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Robinhood restricts trading in GameStop, other names involved in frenzy

Free-trading pioneer Robinhood and Interactive Brokers took steps to curb the wild trading activity in heavily shorted names.

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Retail brokerages restricted trading on Thursday in GameStop and other stocks caught in a frenzy that has captivated Wall Street and caused big losses for hedge funds.

Free-stock trading pioneer Robinhood and Interactive Brokers said that in some cases, investors would be able to sell only their positions and not open new ones. Both brokerages raised margin requirements on certain securities.

After the announcement, shares of GameStop initially reversed their gains, sliding quickly into negative territory. The stock, which traded above $500 at one point in premarket trading, was below $290 per share shortly after the opening bell. About two hours after the Robinhood announcement, GameStop was down 20% from Wednesday’s closing price.

In addition to GameStop, the wild trading affected other heavily shorted stocks, including AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and Koss.

“We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AAL, $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $CTRM, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD, $NOK, $SNDL, $TR and $TRVG. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities,” Robinhood said in a statement.

Raising margin requirements increases how much money an investor using leverage and derivatives must have in their brokerage account after a stock purchase.

Interactive Brokers said: “As of midday yesterday, Interactive Brokers has put AMC, BB, EXPR, GME, and KOSS option trading into liquidation only due to the extraordinary volatility in the markets. In addition, long stock positions will require 100% margin and short stock positions will require 300% margin until further notice. We do not believe this situation will subside until the exchanges and regulators halt or put certain symbols into liquidation only. We will continue to monitor market conditions and may add or remove symbols as may be warranted.”

Stock trading app Webull stopped allowing clients to open new positions in GameStop, AMC Entertainment and Koss.

Shares of GameStop ballooned more than 400% this week and nearly 1,750% this year thanks to emboldened retail investors in Reddit chat rooms trying to stick it to Wall Street pros. The rookies are piling into names heavily shorted by hedge funds, squeezing the stocks higher as the institutions rushed to cover their losses. Shares of AMC Entertainment are up nearly 300% this week.

The steps by Robinhood and Interactive Brokers taken Thursday were more drastic than what brokerages did earlier in the week. TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab raised margin requirements on Wednesday.

Robinhood customers took to Twitter to express their outrage surrounding the decision. Robinhood has made a name for itself through its mission to democratize investing for everyone. The Silicon-Valley start-up with more than 13 million users pioneered free trading, forcing the entire brokerage industry to drop commissions in late 2019.

“Either #Robinhood allows people to trade freely in the market or they will lose millions of users #ToTheMoon #GME #AMC #NAKD,” one twitter user wrote.

“Robinhood canceled stock orders on #gme #amc #NOK etc…. There should be a class action lawsuit. I thought we had a free market. So Wall Street is OK with me losing hundreds of dollars, so that rich investors can’t be called out on their risks…. #wallstreetbets,” another user said.

Atom Finance told CNBC that 10.96% of its clients on Robinhood traded GameStop’s stock on Monday when the gyrations took off. The research firm said 11% of Interactive Broker clients trade GameStop.

Pushback against Wall Street

The Reddit crew is banding together to rally certain stocks in what some say is pushback against the Wall Street establishment.

Hedge fund Melvin Capital closed out its short position in GameStop on Tuesday after taking huge losses as a target of the army of retail investors. Citadel and Point72 have infused close to $3 billion into Gabe Plotkin’s hedge fund to shore up its finances.

“This is a big problem of the e-brokers’ own making as they are so beholden to their payment for order flow overlords and shows the real fragility of the zero commission business model,” said Timothy Welsh, founder and CEO of wealth management consulting firm Nexus Strategy.

Taking payments for order flow from Wall Street firms is a controversial, but legal practice done by most electronic brokers. For Robinhood, it’s the biggest revenue source.

