Roaring Kitty may have cut GameStop options position, strategists say

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays GameStop stock trading information on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 3, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A surge of trading in some short-dated GameStop options contracts on Wednesday suggested to some market participants that Keith Gill, the stock influencer known as Roaring Kitty, may have sold some of his recently-disclosed options position in the company.

Gill, who helped launch the meme-stock phenomenon in 2021, recently disclosed a sizeable GameStop stock and options position in a screen shot posted on Reddit on June 2. The screen shot showed he held 120,000 GameStop June 21 call options at a strike price of $20, bought at $5.6754 per contract or $68.1 million in all. The screen shot also showed he owned 5 million GameStop shares worth $115.7 million on June 2.

On Wednesday, some 93,000 of the June call options changed hands, some of it in large chunks of 5,000 contracts or more.

Reuters was unable to independently verify whether the contracts were sold or whether Gill was behind the trades.

Taking into account the volume of trading on Wednesday, the contracts changed hands at an average price of $7.65, according to Trade Alert data. Many of the trades took place below the bid price, indicating that a seller may have been trying to offload the contracts, Trade Alert data showed.

"(It) looks like he is closing the position," said Chris Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy at Susquehanna International Group.

"While he did not finish closing he probably has enough cash now to exercise the rest if he wanted to," Murphy said.

Overall, GameStop options volume jumped to 1.2 million contracts on Wednesday, 66% higher than the average daily volume for the stock's options over the last month, according to Trade Alert data.

Gill's options position has seen big gyrations in recent sessions with the value of the options position jumping as high as $341 million before briefly going $7.5 million in the red on Tuesday.

Options market participants have been watching the position closely since Gill disclosed them.

"We won't know for sure until we see the open interest figures tomorrow morning, but I can't imagine who else would pound out such huge sales at discounts," said Steve Sosnick, Interactive Brokers' chief strategist.

Based on their closing price of $6.40 a contract, Gill's 120,000 contracts would have finished the session valued at $76.8 million, up some $8.7 million from when he bought them, according to Reuters calculations.

GameStop shares finished the session down 16.5% at $25.46. The shares are up 45% for the year.

(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Rod Nickel)

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