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My thoughts on the GameStop stock issue.  Chime in if you like.

 

It is unlawful for any person to use interstate commerce to use, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security, any manipulative or deceptive device.  § 10(b).  There’s a 4 part test to show manipulation (that’s probably what is in this case). If manipulation is shown, that’s fraud and the SEC can go after them.  I’m talking about the ones who pumped up the stock and then dumped it.  The reddit guys.  This could happen to them: https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2000-135.txt.  I think they went after that kid on violations of 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 but eventually settled.  Here, they would likely just go after the ones who actively participated in the manipulation, i.e., the ones who posted on reddit; not the ones who just bought stock. 

 

As for the hedge funds, short selling is not manipulative.  See ATSI Communications.  However, short selling that is part of a broader deceptive scheme does violate Rule 10b-5.  See Russo.  So, the SEC would have to show that if they went after the funds.

 

As for the brokerage firms, they’re just the ones selling stock to the hedge funds and buy them back from the hedge funds when the funds short.  In fact, it could be argued that when the brokerage firms froze trading, that served as a stopgap to the manipulation on the market created by the redditors.  Sure, it benefitted the hedge funds, but the hedge funds didn’t defraud anyone.  The reddit group did.

 

Moreover, people are just trying to get their social brownie points by standing up to Wall Street hedge funds.  I get it—short sales look unethical and we don’t like rich people.  Reddit stood up for the common man and all that, but manipulation of the market, regardless of who commits the fraud, is illegal.

 

Some have argued that this whole ordeal shows how big the gap between the rich and the poor is; you know, financial institutions gamble with the economy all the time without penalty and one group on reddit does what they did, and now things get serious.  Additionally, people make a valid point comparing this to the ’08 housing crisis.  It also gives people a step ladder to clamber onto and spout “I’m for the common man” sentiments from.  ’08 was certainly very bad, and there probably should have been more people held accountable for what happened.  For what it’s worth, they took legislative action with the Dodd-Frank Act and the like to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  More was probably needed, I’m not debating that point.  We may also get more legislation out of this too.  Could be good or bad.

Edited by ncates00
Added "when the brokerage firms froze trading," for clarity. @iacas, thanks for correcting GameStop for me.
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  • iacas changed the title to GameStop Stocks
  • ncates00 changed the title to Gamestop Stocks
11 hours ago, ncates00 said:

I think they went after that kid on violations of 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 but eventually settled.  Here, they would likely just go after the ones who actively participated in the manipulation, i.e., the ones who posted on reddit; not the ones who just bought stock. 

They are skirting the line, but it doesn't fall under classic market manipulation. It would be a new interpretation. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-26/will-wallstreetbets-face-sec-scrutiny-after-gamestop-rally

 In the end, we all manipulate the market when we buy stocks since it shows our intent that we believe the stock should go higher. 

This group saw that a lot of people were shorting the stock. They new the mechanism that could happen when you get a lot of short interest in a stock, which pushed the price higher. So they accurately saw that by buying the stock it would go higher and it did. They accurately saw that the shorting mechanism would work in their favor, which it did. Nothing here speaks of market manipulation. 

11 hours ago, ncates00 said:

As for the brokerage firms, they’re just the ones selling stock to the hedge funds and buy them back from the hedge funds when the funds short.  In fact, it could be argued that when the brokerage firms froze trading, that served as a stopgap to the manipulation on the market created by the redditors.  Sure, it benefitted the hedge funds, but the hedge funds didn’t defraud anyone.  The reddit group did.

It's not fraud.

Quote

Fraud is a broad term that refers to acts intended to swindle someone. ... Fraud always includes a false statement, misrepresentation or deceitful conduct. The purpose is to gain something of value, usually money, by misleading or deceiving someone into believing something that the perpetrator knows to be false.

How did they commit fraud? There was no false statements made. They had a plan, which uses known market mechanisms and it worked. They never published any lies about GameStop to get people to buy the stock. 

If they said, "Gamestop is going to open 1000 new stores, you need to buy" that is fraud. 

If they said, "We know that there are a lot of people shorting the stock, if the stock goes higher the mechanism of shorting will cause the stock to balloon, we should buy the stock and see if it happens" that is not fraud. 

People who buy stocks, short stocks, do options all know the mechanisms and trends that help them get an edge. This is not fraudulent behavior. 

