After investors caused havoc on the markets last week in a battle over the shares of a video-game chain, we explore the promise and pitfalls of the apps they used
A year ago shares in struggling US video game store GameStop were worth just $3.25 a pop, yet at the end of last month they had reached $482. This stupendous surge was created by thousands of armchair traders, organising themselves on internet forums such as Reddit, who were attempting to outwit hedge funds who had placed massive bets on the chain’s decline in a process known as short-selling.
This has resulted in billion-dollar losses for some hedge funds, and big profits for traders who cashed out before the stock fell back to less than $100. Many of these speculators were using a new generation of share-trading apps, such as eToro, Robinhood and Trading 212. Have these services tipped the scales of financial power in favour of the little guy? Here we answer some key questions …
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