Shares of two meme stocks surged higher on Thursday, boosted by retail investors despite the wider market selloff, as GameStop’s stock was halted several times for volatility after rising more than 30% earlier in the day, while AMC Entertainment also rallied.
Despite the ongoing market selloff bringing the S&P 500 to the brink of bear market territory on Thursday, meme stocks bucked the trend and surged higher thanks to retail investors buying shares.
Video game retailer GameStop’s stock was halted as many as four times in bizarre trading on Thursday morning, rising up to 33% at one point before paring back gains somewhat.
Shares of movie theater chain AMC Entertainment also spiked, jumping up to 29% earlier in the morning before falling back down to earth.
Both stocks, which are favorites among retail investors, were still significantly higher on Thursday, with GameStop rising nearly 10% to trade at $89 per share, while AMC gained over 5%—trading at almost $11 per share.
The two companies are heavily shorted, however, with numerous hedge funds and short-sellers betting against their stocks: GameStop has a short interest of 21.4% and AMC 19.5%, according to FactSet.
Large short positions against a company can often lead to wild swings in share price, as retail investors driving up the stock can create a “short squeeze,” forcing hedge funds to close out shorts and creating more buying pressure.