“The high-frequency traders and hedge funds that could predictably trade against the ‘dumb’ money from Robinhood traders and pay Robinhood for that information are now realizing that the order flow they are buying is no longer predictable or safe for them. In fact, it now includes thermonuclear bombs in the form of GameStop and AMC,” Welsh said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on Twitter, calling Robinhood’s new parameters “unacceptable.”

“We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp‘s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit,” she tweeted.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted “fully agree” in response to Ocasio-Cortez.

Law firm ChapmanAlbin LLC announced Thursday it is “investigating claims on behalf of Robinhood users that were affected and suffered losses as a result of investing in Gamestop or AMC through the Robinhood brokerage platform.”

In addition to GameStop, the wild trading affected other heavily shorted stocks, including AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and Koss.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/robinhood-interactive-brokers-restrict-trading-in-gamestop-s.html

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China orders Tencent to give up exclusive music licensing rights as crackdown continues

China’s antitrust regulator ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive licensing rights with international record labels and slapped a $$77,000 fine on the company.

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Chinese technology firm Tencent against the backdrop of China’s flag.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

China’s antitrust regulator has ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and slapped a fine on the company for anti-competitive behavior, as Beijing continues to crack down on its internet giants at home.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Saturday imposed a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,141) on the company citing violations in its acquisition of China Music in 2016.

Following that acquisition, Tencent owns more than 80% of exclusive music library resources, giving the company an advantage over its competitors as it is able to reach more exclusive deals with copyright holders, SAMR said in a statement.

The competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to relinquish exclusive music rights within 30 days, and to end requirements for copyright holders to grant the company better treatment than to its competitors.

Tencent will have to report to the SAMR on its progress every year for three years, according to the statement, and the antitrust regulator will strictly supervise its implementation according to law.

In response, Tencent said in a statement it will “comply with all the regulatory requirements, fulfill our social responsibilities and contribute to healthy competition in the market.”

Tencent will work with affiliates, including Tencent Music Entertainment, to make those changes and ensure full compliance, it said.

China’s grip on internet giantsRead more about China from CNBC ProThe competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to relinquish exclusive music rights within 30 days, and to end requirements for copyright holders to grant the company better treatment than to its competitors.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/24/china-crackdown-antitrust-regulator-orders-tencent-music-to-give-up-music-label-rights.html

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Earnings

Corporate Company Earnings, Find Earnings Per Share and Earnings History Online

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/earnings/

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Jeff Bezos reaches space on Blue Origin’s first crewed launch

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin launched him into spaceflight history, riding the inaugural crew launch of a New Shepard rocket.

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VAN HORN, Texas — For 10 minutes and 10 seconds on Tuesday, Jeff Bezos wasn’t the richest man on Earth.

His Blue Origin company launched him into spaceflight history on Tuesday. Its first crewed New Shepard rocket blasted off from the Texas desert for the brief flight, also carrying his brother and the oldest and youngest people to ever have flown in space.

“Best day ever!” Bezos said after touchdown.

This photo provided by Blue Origin, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The rocket is carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, his brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk.

Blue Origin | AP

The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew accelerated to more than three times the speed of sound before it reached beyond the 80 kilometer boundary (about 262,000 feet) the U.S. uses to mark the edge of space. The crew capsule reached an altitude of 107 kilometers (351,210 feet), and the rocket hit a top speed of 2,233 mph during the launch.

The crew floated in microgravity for a couple minutes, before the capsule returned and landed under a set of parachutes to end the mission after 10 minutes and 10 seconds.

The launch marked Blue Origin’s entrance into the market of private spaceflight, joining Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic — its direct competitor in the sector of suborbital tourism — and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Making history

In addition to his singular net worth, Bezos, 57, is also the only space founder to ride the first crewed flight of his company. While SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have launched astronauts before, Bezos is the first to put himself on the inaugural crew flight.

Floating next to him: Wally Funk, 82, and Oliver Daemen, 18 — respectively the oldest and youngest humans to ever fly in space — and Bezos’ brother, Mark, 53.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of ecommerce company Amazon.com Inc, his brother Mark Bezos, a private equity executive, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk and recent Dutch high school graduate Oliver Daemen pose in an undated photograph, ahead of their scheduled flight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket near Van Horn, Texas, U.S.

