(Reuters) – Shares of the beloved Reddit GameStop rose on Thursday, surging more than 20% at one point in another inexplicable move that left market watchers searching for a potential catalyst.
Shares of GameStop closed up 6.4% at $ 131.93 after hitting $ 147.87, its highest since a rise in very short stocks late last month.
An analyst and some Twitter users pointed to a cryptic tweet from Ryan Cohen, a major GameStop shareholder and founder of e-commerce firm Chewy.com, as a plausible reason for the move, although Reuters could not independently determine causation. .
The afternoon rally at GameStop began around the time Cohen tweeted what appeared to be a screenshot with Pets.com’s puppet dog advertising mascot, a notorious victim of the dot-com bubble two decades ago.
Cohen and GameStop had no comment on the tweet.
The tweet was “as good an explanation as any” for the sudden surge in GameStop shares, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in an emailed comment to Reuters.
“The central ‘story’ is that he will change the company and reverse its fortunes, so whatever he does to reinforce that change … will make the stock go up,” he said.
“I don’t know if this was the real catalyst today, but in such an ugly market, it makes sense.”
Wall Street closed sharply lower on Thursday, leaving the Nasdaq down about 10% from its all-time high in February.
A GameStop rally last month has also been linked to a tweet from Cohen. A Feb. 24 spike in the company’s stock began roughly when Cohen tweeted a photo of a McDonald’s ice cream cone with a frog emoji.
The tweet left some GameStop bulls wondering online if it was a veiled message that Cohen would fix GameStop’s business, as the fast food chain modernized its ice cream machines.
GameStop has become one of the more visible so-called meme pools that is closely followed on sites like Reddit’s popular WallStreetBets forum.
The shares rose more than 1,600% in January after a buying spree forced investors to bet against the company’s shares to undo their positions, before slashing most of those gains the following month.
Cohen’s activist firm RC Ventures struck a deal with GameStop in January, awarding Cohen seats on the company’s board of directors.
Reporting by Sinéad Carew; Additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Edited by Franklin Paul, Ira Iosebashvili and Subhranshu Sahu