 

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  • iacas changed the title to GameStop Stocks
2 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

They are skirting the line, but it doesn't fall under classic market manipulation. It would be a new interpretation. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-26/will-wallstreetbets-face-sec-scrutiny-after-gamestop-rally

Not necessarily.  Again read 10(b): it says manipulation or deception.  I read this article yesterday, and the author only highlights deception.  

It is unlawful for any person to use interstate commerce to use, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security, any MANIPULATIVE or DECEPTIVE device.  § 10(b).  

That guy you brings up manipulation and then dismisses that to only focus on the deceptive part of it.  It’s like he’s highlighting his “on the other hand” argument.

he basically says, there could be manipulation, here’s the 4 part test, BUT LOOK AT THIS—they MEANT to do what they did; that’s not deceptive!  Haha.

4 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

 In the end, we all manipulate the market when we buy stocks since it shows our intent that we believe the stock should go higher. 

That's not market manipulation in the legal sense/securities regulation sense.

 

5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Nothing here speaks of market manipulation. 

You're not including pertinent facts.  They intentionally acted to manipulate the market by posting how they did.  Granted, maybe there is no deception (because they knew what they were doing), but it was likely manipulation.

 

6 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

It's not fraud.

Market manipulation or deception is fraud under 10(b) and Rule 10b-5.

 

6 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

How did they commit fraud? There was no false statements made. They had a plan, which uses known market mechanisms and it worked. They never published any lies about GameStop to get people to buy the stock. 

Again, the rule does not require false statements.  You, like the author of that article, are only addressing deception.  Market manipulation, along with deception or false or misleading statements, may constitute fraud.

 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If they said, "Gamestop is going to open 1000 new stores, you need to buy" that is fraud. 

This is only one form of fraud.  Fraud is a broad umbrella term with multiple ways of proving fraud.

 

9 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If they said, "We know that there are a lot of people shorting the stock, if the stock goes higher the mechanism of shorting will cause the stock to balloon, we should buy the stock and see if it happens" that is not fraud. 

People who buy stocks, short stocks, do options all know the mechanisms and trends that help them get an edge. This is not fraudulent behavior. 

It's about the manner in which they did it.  Posting on reddit as to how you are going to "get the Wall Street hedge funds" may be construed as market manipulation.  You're cherry-picking the facts here; they are not merely buying stocks with knowledge of mechanisms and trends.  I'm not addressing people who just bought stock; I'm talking about the ones who posted the plan and induced others to join the plan.  That's likely a manipulative device or scheme.

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Statement of Acting Chair Lee and Commissioners Peirce, Roisman, and Crenshaw Regarding Recent Market Volatility January 29, 2021

Federal statutes and Rules promulgated by the SEC use mandatory disclosure requirements, antifraud and other liability provisions, and substantive regulation to protect investors, assure integrity of securities markets, and promote capital formation. 

Based upon this statement, it appears that the SEC are looking at both the initial actions by the redditors and the subsequent trade freeze by the brokers.  If the SEC do find market manipulation (and therefore fraud), I'm not sure how many people the SEC can "get."  This might be like the FBI getting entertainment pirates--you get who you can, I suppose.

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3 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

It is unlawful for any person to use interstate commerce to use, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security, any MANIPULATIVE or DECEPTIVE device.  § 10(b).  

Then is it illegal for Buffet to give opinions on stock? He is broadcasting that across state lines. It gets posted on Wall Street Journal or what not. What if someone takes Buffets article, sends it out to millions of people and they all buy that stock and drive the price up? 

If I say, "Hey, there are a lot of shorts on this stock, I feel like if it gets up to a certain price it could go much higher" is that market manipulation or just stating a fact that could happen? People who short stocks look for indicators all the time, and probably announce to their friends these indicators and get them to short the stock as well. Which could drive interest in the stock going down. Is this market manipulation? Should the be prosecuted. Or is it allowed because of how many people hear it and act on it. Are we just going to go after people due to the size of the manipulation versus actually going after everyone equally?

If the SEC wants to go after this as fraud then they better take a look at a lot more things out there on the internet. I feel like they would only go after this group because of how extreme it got and because it hurt the people who have money and influence. 

5 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

It's about the manner in which they did it.  Posting on reddit as to how you are going to "get the Wall Street hedge funds" may be construed as market manipulation.  You're cherry-picking the facts here; they are not merely buying stocks with knowledge of mechanisms and trends.  I'm not addressing people who just bought stock; I'm talking about the ones who posted the plan and induced others to join the plan.  That's likely a manipulative device or scheme.