Blue Origin | Reuters

Bezos invited his brother and Funk, a female aerospace pioneer, to join the flight. Daemen was a late addition. His seat was originally part of a public auction, but the auction’s winner, an anonymous person who bid $28 million to fly with Bezos, was unable to make the July 20 launch date. Daemen’s father, Joes, CEO of a private equity firm in the Netherlands, was also a bidder, with Daemen scheduled to fly on Blue Origin’s second crew launch as a paying passenger. When the mystery bidder backed out, the company moved Daemen up to the first launch.

Tuesday’s launch also came on another historic milestone — the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Bezos’ space vision

New Shepard’s launch represents a milestone in its progress toward Bezos’ vision. He founded Blue Origin with the goal to create “a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.”

The New Shepard rocket and the capsule that rides atop it are reusable, capable of launching, landing, and launching again multiple times. The rocket system is in many ways a pathfinder for Blue Origin’s other, larger scale projects — such as its orbital New Glenn rocket.

An artist’s illustration of a New Glenn rocket standing on the launchpad in Florida.

Blue Origin

Like New Shepard, the New Glenn rocket booster is designed to be reusable, with the company expecting each one to be capable of launching and landing 25 times. New Glenn, with an inaugural launch date target of late 2022, stands about 320 feet tall and is designed to lift nearly 50 tons of payload to low Earth orbit. The rockets are named after Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn, respectively the first American in space and the first American to orbit Earth. In 1998, then-77-year-old Sen. Glenn became the oldest person in space.

Blue Origin has also developed multiple engines to power both its rockets, including the BE-3, BE-4, and BE-7 engines.

Blue Origin tests one of the BE-4 rocket engines the company is developing to launch its New Glenn rocket.

Blue Origin | gif by @thesheetztweetz

Blue Origin is also working on a crewed lander called Blue Moon, which the company hopes to one day deliver astronauts and cargo to the lunar surface.

Space billionaires

Mural displaying Jeff Bezo and his brother Mark Bezo, is seen in Van Horn, Texas, two days before the scheduled launch of Blue Origin’s inaugural flight to the edge of space by billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos and his three crewmates, in the nearby town of Van Horn, Texas, U.S. July 18, 2021.

Thom Baur | Reuters

The company’s only direct competition in the market of launching space tourists to the edge of space is Branson’s Virgin Galactic, a sector known as suborbital tourism. SpaceX is preparing to launch its first private mission in September, called Inspiration4, but Musk’s company sends its capsules further into space on multiday flights, in what is known as orbital tourism.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have been developing rocket-powered spacecraft, but that is where the similarities end. While Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launches vertically Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo system is released in the air and returns to Earth in a glide for a runway landing, like an aircraft.

And while Blue Origin launches autonomously, Virgin Galactic system is flown by two pilots. Branson’s company has flown four test spaceflights to date but does not expect to begin flying paying customers until 2022.

Blue Origin’s auction may have netted $28 million, but a seat on a suborbital spacecraft is typically much less expensive. Virgin Galactic has historically sold reservations between $200,000 and $250,000 per ticket, and more recently charged the Italian Air Force about $500,000 per ticket for a training spaceflight.

The tourism market is a nascent slice of the more than $420 billion space economy. Yet its high profile — given the much more thrilling human element — means it has a powerful and widespread influence over the space industry, with investors often pointing to astronaut flights as driving excitement about the broader implications of the extraterrestrial marketplace.

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The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew accelerated to more than three times the speed of sound before it reached beyond the 80 kilometer boundary (about 262,000 feet) the U.S. uses to mark the edge of space. The crew capsule reached an altitude of 107 kilometers (351,210 feet), and the rocket hit a top speed of 2,233 mph during the launch.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/20/jeff-bezos-reaches-space-on-blue-origins-first-crewed-launch.html

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