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It's the billion-dollar question right now: After this month's historic short "Super Squeeze," everyone wants to know... Where's the next one?
Well, I don't think we've seen the last of it. I think, in a lot of ways, GameStop was really just the proof of concept. Retail investors have tried it, seen that it worked insanely well, and now know they can come together and...
- Beat hedge funds and institutions.
- Make boatloads of cash doing it.
So it's a pretty safe bet we'll see something like this happen again... and again.
In fact, it's already happening again. If you're into or own precious metals, you may have already heard.
These kinds of trades can be fantastic if you've got the right stock, but there's a big problem with the Redditors' target here...
A New Era for the Markets
Let's be real: GameStop Corp. (NASDAQ: GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC)? Those ships have sailed - the easy money is over and done with there. Intraday, GME is more than 87% off its recent highs, and AMC is off nearly 64% as I write this.
At the moment, the Redditors are targeting the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) which, as the name says, tracks the price of silver. It's actually the biggest exchange-traded product that tracks it.
According to The Washington Post, it's not completely clear, but on Jan. 27, "comments began appearing on [WallStreetBets] saying that banks had been keeping prices artificially low and urging users to buy into SLV."
Whatever the Reddit post really said, silver went ballistic, hitting an eight-year high, which in turn led to SLV's best-ever daily inflows.
SECRET'S OUT: The "Super Squeeze" means the average American could fight back against Wall Street. Details...
Now, because SLV is backed up by actual, physical bullion in New York and London (when you buy shares of SLV, management has to up and go and buy bars of silver on the market), there was a huge demand spike, and actual shortages popped up here and there. Some coin and bullion sellers had to temporarily suspend operations because they just couldn't get enough of the stuff.
That's eased a little, but demand is still outpacing ready supply - it could potentially be a rough weekend if you had plans to go and put your hands on real silver.
Here's the big problem with the Redditors' strategy. There could be a misunderstanding, genuine or not, of how SLV actually works.
An ETF like SLV is much, much harder to short than a publicly traded company like GameStop, and it's much harder to force the kind of "Super Squeezes" that can be really profitable.
SLV is different. It's possible to exchange a share of SLV for the equivalent amount of silver, and vice versa. As The Washington Post reports, SLV management is allowed around 1,100 ounces' worth of wiggle room, but that's it - that's how much silver they can leave un-allocated in case of unforeseen events or some delivery problem.
The mechanics of it are complicated, but it's really easy for SLV management to just issue new shares; if they can buy silver, they can - and will - issue new shares until the end of time.
Obviously, companies can't and won't do that. GameStop had a particularly small float for its market cap, around 69 million shares.
With SLV, short-sellers looking to cover their positions could work with authorized participants to create more shares of SLV, rather than bidding up existing shares. You just wouldn't get the wild buying binge that defined the GameStop "Super Squeeze."
Then there's internal politics. The subreddit is divided on whether to even keep buying silver. Turns out, Citadel Advisors LLC - one of the hedge fund "enemies" WallStreetBets was clobbering just last week - has a big long silver position; they'd basically just be putting piles of cash in Citadel's account.
So, unless the Reddit investors are able to corner the entire silver market, a short squeeze on SLV likely won't work, at least not as well as GameStop did.
And, like I said, now that it's been proven to work, it's just a matter of time - maybe even days. This is probably the hottest new trend on the market.
Now that we are in a new day, hedge fund and institutional honchos are going to be much more cautious about telegraphing their short positions. Tracking where the big money is betting will be key to knowing which squeezes are doomed, like SLV...
... and which have the potential to turn into "Super Squeeze"-style situations.
The next one is out there.
Now, if you've been with me for a while, you've heard of my proprietary S.C.A.N. algorithm - maybe you've even gotten a research recommendation. It's what helped me give my subscribers a crack at dozens of double- and triple-digit winners over the course of 2020. Well, I've tweaked and fine-tuned S.C.A.N to help me bull's-eye the two biggest predictors of a "Super Squeeze" trade that can have the same "DNA" as GameStop. You can check out my research right here.
About the Author
Andrew Keene is a globally known trader and a renowned expert on all things options.