Americans Can’t Get Enough of Stock Market…“Meme Stocks” Are Back in the Spotlight Again

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Americans are all in on the stock market.

Individual investors are holding more stocks than ever before as major indexes climb to fresh highs. They are also upping the ante by borrowing to magnify their bets or increasingly buying on small dips in the market.

Stockholdings among U.S. households increased to 41% of their total financial assets in April, the highest level on record. That is according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Federal Reserve data going back to 1952 that includes 401(k) retirement accounts. JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, who analyzed the data, attributes the elevated allocations to appreciating share prices alongside stock purchases.

The enthusiasm for stocks comes as market volatility has been edging lower and the S&P 500 has hit 25 records this year, fueled by a stellar earnings season and the prospect of an economic recovery that is speedier than many predicted. Meanwhile, stimulus checks have fueled a record rise in household incomes, boosting spending and helping propel the recovery….

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Recent volatility in a handful of so-called meme stocks is putting the spotlight back on the tussle between individual investors and short sellers, months after a wild ride in GameStop (GME.N) captivated Wall Street’s attention.

Stocks that have notched big swings this month include laser-manufacturer MicroVision Inc (MVIS.O), a favorite on Reddit’s popular WallStreetBets forum, whose shares have risen as much as 170% since April 20 before tumbling in recent days.

Biopharmaceutical company Ocugen Inc (OCGN.O) is up about 110% since April 20 while online video game platform Skillz (SKLZ.N), which has been added to the portfolio of Cathie Wood’s ARK funds, is up about 45%.

Those moves do not approach the stunning, nearly 1,700% gain in video game retailer GameStop Corp in January, which was fueled in part by a flurry of buying that forced hedge funds like Melvin Capital to unwind their bets against the stock, sending it higher. Shares of the video game retailer and many other meme stocks that rallied in its wake are well off their highs, and retail trading has dropped from levels seen earlier in the year….

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Fed’s Powell Gambles Bet Inflation Will Be Mild

Kent International CEO Arnold Kamler and MGA Entertainment CEO discuss inflation’s effect on material costs on ‘The Claman Countdown.’ With employers hiring, consumers spending and companies raising some prices, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is embarking on a high-stakes gamble. Powell’s bet is that the Fed can keep rates ultra-low even as the U.S. economic recovery kicks into high gear — and that it won’t have to quickly raise rates to stop runaway inflation.It’s just the kind of gamble that in the past led some of Powell’s predecessors to miscalculate and inadvertently derail the economy.Powell and the …


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