AMC shares chop around but set for massive weekly advance

FILE PHOTO: An AMC theatre is pictured amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) -Shares of AMC Entertainment switched between gains and losses after hitting a record high in volatile trading on Friday, putting the movie theater chain on track for a weekly gain of more than 100%.

AMC's shares were last up 5.4% at $27.94 after earlier hitting a high of $36.72, and on track for their biggest weekly gains since late January. The stock's low for the session so far was $24.17.

Shares in GameStop were down 7.1% on Friday. Shares of the videogame retailer, which has been at the heart of the so-called "stonks" retail trading mania this year, were still set for its best weekly gain since mid-March, up about 40% so far.

Retail traders' shift into so-called meme stocks - shares favored by the denizens of online communities - comes on the back of a selloff in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies whose prices have slumped in recent weeks.

AMC saw some $127 million in inflows from retail investors on Thursday, according to Vanda Research. AMC rose 35.5% in that session, adding more than $3.3 billion to its market value, according to data from Refinitiv.

Data shows the cinema operator AMC has been the most traded stock on brokerage Robinhood's popular trading app, as well as on that of UK-based Freetrade, where buy orders have outnumbered sell orders two-to-one.

Investors shorting meme stocks GameStop, AMC and private spaceship company Virgin Galactic are estimated to have lost $2.8 billion so far this week, data from financial analytics firm Ortex shows. They lost $1 billion on Thursday alone.

On trading-focused social media site Stocktwits (ST), message volume related to AMC spiked by nearly 40%, with more than 97% of messages reflecting positive sentiment towards the stock.

"AMC - why sell now when u can sell later for much more, ya (k)now?," user lilant135 wrote, while fellow retail trader BossNoHugo chimed in, "imagine selling because a stranger on ST told u to do so."

(Additional reporting by Sinéad Carew in New York, Sujata Rao in London; Writing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

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