US judiciary scrutinizes GameStop dispute

US judiciary scrutinizes GameStop dispute
After the trade restrictions were eased somewhat, the papers of Gamestop closed with 68 percent in the plus.(Photo: REUTERS)

GameStop shares:

After online brokers temporarily restrict trading in Gamestop shares, the outrage is great – not only among small investors. The attorney general in Texas now wants to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, the Robinhood trading platform faces a class-action lawsuit.

The first judicial authorities have intervened in the dispute over the speculation in shares of the video game retailer Gamestop and other companies on the US stock exchange. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Friday (local time) that he had requested information from Robinhood and a number of other online brokers to find out whether everything was right with the restrictions on trading in shares from Gamestop and a few other companies .

Apparently, there are agreements between hedge funds and trading platforms and web servers to ward off threats to their market dominance. Wall Street companies should not restrict public access to the free market for their own benefit, the prosecutor said. “It stinks of corruption.”

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In the conflict, there are hedge funds that bet on the decline of shares in troubled companies and hobby investors, some of whom are organized in online forums, who drive prices up with concerted purchases. Due to the trading restrictions of brokers like Robinhood, the small investors, who had the upper hand in the battle of strength, see themselves thwarted on their profit path. Some hedge funds have suffered extremely heavy losses from their bets, so there is a suspicion that the trading platforms have their backs covered. Robinhood and Co deny this, but the outrage is not only great among the investor community, but also in politics. New York Attorney General Letitia James also wants to investigate.

Meanwhile, the capricious prices of the stocks concerned continued lively on the stock exchange. After the trade restrictions from the previous day were at least slightly relaxed, the papers of Gamestop closed with 68 percent plus, those of the cinema chain AMC, which is also the focus of speculation, increased by 54 percent. But investors are so frustrated with Robinhood that by Friday afternoon (local time), 26,000 of them had already joined a class action lawsuit via a special app.

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission had reaffirmed before the start of trading that it would investigate the events surrounding the GameStop hype. The SEC promised to protect retail investors if the facts point to manipulative trading activities. The supervisory authority will ensure “fair, orderly, and efficient markets”. In view of the great excitement, the authority set up an extra online form and also asked affected investors to contact the SEC by email or telephone hotline. According to the financial network CNBC, 4,000 complaints had already been received on Friday afternoon.