Don't Let This Stock's Reputation Discourage You

Shares of investing app operator Robinhood Markets, Inc. (HOOD) have declined more than 70% since its blockbuster IPO in July 2021. Moreover, the stock has declined 42.5% year-to-date.

Pioneering zero-commission trading, Robinhood's mobile app garnered huge popularity among beginners during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company was at the center of the never-seen-before frenzied trading activity in meme stocks.

However, the retail brokerage controversially restricted trading in GameStop (GME) early last year, allowing investors to only sell their positions and not open new ones. This led to significant outrage among its users.

Since the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes have kept the market under pressure this year, most retail investors have stayed away from trading, leading to revenue loss for HOOD.

However, this rise in interest rates is turning out to be beneficial for brokerage firms like HOOD as customers tend to be more moderate in seeking out yield from their brokers when compared to banks.

Although cash sorting is one of the reasons banks have not risen in tandem with the rise in treasury yields, brokerages, on the other hand, are relatively in a better place as the request for cash sweeps among their customers is comparatively lower.

According to Curinos’s CDA Wealth data, during the previous cycle of rising interest rates between late 2015 and mid-2019, yields on wealth accounts under $250,000 subject to cash sweeps rose only 10% as much as the Federal funds rate. On the other hand, online savings accounts and one-year certificate-of-deposit rates rose 58% and 80%, respectively.

In addition, as brokers do not indulge in longer-term lending like banks, their assets tend to be shorter-term. This is beneficial, especially in a rising interest rate environment when cash can be redeployed at higher yields. Continue reading "Don't Let This Stock's Reputation Discourage You"

Meme Stocks And Breaking Down Short Squeezes

Meme stocks and Reddit’s Wall Street Bets have been behind some massive, short squeezes thus far in 2021. GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC) have been the most notable battleground stocks between hedge fund managers and retail traders. Hedge fund managers that have short positions on a stock profit when the stock declines. On the other hand, retail traders identify heavily shorted stocks and buy the stock with the intention to short squeeze these hedge funds and cause a dramatic rise in the stock price. Although this tug-a-war has worked for GME and AMC in the short term, deploying this tactic can be dangerous. These short squeezes result in astronomical stock appreciation, extreme valuation distortion, and liquidity issues, as trading can be halted when trading abnormalities are triggered. Here, I’ll break down the anatomy of a short position and the mechanics behind a short squeeze.

What’s A Short Position?

Short positions are taken by those who believe the company is overvalued and take the position that the stock will decline in value over the near term. Essentially, this is betting that the stock will decline and when the stock falls, the short position is profitable. Short positions are taken by borrowing shares and then selling the shares in the hope to subsequently buy back the shares at a lower price to capture the spread. For example, shares are borrowed and sold at $100, and over the near term, the shares fall to $75. Once these shares fall as expected, the short seller can then buy these shares back at $75 and return the borrowed shares while netting $25 per share in the process. Continue reading "Meme Stocks And Breaking Down Short Squeezes"