AMTD Digital traded under ticker HKD is valued at nearly $110 billion – USA TODAY

Clarification: An earlier version of this story suggested social media-driven trades may have been behind AMTD Digital and AMTD Idea Group’s stock price increases. Those trades may not have been a prevailing factor. 
Just how much is AMTD Digital stock, traded under the ticker symbol HKD, up since its July 15 IPO? The answer: over 14,000%.
Put differently, if you were able to get just one share of AMTD Digital at its $7.80 a share IPO price and sold it at Wednesday’s closing price of $1,110 you would’ve made $1,092. The stock closed 34% lower Wednesday after Tuesday’s 184% gain.
Shares of AMTD Digital’s parent company, AMTD Idea Group, a Chinese financial company traded under the ticker symbol AMTD, are up 458% over the past month. Shares closed down 11% on Wednesday after gaining a whopping 238% on Tuesday. It was the fourth most bought company on Fidelity on Wednesday and was the most bought company on Tuesday. It was also the seventh most sold company on Wednesday.
If you aren’t active on FinTwit, shorthand for financial Twitter where users tweet about investment moves they’re making, or Reddit’s famous Wallstreetbets forum, you may never have heard of AMTD.
Though, these groups may not have as big of an influence on AMTD’s stock price as they did with GameStop. 
AMTD Digital and its parent company weren’t the only stocks to experience enormous this week.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc., which is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol APDN, closed 46% higher to $4.10 a share on Wednesday and 311% higher on Tuesday.
The company announced that it initiated validation of its monkeypox virus polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test on Tuesday. If validated, it will submit its test for approval to the New York State Department of Health. 
A state of emergency was recently declared in New York as monkeypox cases soared to 1,400. There are only five approved commercial labs that test for monkeypox contributing to major time lags for results. So having another commercial lab test for monkeypox could be a game changer.
Monkeypox cases in each state: California, New York declare emergencies as outbreak grows
However, there weren’t any recent major news announcements that help explain why AMTD Digital and AMTD Idea share prices are exploding.
“To our knowledge, there are no material circumstances, events nor other matters relating to our Company’s business and operating activities since the IPO date,” AMTD Digital said in a Tuesday statement where it thanked investors for its “price performance.” 
HKD was the second most popular ticker mentioned across Wallstreetbets over the past 24 hours according to data from Quiver Quantitative, an alternative data provider that tracks activity in the Reddit group.
Some users posted memes about getting a bite of the stock’s action. One user said they bought AMDT Digital at $2,000 a share “hoping to double my money…instead I lost half.”
But several urged others to stay away from the two companies which are listed on the NYSE via American depositary receipts, or ADRs.
ADRs enable foreign-owned companies to IPO on U.S.-based stock exchanges, in some cases, without having to comply with all of the regulations the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission imposes on U.S.-owned publicly-traded companies.
Many Reddit users replied to the above meme and alleged that AMTD Digital’s performance is attributable to an insider trading scheme given that its parent company owns 97.1% of AMTD Digital’s outstanding shares, according to its IPO filing with the SEC.
The SEC declined to comment on whether it was aware of insider trading or if it plans to launch an investigation. The agency did not provide a reason for why it declined to comment.
Even though there’s no apparent reason for AMTD Digital and AMTD Idea’s enormous gains, they may not check all the boxes of meme stocks.
Meme stocks, born during the pandemic in 2020, are what you get when you combine social media and stock investing. 
People, largely stuck at home and bored with little to spend their stimulus checks on, decided to pass time and dabble in the surging stock market, especially since trading was free on platforms such as Robinhood. Many of these investors scoured social media – places like Twitter, Stocktwits, Facebook, and Reddit – for ideas on what to invest in.
Once there, they found a bevy of people just like themselves and a pot full of investment ideas. As they discussed them among themselves, certain ideas caught on. RoaringKitty (aka Keith Gill) touted GameStop shares on Reddit as well as in YouTube videos since 2019. During the pandemic, his musings garnered more and more attention from stuck-at-home retail investors and by 2021, a revolution in trading had begun. 
Interest in GameStop, considered the first meme stock, gathered momentum among individual, or “retail,” investors online. The stock was heavily sold short by hedge funds who were all but certain the stock would slide. Then, former Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen joined the board, which some thought could lead to a successful business turnaround. 
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A report published by the SEC in October 2021, however, did not find any underlying issues with the way markets functioned throughout the GameStop saga. Rather it highlighted the dangers of brokerage firms restricting individual trades even during heightened volatility.
After GameStop, emboldened retail traders looked for new investment opportunities and began to trade shares of AMC and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Those stocks saw similar rollercoaster trading as online investors employed the same playbook. They gathered online to plot their collective buying spree, which would cause an initial price surge. That price increase would call for Wall Street investors to have to buy stock to cover their short positions, which further bolstered the stock’s price and made the retail investors profit as hedge funds lost money. 
Slower times: Robinhood tumbles as growth in the summer slowed while trading calmed
Lessons learned: 3 things all investors can learn from meme stocks like GameStop, AMC and Dogecoin
This was a turning point in trading. Retail investors saw themselves as the little guys, beating back Wall Street suits and their algorithms. Wall Street was forced to take notice, and companies like VandaTrack started collecting data to analyze where the retail crowd was putting its money. 
Medora Lee and Elisabeth Buchwald are personal finance and market reporters at USA TODAY.
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