Kevin O’Leary hails GameStop insanity as a “actual” lesson regardless of the chance
Kevin O’Leary on Friday defended the right of retail investors to continue trading shares in GameStop, AMC Entertainment, and other stocks that have been hyped online.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the co-founder of O’Shares ETFs said investors can speculate freely, regardless of whether they are losing their own money or whether hedge funds and other short sellers are slammed.
“They’re learning about the risks of the market … we forgot to teach them in high school, so let them learn in the real world what’s even better,” said O’Leary, a businessman and investor at “. Shark tank.” “I think what’s going on is fantastic. Leave it alone. It’s a great thing that is happening here.”
The Reddit-sparked frenzy at GameStop and other stocks that has consumed Wall Street for the past few days is delivering lessons for people on both sides of the trade, according to O’Leary. He’s hoping hedge funds and anyone shorting stocks will think twice about it, knowing they could be prone to an epic squeeze like the one with GameStop. The competitive video game retailer’s shares rose to $ 483 apiece this month. Around 6 US dollars were still being traded in September.
“You are now running a new risk: these effective social media vigilantes will be after you and squeeze you as a short film,” said O’Leary, a hint on the popular Reddit forum WallStreetBets. “This will get a lot of hedge funds thinking a second time before trying to buy short stocks, which I think is great.”
Short selling is a strategy in which an investor sells borrowed stocks in the hopes of buying them back at a lower price in the future. You return the number of shares borrowed and pocket the price difference if the stock actually falls. If the opposite is the case, a short seller can try to limit his potential losses by buying the stock at the current higher prices.
Perhaps more importantly, O’Leary said, the virality of GameStop trading – aided in part by zero-commission brokerage apps like Robinhood – has sparked interest in investing that otherwise might not have been there.
Some critics of the recent move have argued that better protection needs to be in place to prevent inexperienced investors from being burned if the stock price collapses. O’Leary acknowledged that newcomers to the market who join the speculative party may lose money, but said, “Every investor loses money.”
“The bottom line is if you put money in the market at risk. You always will,” O’Leary said. “The definition of the market is speculation. When you buy a stock and stay long, you are speculating on the gains that you hope will finally come and you are taking that risk,” he added.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to Shark Tank, which is co-hosted by Kevin O’Leary.