Note to the reader: the following article was written by my father Luciano Ammendola. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, I find his perspective interesting and wanted to share it with you. The English translation is mine (the article was originally written in Italian).
If you, dear readers, are among those who intend the STOCK EXCHANGE (Milan, London, New York) as a place where owned shares of companies, whose original owners have decided to monetise the growth of their child, are exchanged for the public investment of shares and you are convinced that the change in price is connected to the good economic performance of their creature as well as responding to exogenous factors such as the inflation rate, the cost of money, the progression of turnover, unemployment then you are educated to consider how the market price on the stock exchange is linked to the supply and demand created by what has just been described. Well… forget it: this historical description is no longer valid.
THE STORY OF GAMESTOP
Gamestop is a videogame company created at the turn of the century buying and selling video games for which the youth went crazy; it had over 5500 stores in the world but what is even more amazing was the fact that it created a symbolic place for “afficionados”, a meeting place where you could buy, sell and exchange Video Games, creating passion and loyalty to the brand.
Then around 2005 came Google, Amazon, Apple and Steam: going to a store to buy a video game or a CD became obsolete in a few months and was ultimately killed by the growing digitisation of games allowing costumers to download games directly from virtual portals without therefore buying the physical medium. And Gamestop’s turnover began to tumble.
During 2020 America’s most aggressive hedge funds decided that Gamestop would go upside down and began massively shorting the company’s stock. Since almost all Hedge Funds no longer reason with human thinking but through the algorithms of their computers, there were many who bet on Gamestop’s death. In addition to their financial power, the big Hedge Funds also have the power to influence the ongoing financial novel by shooting at the victim they have decided to kill from specialised newspapers. Normal administration for sharks used to biting their prey.
I hope it will be easy for you to understand which mountain was created by the algorithms that acted in unison. On the market, the number of shares sold short was higher than that existing in the company’s assets. I emphasise the incredible: sold in much larger quantities than the existing ones!!!
And here comes the most beautiful and mysterious story of 2021: the ants, the small investors, get pissed off! I’m too old to give you an easy explanation, but the fact remains that within a few weeks the ants compacted to the cry:
“Enough! We are tired of Hedge Funds abusing the financial markets: they wanted to win big… let’s screw them!”. There are those who say that this electronic alliance was more sentimentally created for the love that the ants had for the Gamestop of their youth. I doubt this tenderness, but it’s nice to imagine it.
The union of the ants is implemented in no time thanks to a site, Redditt, which has more than two million followers in a specific group called “Wall Street Bets”. Electronic word of mouth triggers purchases and catches hedge funds unprepared: the ants slaughter the elephant.
The fact is that, coordinating with independent brokerage houses (Robin Hood for example), they started buying Gamestop stocks at the beginning of January at 17 USD to bring them to the USD 347 of these days.
The ants broke the Hedge Funds’ elephant as they were shorting, as mentioned, in quantities exceeding the capitalisation itself. For your knowledge, when you sell short you don’t have to guarantee all the overdraft but only about 20%: but if the overdraft that you have to guarantee goes from 17USD to 347USD, the leverage effect kills you: you have to cover your overdraft in a bloodbath of losses.
I quote the “Wall Street Bets” and some of the most pissed off ants:
“The Hedge Funds tried to perform beyond their hunger for money. The time has come for them to taste the flavour of their own medicines.“
“I make it a personal matter and so do millions of other investors. I would like to see you suffer until the end. “
“There was and still is a ruling class whose sole purpose is to keep power. They enlighten us by making us think that they care about what’s best for us. They are convinced that the 1% has more brains than the remaining 99%. Our war must inflict not equities but a real financial revolution.“
When it is anger that manages the field the most absurd situations can arise. The populace is pissed off because it has been whipped, set aside, segregated by a disproportionate well-being which a very small percentage of blessed by God enjoys. Furthermore they are now being thrown out by a virus that obviously causes many more deaths among the dispossessed.
The powers that be reacted in a brutal way, managing to suspend the trading of Gamestop shares on the Stock Exchange in several sessions (this never happens when the small investors are being slapped). At the time of writing, Gamestop’s stock market opening is expected to rise by 10% after rumors spread that Elon Musk (the richest “electric car man” in the world) has joined forces with the ants.
The stock market madnesses that I have illustrated to you are nothing more than the financial face of the other ongoing uprisings, may they be racial, social, political or religious.
Keynes wrote “it is better to fail in a conventional way than to succeed in an unusual way”.
Compared to when Keynes wrote this, the situation has dramatically worsened. I worked on the stock market with important positions until a few years ago and from the end of the 80s, before very timidly but gradually increasing, the markets have ceased to be the honest mirror of the economy they represent.
It is my job to make financial suggestions following the ant revolt. I think that the anger of the populace is not over. The discrepancies between the rich and the rest of the world are too enormous not to presume political intervention. Obviously I’ll take it back if Biden turns out to be just the long manus of the status quo powers.
For the moment, therefore, for the more traditional of my investors I recommend staying off the stock exchanges, for the more aggressive ones to take open positions on the smallest shares in the United States (Russell 2000 Index) or buy volatility indices given the follies described here above.
I am in favour of gold (10%) and real estate positions in the Right countries (Greece, London, Berlin).