LONDON: The Reddit online forum that fired up a global trading frenzy was in a more sober mood on Tuesday (Feb 2), with many retail investors begging others to "buy the dip" as their favourite stocks plunged.
An army of retail punters had sent shares in US videogame chain GameStop and cinema operator AMC soaring in the past two weeks, causing billions of dollars of losses for Wall Street hedge funds which had made costly "short" bets that the share prices would fall.
But with GameStop halving in value on Tuesday, bringing its loss since Thursday's peak to 75per cent, and AMC losing another 40 per cent, the earlier euphoria was fizzling out, judging by posts on the popular Reddit forum WallStreetBets.
"Guys. This only works (if) we work together. Buy the dip and hold. For all of us. The movement isn't over. Balls of steel ... We can do this," said one post from "mwybert" that had garnered more than 8,000 comments, most of them supportive.
Another wrote: "This is looking ROUGH. To be honest I already made my money last week but I am holding the few I have left. But without people out buying the hedgies ... this is as good as done."
The squeeze on short-sellers in Reddit-favoured "stonks" - an intentional misspelling of "stocks" - upended Wall Street, forcing hedge funds such as Melvin Capital to post declines of more than 50 per cent.
Short-sellers such as Andrew Left's Citron Research have shifted their approach to focus only on long positions.
More retail traders joined the Reddit crowd as their focus widened to take on short-sellers in other asset classes, but they have struggled to make the same explosive impact.
Silver was a new battleground. But spot prices slid nearly 9 per cent on Tuesday, reversing most of the gains notched up in the previous two sessions and showing how much tougher it is for small investors to shift a global commodity than to move individual stocks.
"With volumes in all the hot stocks collapsing, silver attack met by margin, Robinhood having to seek fresh collateral at a rampant speed, the signals that the retail mania could unravel rapidly are aligning," said Mark Taylor, a London-based equity sales trader with financial group Mirabaud.
GameStop and AMC shares, which small investors traded on Robinhood and other online platforms, are still more than double their Jan 22 levels when the buying mania erupted.
But many small investors that piled in late last week said on Reddit they were sitting on paper loses of more than 50 per cent.
Some wrote on the forum on Tuesday that they would capitalise on the drop in GameStop and AMC to load up on more shares.
A few said the "vibe" on the forum had changed, making unfounded claims that internet bots had infiltrated the group to dampen the mood.
Yet others pledged to hold, no matter what.
"It"s not a loss until you sell," wrote one post, while another declared: "Down 50 per cent on gme. Zero or hero."