GameStop Shares Surge After ‘Roaring Kitty’ Re-emerges

GameStop’s share price skyrocketed on Monday after the man who became the face of “meme stock” mania in 2021 with his enthusiastic promotion of the struggling video game retailer emerged from a three-year hiatus.

On Sunday evening, Keith Gill, the trader known on some social media platforms as Roaring Kitty, posted an illustration of a person holding a video game controller while leaning forward on a chair on X. On no other news, GameStop’s stock more than doubled in early trading, prompting several temporary volatility-related halts by the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were up about 74 percent at the close, adding billions in market value in a matter of hours.

During the frenzy, Mr. Gill posted a series of cryptic clips from movies, television shows and music videos, including the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the television series “Game of Thrones” and the song “Stand Up” by Ludacris. But even after Monday’s surge, GameStop’s stock remained well below the heights it reached in 2021.

Mr. Gill gained a cult following among day traders during the coronavirus pandemic with lively and irreverent videos on YouTube and posts on Reddit arguing that GameStop was undervalued. In 2021, that stock and others, like AMC Entertainment, soared in value as armies of small investors piled in, boosting one another in online forums that were heavy on memes and jokes and light on discussion of traditional financial fundamentals.

Amid the market mayhem, hedge funds that bet against meme stocks blew up and trading apps struggled to keep up. The chaos inspired the 2023 film “Dumb Money,” directed by Craig Gillespie.

Mr. Gill has been silent for the past few years. He fended off a lawsuit from a trader who lost money against him and his former employer, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed the suit in February.

The illustration that Mr. Gill posted on Sunday — after last posting images of sleeping kittens on June 18, 2021 — was posted by GameStop on X in February. The company included the caption, “casual to competitive.”

Redditors on the WallStreetBets forum interpreted Mr. Gill’s latest postings as bullish for GameStop. One Redditor wrote, “Oh we are so back,” and included a screenshot of GameStop’s rising share price.

The prices of other meme stocks also rose on Monday: AMC’s shares were up more than 40 percent. And Reddit’s stock jumped 10 percent, reaching its highest point since March, shortly after the company’s initial public offering.

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