We have to face facts. Whether we like them or not, the gang at Reddit's "Wall Street Bets" is moving stocks left and right.
They can take a small-capitalization stock and make it a big-cap stock. They can select a household name that's failing and make it succeed. And they can create a retail colossus out of nowhere and maybe even nothing.
Normally, I wouldn't address this obscure group of people who participate in this site. They are too scatological and so many of them attack me in Twitter in such vile fashion that it's hard to read my mentions column. They dominate it, causing me to either ignore it or block so many people that it isn't worth my time anymore.
But I can't ignore them, because I care about what moves stocks, always have. And this gang, allegedly 10 million "degenerates" strong -- their characterization, not mine -- is exceptional at moving stocks. In fact, they are the best and most powerful mob I have ever seen. They are the ones that took the stock of GameStop (GME) from the teens to $400. They are the ones that have boosted AMC Entertainment (AMC) from the low single-digits to the low double digits.
And, now they are operating on the stock of Microvision (MVIS) , a once very small-cap company, $90 million in market cap, two years ago, and they have turned it into a $3.5 billion behemoth.
Why Microvision, a money-losing laser company that specializes in LIDAR? Why did they push this one up? Simple, because it has what (AMC) and (GME) had: The possibility of greatness coupled with a gigantic short position.
Now, I don't mind that they went after Microvision. I like the possibilities of what can happen here. Last night on "Mad Money," I got a call on the company and I know that, from Tesla (TSLA) and Ford (F) that if you can come up with a breakthrough LIDAR product, you can solve the problem of self-driving cars, you can create genuine collision avoidance. That's why I want them on the show. I want all of the LIDAR companies on the show, because, as Elon Musk said on Tesla's conference call last night, perfect LIDAR is the key to true collision avoidance.
Now, Microvision, you could argue, is a little nothing company out of Seattle that's never made any money and has had severe financial problems. But if you have a possible game-changing LIDAR system, as Microvision very much might have, you can attract plenty of adherents both, long and short, and, if you gang up on the shorts and get the rabble ruled up, you can take a company from $90 million to a $3.5 billion company lickety-split, especially because the company said on March 11 that it is remaining, and I quote, "committed to exploring strategic alternatives, including potential sale of the company in part or whole."
Now here' s where it gets interesting. By targeting the stock of Microvision, what the Wall Street Bets group is really doing is going after the short-sellers, who currently represent 20% of the float. I think the main reason this stock has gotten to where it is, from $5 to $21, although it traded as high as $26 today before collapsing, is the attempt by the Reddit crowd to break the short-sellers, who want Microvision lower.
So far, despite the decline of five points today on more than 100 million shares-there are only 150 million available to trade-the WSB crowd is winning.
Now Microvision reports on Thursday, and the hope for many of the longs is that they will announce the sale of the company in whole or in part. The shorts? They think it is all hokum.
But one thing is certain, because of the stock's inflation the company is able, in an at-the-money-stock sale, to stay alive and possibly even thrive on the back of any positive announcement.
Now, do I know if Microvision has something special? The longs better hope they do. Maybe, though, like GameStop, which managed to sell $500 million worth of stock, because the WSB crowd has moved the stock to the high $100s, and like AMC, which was able to sell enough stock to live through the pandemic, Microvison can use the elevation to sell enough stock that it can produce the dream LIDAR system.
And here's the crux of the situation. The stock market exists to raise capital. By elevating stocks like that of Microvision on the backs of the shorts, they are creating a self-fulfilling situation. They keep it alive until something good does happen.
Do I like this method of investing? If it is done legally, yes. It is amazingly successful. It has kept AMC alive and allowed Gamestop the capital to reinvent itself. It can make Microvision a profitable company all by itself.
But I don't like the vicious way they attack people, including me. They don't like this process pointed out. I don't care. I just want you to know what you might be buying, which is often a lot more than what they know.