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A hedge fund lost 10% in just a few days after a sudden spike in AMC stock derailed an options trade, new report says

Summary List PlacementHedge fund Mudrick Capital lost 10% in just a few days of trading as shares of meme stock AMC Entertainment spiked to record highs, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The losses were driven by call options sold by firm founder Jason Mudrick,...

A person rides his bicycle past the closed AMC movie theaters in Times Square on October 22, 2020.

Summary List Placement

Hedge fund Mudrick Capital lost 10% in just a few days of trading as shares of meme stock AMC Entertainment spiked to record highs, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The losses were driven by call options sold by firm founder Jason Mudrick, according to the WSJ. The position, intended to serve as a downside hedge, ended up backfiring as the stock surged too much, too fast.

The runaway share spike occurred on June 2, when AMC shares rose as much as 127%, to $72.62, well beyond the strike price for Mudrick’s options.

Just one day prior, Mudrick had disclosed a $230.5 million purchase of new AMC stock, then immediately sold those shares at a profit, according to a Bloomberg report. Despite the success of that leg of the overall AMC trade, Mudrick’s calls on the stock were still held short, leaving them vulnerable to the June 2 surge, the WSJ found.

Mudrick did close out all options and debt positions on June 2, albeit too late to avoid the squeeze. While the fund did earn a roughly 5% return on the debt, it ended up absorbing a net loss of 5.4% because of the options trade.

Though the fund took a hit amid the surge, it’s still up about 12% for the year, the Journal said. Meanwhile, AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, is up more than 2,000% year-to-date. 

Retail traders have been dealing blows to short sellers and hedge funds this year as they’ve poured into stocks with high short interest rates in order to force a short squeeze. Earlier this year, investors on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets led a share price surge in GameStop, which caused short sellers to lose billions. 

Amid the renewed meme-stock interest in recent weeks, short sellers have continued to lose money in retail-trader favorites like AMC and GameStop. The meme stock trade has scared off many short sellers from heavily betting against certain stocks. 

Read more: Goldman Sachs says these 40 popular stocks can be used to play the meme trade as surging retail volumes create huge money-making opportunities for investors who know when to get out

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