Well, who would have thought a small US bricks and mortar video retailer would grab the attention of the world? As we keep seeing of late – expect the unexpected! We’ve not heard the term David vs Goliath being used as yet, but we’ll coin it!

GameStop is the company in question.  A company sitting in a very precarious financial position and being heavily bet against by the hedge fund firm, Mervin Capital.  Then, in step many private investors, fueled by social media chat on sites like Reddit, have protected the company from the “bully boys” of Wall Street. Well, what have we seen? The share price rocket over +900% this year, even though the stock price took a -70% hit on Thursday.  A company in the abyss worth less than $1bn a few weeks ago, suddenly skyrocketing to a market cap over $25bn, is simply staggering! The plot continues to thicken – industry watchdogs and regulators are warning about market abuse and potentially looking to step in. The trading platform that many ‘Redditors’ use to transact Robinhood Markets has stopped taking trade orders on the stock, with many private investors now crying foul – why can hedge fund managers do as they see fit, but mom & pop can’t? Lawsuits are being threatened, but Robinhood has probably taken the right moral action, to stop the same investors losing their shirt, as highlighted by the stock price fall on Thursday.  At the same time Robinhood also had to go looking for a cash injection itself, as they had to put up the collateral for these trades after they got so big!

Why should we care? Is this a real attempt to rescue the company or David trying to lay one on Wall Street Goliaths, and why if that’s the case? Woolworths, C&A, Blockbuster are just a few high street names that have fallen by the wayside.  Why? Because the model had stopped working and demand shifted elsewhere. However, is this whole episode significantly more profound and a reflection of the failures that lead to the Great Financial Crisis, and the widening social and economic gaps that continue to persist under capitalism. Will this be a watershed moment?

What we have seen over the last few months is that global economic data has been much stronger than forecast, which highlights the ability of humankind to adapt (or bouncebackability as they used to say on Soccer AM) in the face of adversity.

In other news – there continues to be mud-slinging in Europe over the slow and unequal rollout of the vaccines, we’re sure many Brexiteers are sitting there saying “I told you so!”.  Finally, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been given the approval in Europe, and the Novavax vaccine shows 89% effectiveness in UK trials. Normality may return…..

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