GameStop (GME) and AMC (AMC) are soaring again, with both stocks up more than 100% in the past week.

While the moves are sending vibrations through the market that feel like the 2021 meme stock mania, Wall Street strategists say this fresh burst of enthusiasm is far from the madness of three years ago.

In a research note on Tuesday, Vanda Research senior vice president Marco Iachini wrote his team believes further retail interest could pour into the names over the next several trading sessions, but the chances of a 2021 repeat are “low.”

“Quant/hedge funds are much better equipped to handle these situations nowadays,” Iachini wrote. “If anything, we believe the chances that they participate along with retail in the squeeze but also lean against and then exit these trades ahead of retail traders are high.”

The moves higher in both stocks, which have since been followed by several trading halts and subsequent paring of gains Tuesday, came after the reemergence of Keith Gill, also known as “Roaring Kitty,” whose bull case on GameStop ignited the meme stock rally back in 2021.

But at this stage, the market action is still a far cry from the level of retail inflows seen in 2021. On Monday, GameStop saw net inflows of $15.8 million, while AMC attracted $37.5 million, per VandaTrack data. In January 2021, the peak inflows in a day were $87.5 million and $170 million for GameStop and AMC, respectively.

“Both stocks have seen a surge in inflows, but the magnitude remains just a fraction of what we witnessed in early 2021,” Iachini wrote.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, Nicholas Colas, co-founder at DataTrek, noted the differences between this meme market moment and 2021.

“Retail traders are not just sitting at home with little to do aside from trade stocks,” Colas wrote. “The Federal government has not just air dropped trillions of stimulus money. Yes, we’re sure that we will hear more about meme stocks in the weeks to come, but not with the same fervor as 3 years ago.”

Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 2/2/21 GameStop, AMC and Silver stock prices plunge as Reddit short-squeeze loses steam. STAR MAX Photo: GameStop, AMC, Reddit, Robinhood, WallStreetBets, Stock Graphs and logos photographed off Apple devices..

GameStop, AMC, Reddit, Robinhood, WallStreetBets, Stock Graphs and logos photographed off Apple devices. (STRF/STAR MAX/IPx) (STRF/STAR MAX/IPx)

With other stocks also joining in the rally, such as Sunpower (SPWR), which shot up more than 80% on Tuesday amid a short squeeze, the looming question for investors is whether this risk-on environment will proliferate through the market and create a bubble-like atmosphere.

Colas reasons we’re not near that level as of now.

“Every bull market has its share of excess, but this only becomes dangerous when it becomes widespread. Examples would be dot com stocks in the late 1990s and speculative small caps in 2021,” Colas wrote. “The flurry of activity around GME today is normal, even if it calls back to prior market silliness.”

Capital Economics chief markets economist John Higgins agreed this doesn’t look like the prior bubbles.

“Even if interest in ‘meme’ stocks rebounds following a renewed surge in GameStop’s share price, some of the telltale signs that a bubble in the broader stock market may be entering its final stages — such as excessive leverage — are absent,” Higgins wrote.

A chart from Capital Economics shows that in prior bubbles, including the 2021 meme stock surge, margin debt rose in lnie with the S&P 500. Notably, that isn't happening at the current moment.

A chart from Capital Economics shows that in prior bubbles, including the 2021 meme stock surge, margin debt rose in line with the S&P 500. Notably, that isn’t happening at the current moment.

Josh Schafer is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on X @_joshschafer.

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