Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond surged 60% to a near five-month high in volatile trading on Tuesday, as retail investors continued to drive up the highly shorted stock’s price.
The stock rocketed higher as investors raced to cover their short positions. The so-called short squeeze occurs when a surge in price of an asset forces bearish investors to buy back shares at a higher price to limit losses, in turn driving demand and pushing the price even higher.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) has 50.7% of its public free float in short position. The rapid rise in the stock price triggered a short squeeze signal, according to analytics firm Ortex.
The home furnishing company’s shares were the most traded on brokerage Fidelity’s platform, indicating interest from individual investors.
The stock rose as much as 78.8% to $28.60 during the session and trading was halted multiple times for volatility. About 189 million shares changed hands by midday, more than six times the firm’s 30-day moving average volume.
The stock is up 440% so far this month in a rally that evocative of eye-watering gains in shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment early last year that hurt hedge funds that had bet against the stock.
Bed Bath & Beyond opened lower after B. Riley downgraded the stock to “sell”, saying the shares are trading at “unrealistic valuations.”
Another highly shorted stock, meal-kit delivery firm Blue Apron (APRN), jumped nearly 20% to $5.50.