Then hedge funds do the same thing. They have a plan, they implement it, their actions have some impact on stock prices. It's manipulation. 

To me, I don't care if they abused the people who are shorting stocks. They have a right to buy what ever stocks they want. They all decided to buy GME. That caused it to go up. That happens all the time. It's just they identified a mechanism that exists in the market. 

there is a downside to shorting stocks, your losses are potentially infinite. 

The stock market does not just move with how a company runs their business. It moves to the whims of investors. This is why you have highly overvalued and undervalued stocks show up all the time. It's why the stock market was at a all time high during the pandemic when people were going out of business. Wall Street is not this simple indicator of how business is run. It's a gambling system with mechanism that are exploited all the time. 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Then is it illegal for Buffet to give opinions on stock?

From what I understand, he basically gives business/investing advice 101 and does not appear to get into more particular statements than that.  I'm sure he has legal counsel that have instructed him as to what he can and cannot say.

 

4 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If I say, "Hey, there are a lot of shorts on this stock, I feel like if it gets up to a certain price it could go much higher" is that market manipulation or just stating a fact that could happen?

If that is all you say, then that's likely not market manipulation.  The redditors have allegedly stated much more that could rise to the level of market manipulation.

 

5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If the SEC wants to go after this as fraud then they better take a look at a lot more things out there on the internet. I feel like they would only go after this group because of how extreme it got and because it hurt the people who have money and influence. 

The SEC has discretion as to who they prosecute.  You're probably correct as to the extremity of the actions and the result.  I mean, what would you expect?  A guy who induces a handful of people and flies relatively under the radar will likely have no material impact on the market, even if he himself does very well.  The SEC is pretty understaffed, and securities regulation issues are pretty complicated.  It's not the same as a "I caught my wife cheating, so I shot 'em both, Your Honor."

I will push back on the part about "because it hurt people who have money and influence" slightly.  Could be.  But also remember who typically engages in the market in the first place--by default we are going to be dealing with an issue that concerns at the very least the middle class, probably upper middle even.  The SEC have gone after, and succeeded, wealthy individuals and issuers before, so I'm not sure I'm going to buy whole stock, pardon the pun, your "the rich get away with everything" implication.  Sometimes they do.  Well, the wealthy can afford really good attorneys and the wealthy, when they get into trouble, appear to get into pretty complicated crimes, e.g., hard to prove, hard rules, etc.  Poorer folks unfortunately don't receive the best counsel, and poor folks’ crimes are a little easier to understand.

13 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Then hedge funds do the same thing. They have a plan, they implement it, their actions have some impact on stock prices. It's manipulation. 

You keep saying this kind of sentiment; that any action taken has impact on stock prices, and therefore those actions are manipulating the market.  As I said above, merely investing in stock is not market manipulation in the legal sense.  

 

16 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

To me, I don't care if they abused the people who are shorting stocks.

I don't care if people lose and can't cover their short; that's their strategy after all.  But I do care if people manipulate the market.  Don't you?

 

17 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

They have a right to buy what ever stocks they want.

Yes, but they cannot create a manipulative or deceptive device or scheme to defraud the market.

 

18 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

They all decided to buy GME. That caused it to go up. That happens all the time. It's just they identified a mechanism that exists in the market. 

No, it's not "just" because they found a way to drive the stock up.  It's the manipulative device and scheme in which they did so.  That's the question that the SEC is investigating; to see if they manipulated the market.  There is a good argument that some did.  I'd say they will have to look at specific posts and dig a bit deeper.  The people who just saw the post and invested will likely be fine; I'm referring to the "masterminds" here.

 

20 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

there is a downside to shorting stocks, your losses are potentially infinite. 

The stock market does not just move with how a company runs their business. It moves to the whims of investors. This is why you have highly overvalued and undervalued stocks show up all the time. It's why the stock market was at a all time high during the pandemic when people were going out of business. Wall Street is not this simple indicator of how business is run. It's a gambling system with mechanism that are exploited all the time. 

I understand and agree with these points to some degree, but none of this is relevant to the securities regulation question at hand.

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4 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

But also remember who typically engages in the market in the first place--by default we are going to be dealing with an issue that concerns at the very least the middle class, probably upper middle even. 

GME stock has little to do with middle class and there retirements. Majority of people are in mutual funds, ETF's or diversified through other stocks. The market being down today hurts retirement accounts more than what is happening with GME. 

5 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

I don't care if people lose and can't cover their short; that's their strategy after all.  But I do care if people manipulate the market.  Don't you?

