Friday, June 17, was a modestly up day for most of the indexes. The Standard & Poor’s 500, for example, gained 0.22% and the NASDAQ was up a stronger 1.43%. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.13% on the day.)
But you’d never know that the indexes were up only modestly if you checked the gains on the most speculative stocks in the market.
Meme favorites GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC) were up 7.48% and 6.28%, respectively.
But the speculative gains didn’t stop there.
The general focus was on lower price and relatively thinly traded stocks that had been hammered in recent selling.
So Vaxart (VXRT), a biotech working on a Covid vaccine in a pill, gained 15.56%. Nektar (NKTR), another harshly punished biotech, gained 7.10% on the day.
Beaten up alternative energy stocks were favorites. Plug Power (PLUG), a hydrogen fuel-cell play, gained 11.09%. ChargePoint (CHPT), an electric vehicle charging stock, was up 11.78%. LiCycle (LICY), a lithium battery relying startup, was higher by 8.22%.
A few points to note if you’re tempted to play along.
First, these big moves often didn’t extend across a sector to similar stocks. EvGO (EVGO), another electric vehicle charging stock, was up just 1.87% on the day.
Second, it’s hard for me to say exactly why some stocks participated and others didn’t. Macy’s (M), hit badly in the downturn and a frequent favorite of speculative money on other Bear Market rally days, was up only 0.30%. MGM Resorts International (MGM), down big recently, rebounded by only 2.05%
On the other hand, amusement park operator Six Flags (SIX) gained 8.87%.
And third, some of the biggest winners on Friday were the biggest losers on the last solidly down day.
On June 13, when the S&P 500 fell 3.88% and the NASDAQ plunged 4.60%, AMC Entertainment and GameStop were down 7.64% and 8.40% respectively. ChargePoint dropped 16.05%. Six Flags was lower by 12.01%.
I don’t think the reward here is worth the risk–unless you’ve got a pipeline direct to your ear from Lady Luck’s mouth. I’d use days like this to get out of positions that you don’t want to hold but where you’ve felt trapped by looking at big losses.
And, of course, enjoy any gains that might tumble your way.