinhood had slipped by about 4% Wednesday to trade at around $24.90 at the close of the noon hour. The average daily trading volume is around 7.4 million shares, and 23.7 million had already traded.

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