In this case, I don't see it as manipulation because a large group of people decided to buy one stock. Large groups of people get onto one stock all the time. There is a reason why stocks get overvalued all the time. there is a reason why there is volatility caused by factors not associated with the business associated with the stock. 

8 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

No, it's not "just" because they found a way to drive the stock up.  It's the manipulative device and scheme in which they did so.  That's the question that the SEC is investigating; to see if they manipulated the market.  There is a good argument that some did.  I'd say they will have to look at specific posts and dig a bit deeper.  The people who just saw the post and invested will likely be fine; I'm referring to the "masterminds" here.

So should we outlaw giving stock advice since it can blow up on the internet? 

Again, I don't see it as an issue if there is a known weakness in shorting stocks that buying a lot of stocks to drive up the price will cause it go out of control. That is a busted feature of the stock market that for better or worse exists. If people want to short stocks, then take the risk that people will find these stocks that have way too many shorts on them and go after it. 

If some people go after them because they don't like shorting stocks, then so what. I wish I jumped on this train when the stock was in the teens. 

To me, this is nothing more than when a lot of people see an indication in the market and go all in knowing the chance something will happen. In this case it is just that a large group of people happen to get ahold of the information. 

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6 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

In this case, I don't see it as manipulation because a large group of people decided to buy one stock.

You're conveniently leaving out the most important alleged fact.  The SEC wouldn't be investigating this if that's all they did.  They're looking at whether the communications were part of a manipulative or deceptive device or scheme. 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Large groups of people get onto one stock all the time.

Agreed, but there is a difference between an investment pool and manipulation.  

 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

There is a reason why stocks get overvalued all the time. there is a reason why there is volatility caused by factors not associated with the business associated with the stock. 

I agree.  That's the point here.  GameStop's previous high was that it traded at about $62 in 2007.  It jumped, in the middle of a pandemic where no one is buying video games from brick and mortar stores but going digital, to around $483.  Can you point to anything in GameStop's governance, financials, business model, product line-up, or other factors that led to GameStop deserving this price increase?  I can't.  Given the reddit communications and the lack of material change to GameStop's position, it could be a concerted effort to manipulate the market.  But that's what the SEC will have to investigate.

14 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

To me, this is nothing more than when a lot of people see an indication in the market and go all in knowing the chance something will happen. In this case it is just that a large group of people happen to get ahold of the information. 

Again, you keep ignoring important alleged facts.  You assume that all these people just had some information and traded.  If that were the case, the SEC would not be investigating.  There looks to be manipulation of the market via communications on reddit.  You, likely wrongly, just liken it to passing an investing tip to a friend.  That's not what the communications allegedly did.  It looks more like a scheme to manipulate the market, but that's what the SEC will have to dig into.

 

I think your better argument would read something more like this:

As I noted above, the SEC is investigating the trading freeze by the brokerage firms, too, so there could be wrongdoing on both sides.  I have heard that employees from the firm shut it down to protect the hedge funds, but who knows if that is valid.  It could just as easily be that the firm called the SEC and asked what they should do, and maybe the SEC told them to put in a freeze (and it happened to benefit the hedge funds).  I could see either one being true.

I agree with there is potential to go for the reddit group but at this point it is internet wide.  Where does SEC draw the line in terms of prosecution? Like can it really be considered manipulation by people saying “to the moon” with this stock or is that just some “satirical conjecture”?

I agree that the funds short selling is not manipulative. But if you take it like that, the idea to hold the stock/short squeeze should not be either? Probably falls to how they rallied the internet to join them. I am highly concerned with Robinhood's ability to shut the market down at their own discretion. This has could be market manipulation in my opinion especially since they are founded on the premise of “for the people” and “let the people invest” but then controlling what they can/cannot do after putting significant amounts of their own capital in the game. I think that opens a door to fraudulent behavior whether that be from internal or external pressures. That could be a bigger concern than this vigilante reddit group.

-end-

I think you raised some issues, but I think as written above would be a slightly stronger argument.

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On 1/28/2021 at 11:51 PM, ncates00 said:

Sure, it benefitted the hedge funds, but the hedge funds didn’t defraud anyone.  The reddit group did.

Who exactly did the Reddit group defraud?

Colin P.

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14 minutes ago, colin007 said:

Who exactly did the Reddit group defraud?

The price of that Gamestop stock will eventually crash back down. Let's face it, the business model is outdated.

