The GameStop frenzy on Wall Street has investors, and much of the internet, enraptured — not unlike a good horror movie. Everyone knows doom is just around the corner for some key players; a lucky few will emerge stronger; and the monster might be subdued but will ultimately come back for a sequel.
Who's the monster and who's the hero, in this case, depends entirely on your perspective.
On one side you have a band of mostly young day traders who coordinate on Reddit to drive up the share price of struggling companies, including GameStop, but also BlackBerry, Macy's and AMC. At least one Reddit user posted that he'd paid off thousands of dollars in student loans with his GameStop gains.
On the other you have hedge funds and short-sellers — those who've placed bets that a company's stock will crash. These are Wall Street elite, the sort of investors millions of people rely on to make the smart decisions that boost their portfolios. But they're detested by many Millennials and Gen Zers for creating a house-of-cards financial system that led to the 2008 crisis.
We're now, potentially, at the climax of this movie: GameStop is up more than 1,700% since the start of January. Some trading platforms, including TD Ameritrade and Robinhood, are restricting trades on AMC and GameStop. The SEC and the White House on Wednesday both said they were monitoring the situation.
Here's the background you need to know.