AMTD Digital traded under ticker HKD is valued at nearly $140 billion – USA TODAY

Just how much is AMTD Digital stock, traded under the ticker symbol HKD, up since its July 15 IPO? The answer: 21,426%.
Put differently, if you bought just one share of AMTD Digital at its $7.80 a share IPO price and sold it at Tuesday’s closing price, up 184% for the day, you would’ve made $1,671. 
Shares of AMTD Digital’s parent company, AMTD Idea Group, a Chinese financial company traded under the ticker symbol AMTD, are up 525% over the past month and closed a whopping 238% higher on Tuesday. It was the most bought company on Fidelity on Tuesday.
But chances are 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’ve probably never heard of them.
In which case, welcome back to meme stock mania. 
AMTD Digital and its parent company weren’t the only stocks to experience enormous gains on Tuesday.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc, which is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol APDN, closed 311% higher on Tuesday. The company announced that it initiated validation of its monkeypox virus polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., test. 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. Currently, 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 gamechanger, hence the stock surged on Tuesday.
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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.” 
Hence they fit the meme stock definition.
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 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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That narrative led investors to band together to buy GameStop shares, which quickly sent prices higher. Some hedge funds scrambled to buy shares to cover their earlier sales (called short-covering) which sent stock prices even higher.
Online investors doubled down on their bets, and trading became extremely volatile with wide swings from hour to hour. Some trading platforms, like Robinhood and Schwab, limited GameStop trades, which depressed the stock’s price. 
A report published by the Securities and Exchange Commission in October 2021, however, did not find any underlying issues with the way markets functioned throughout the GameStop saga.
“People may disagree about the prospects of GameStop and the other meme stocks, but those disagreements are what should lead to price discovery rather than disruptions,” the report stated. 
After GameStop, emboldened retail traders looked for new investment opportunities and began to trade shares 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 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, and a revolution was born. Wall Street was forced to take notice, and companies like VandaTrack started collecting data to analyze where the retail crowd was putting their money. 
Medora Lee and Elisabeth Buchwald are personal finance and market reporters at USA TODAY.
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