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'Stick it to Wall Street': Internet stock market frenzy reaches southeast Wisconsin

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 09:38:38-05

MILWAUKEE — A few days ago, Bryce Nickerson said he bought 13 shares between GameStop and AMC after he said his friend told him about this trend on the internet.

"So far I put in a couple hundred dollars for GameStop and a couple hundred dollars for AMC, I'm going to try to hold as long as possible," Nickerson said. "That's the whole thing from the Reddit group is to hold, don’t sell."

Nickerson is describing the subreddit WallStreetBets on the website Reddit. The group's followers buy shares in companies big investors are targeting with short sales. That's when big investors place bets that certain stocks will go down, and if they do, they make money.

The internet investors are instead making the prices go up.

"When all of these retail or small individuals come in and start to bid the prices up, then you are correct, these hedge funds then have to go in, sell their shares at higher prices rather than lower prices," said Thomas Neumann, a financial advisor with Drake & Associates. "And so the hedge funds are really losing out."

Milwaukee-based headphone company Koss Corporation was looped into the frenzy this week. A few days ago Koss stock was valued around $4 per share. At close Wednesday the stock is valued at $58. Koss had not responded to an email request for comment as of late Wednesday night.

But experts say this will play out.

"In the coming days some of these stocks could be falling just as fast as quickly as they rose, because when it comes back to the normal way that you should be looking at the stocks and evaluating whether you want to be a stock owner of this particular company, comes back to the fundamentals," Neumann said.

In the meantime, traders like Nickerson say they'll make some money and be a little rebellious.

"During a pandemic, they can pay a lot of bills, and really stick it to Wall Street, who are like the big business suit guys, and we're just like teenagers and young adults who are really sticking it to the people who do this for a living," Nickerson said.

During the White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, officials said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is monitoring it.

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