The victims (who may or may not have truly been defrauded) would be the people holding that stock when it drops 

Edited by mcanadiens
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26 minutes ago, colin007 said:

Who exactly did the Reddit group defraud?

The market.  Market manipulation is fraud. 

This post is a pretty decent article.  https://cjdonald.medium.com/the-five-minute-guide-to-gamestop-wallstreetbets-the-late-january-stock-trading-frenzy-and-d6b7fac595e2

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To me this just had to do with the magnitude of the disruption. If GME went up 25% and nothing else happen no one would look into it. 

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Is there any indication that there was inside information that led to this?

Did the promoters mispresent the situation to anyone?

I think it is a pretty tough thing to say the Reddit group did anything illegal if the activity was limited to discussing it online and purchasing stock. 

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If this was caused by someone who already had stocks then it would be a better case. If no one had stocks and it was a plan to just acquire lots of stocks then it hard to say it fits the precedence set for market manipulation. 

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1 minute ago, mcanadiens said:

Is there any indication that there was inside information that led to this?

Not that I’m aware of. 

 

1 minute ago, mcanadiens said:

Did the promoters mispresent the situation to anyone?

I’m not sure I understand your question. What do you mean by promoters? Are you referring to the Reddit group or brokerage firms or other? 

 

2 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

I think it is a pretty tough thing to say the Reddit group did anything illegal if the activity was limited to discussing it online and purchasing stock. 

It depends on what the discussions entailed. There’s a difference between offering general business/investing 101 advice and market manipulation. That’s why the SEC is investigating. 

2 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If this was caused by someone who already had stocks then it would be a better case. If no one had stocks and it was a plan to just acquire lots of stocks then it hard to say it fits the precedence set for market manipulation. 

This simply is not true. Whether an investor had stock prior to the alleged manipulation is not one of the requisite legal elements for pumping and dumping or market manipulation. That pertains more to insider trading. Here, we’re not looking at insider trading. Holding the stock prior to the alleged manipulation could bear on the investor’s intent, but again, that’s not a requirement. The SEC is going to look more at the communications and the plan to manipulate the prices. 

In other words, @saevel25, a person can devise a plan to manipulate the market prior to owning the stock first. In fact, that’s probably what a lot of them did. They liked came up with the plan first, then bought the stock. 

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20 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

I’m not sure I understand your question. What do you mean by promoters? Are you referring to the Reddit group or brokerage firms or other? 

 

By promoters I mean the Reddit group users that came up with the idea originally.

In convincing their fellow users to purchase the stock, did they say things that were false?

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1 hour ago, ncates00 said:

The market.  Market manipulation is fraud. 

This post is a pretty decent article.  https://cjdonald.medium.com/the-five-minute-guide-to-gamestop-wallstreetbets-the-late-january-stock-trading-frenzy-and-d6b7fac595e2

Fraud =/= defraud

 

Not that I think fraud occurred either.

Colin P.

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(edited)
8 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

In convincing their fellow users to purchase the stock, did they say things that were false?

I’m not sure. That said, while false or misleading statements constitute fraud, the same is not required to show market manipulation. 

3 minutes ago, colin007 said:

Fraud =/= defraud

 

Not that I think fraud occurred either.

Well, you need to dig a little more then. Could be fraud at play here. Likely at least market manipulation and a pump & dump scheme. 

Edited by ncates00
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    • Meanwhile on the PGA Tour, Scheffler is five ahead through 15 with play to resume on Monday. If he wins, it would be his fourth in five starts. Has two players ever dominated like that simultaneously?  
    • Day 109- Made some full swings today. Hopefully that means I’m close to 100%, although a particularly painful sneeze has me keeping expectations more realistic. 
    • Well done! And i would have 100% believed a 200+ 6 iron off the tee. No need to give away your secrets!
    • Day 286: mirror work - checking posture and grip and then working on hip movement. 
    • Ok.  So I have this problem:    If I place the ball in the middle of my stance (when hitting my irons, like you're supposed to), I just can't seem to make good contact.  I'm chunking it; it seems like I'm hitting way behind the ball, and my clubhead is not yet at the bottom of the swing trajectory (ie where it's supposed to be when contact is made).     I'm not sure why this is.  I think it may be because I'm not bending enough at the waist, leaning forward.  I may be standing up too straight.  If I place the ball forward in my stance (by as much as 3-4 ball lengths, especially with my long iron), I get nearly perfect contact . . . but with a hook/pull tendency.  
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