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Reddit Group Stirs Up Stock Market Prices for GameStop, Calls for ‘Diamond Hands’ Amid COVID-19 Financial Crisis

McKenzie Elyse

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Referred to as a populist revolt by the Washington Post, the recent (and literal) uprising of the stock for a sleepy video game retailer originated on the popular social forum Reddit, causing a frenzy on Wall Street for the majority of last week. The members of Reddit subgroup known as r/wallstreetbets, which has gained over 6 million subscribers since last Monday, have banded together in an apparent effort to induce a short squeeze, costing hedge funds betting against Gamestop stock (GME) billions.

The members of r/wallstreetbets are urging each other to hold onto their Gamestop stock, despite its extreme fall from grace on the Monday morning market opening. The stock was valued at approximately $85 per share at market closing on Tuesday, a sharp drop from over $325 per share on the previous Friday’s closing. The r/wallstreetbets community endearingly refers to themselves as ‘degenerates’, ‘apes’, or most commonly, a slur that typically refers to a mentally handicapped person. Upon a brief analysis of the forum, one could conclude that the group fits the populist description. Wikipedia defines populism as “a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of “the people” and often juxtapose this group against ‘the elite’”, who in this case would be the hedge fund investors. 

The r/wallstreetbets ‘degenerates’ frequently add diamond emojis to their posts in reference to their ‘diamond hands’, a term they use to indicate strength amid adversity. Mark Cuban has even pitched in to the community with an AMA (‘ask me anything’) post, notably replying to a redditor asking how they could win their battle against the elites: “Disruption is never easy or straight line… if [what you believe in] is still true, stay with it… if you want to beat old school Wall Street you have to share that knowledge and find power in numbers”.

Though it may seem counterintuitive that a widely known billionaire has positive advice for the group, he’s not the only one. Many high-profile influencers and politicians have pitched in on the matter, including Ted Cruz, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ben Shapiro, and Donald Trump Jr. The comedian Tim Dillon posted to Twitter on Tuesday “HOLD THE LINE”, which denotes their belief that the stock will “rocket” (another common emoji used in r/wallstreetbets) so quickly that it appears as a straight line on the stock chart.

This current state of affairs on Wall Street is reminiscent of the well-known populist movement ‘Occupy Wall Street’ that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Though the two phenomena are different in tone, one might say that they are similar in color. The stock market lost significant value when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and many Americans lost their jobs. Unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7% in a matter of weeks and some businesses closed their doors for good due to the pandemic.

The hedge funds who shorted GME were betting that Gamestop would be one of those businesses. The market remains volatile, while the r/wallstreetbets community continues to ‘hold the line’ with their ‘diamond hands’. The future of Gamestop is yet to be decided.

I'm a copywriter, journalist, and web content creator with a strong passion for my work. Crafting narratives of the world around me brings me an incredible sense of joy — there's nothing I would rather be doing. Besides writing, I enjoy cooking, mixology, music, and my weird cat named Marceline.

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Business

Snowden NFT sells for $5.4 million amid the growing trend

McKenzie Elyse

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A piece of art by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has sold as an NFT for what was at the time valued at $5.4 million USD, or Ξ2,224.00 ETH (Ethereum Cryptocurrency). The image, titled “Stay Free,” shows Snowden’s face illustrated in the negative space of the pages of a US appeals court decision that ruled that the National Security Agency had violated US law. The artwork was created by Snowden himself using open-source software, and is the only known NFT produced by the former computer intelligence consultant. 

The proceeds of the sale will benefit the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden has held the position of president since 2014. The FPF states that their mission is to “protect, defend, and empower public-interest journalism in the 21st century.”

The Snowden NFT is currently the fourth most-expensive NFT to date, nearly doubling the USD sale price of Jack Dorsey’s infamous “First Tweet” of $2.9 million. Three weeks later, the current value of the Ethereum coin brought in by the Twitter CEO’s NFT sale on March 21st equals more than $3.7 million. The most expensive NFT to date is artist Beeple’s artwork titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” which sold for more than $69.3 million USD, or Ξ38,474.82 ETH on the date of sale. As of this writing, the same amount of ETH would be worth nearly $88 million USD.

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Business

Toshiba CEO resigns following private equity buyout offer of $20+ billion

McKenzie Elyse

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Toshiba CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani has resigned from his position, the Japanese tech conglomerate said in a statement on Wednesday. He will be replaced by chairman Satoshi Tsunakawa after serving just three years as Chief Executive Officer.

The resignation comes in tandem with news of a buyout offer from CVC Capital Partners, which reportedly exceeds $20 billion. Due to his previous affiliation as head of the Japanese operations of the UK-based private equity fund, Kurumatani’s governance and potential conflicts of interest have been called into question by the board and activist shareholders.

CVC Capital is not the only company that has expressed interest in taking Toshiba private. The Financial Times recently reported of another, larger buyout proposal from KKR & Co. Bloomberg News also reports that Canadian Brookfield Asset Management may also be exploring making an offer of their own.

Accepting any of these offers would remove Toshiba (OTCMKTS: TOSYY) from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Delisting could help expedite decision-making by Toshiba’s management, which has recently clashed with shareholders. It could also give Toshiba the agency to concentrate resources on renewable energy divisions and other core businesses.

Toshiba has been plagued by turbulent financial troubles over the last decade. It was revealed in 2015 that the conglomerate was profit-padding in excess of $1.2 billion between 2008 and 2014, which resulted in the resignation of seven top executives. Compounded with the heavy blow its integral nuclear division took from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Toshiba spent the following years unloading assets and restructuring across nearly all of its divisions.

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Apple

Apple Spring Event Will Take Place April 20, Likely to Reveal New iPads and AirTags

Colin Edge

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Apple has finally announced the date for its spring event. The iconic tech company sent out email invites to press for a virtual spring event taking place Tuesday, April 20, at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). The event will be live streamed on Apple’s website.

The invite shows an Apple Pencil squiggle with spring-themed colors, and features the tagline “Spring Loaded”. Fans have already begun speculating what that catchy phrase could mean – is Apple teasing something?

But the announcement actually got out before invites were sent, courtesy of a Siri slip-up. Hours before the formal announcement, several sleuths found that if asked when the next Apple event was taking place, Siri responded: “The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com.” Thanks, Siri.

Apple geeks are thrilled with official news of an event, as speculation had been ramping up for months. After March came and went, predictions surrounding an event became wildly numerous and diverse concerning the nature of the event, when it might happen, and whether or not it was happening at all.

The star of the show is expected to be Apple’s new iPad Pro. The new models are likely to feature mini-LED screens and a new chip (potentially the in-house produced M1 chips currently installed in the MacBook Pro 13-inch and Air). Long-rumored AirTags may also make an appearance. The new Apple tracking devices could attach to personal items like a wallet or purse, and work with the Find My app to keep tabs on them. Third-party trackers from companies like Samsung and Tile already exist on the market.

Apple is also planning to hold the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) virtually in June. Apple enthusiasts are glad to know that WWDC is taking place in addition to, not instead of, a spring event.

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