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Newest meme stock darling Clover Health is popping. Is the SEC watching?

If new Securities and Exchange Commissioner Gary Gensler wants to get a feel for meme stocks, he might want to pay attention to one in particular at Tuesday’s opening bell on Wall Street.

Clover Health
CLOV,
+68.46%

is poised for a monster open on Tuesday after soaring more than 32% on Monday, cementing its status as the latest meme stock birthed by the thoroughly modern market combination of social media popularity and a high level of interest from short sellers. This amounts to an investment thesis for the viral stocks that have fueled a niche market rally in 2021, one that Gensler made clear on Monday he wants to keep an eye in case there are “any disruptions of the market, manipulative trading, or other misconduct.”

While Clover wasn’t the only meme stock to take off on Monday –the so-called BANG stocks: BlackBerry
BB,
+5.61%
,
AMC Entertainment
AMC,
+6.64%
,
Nokia
NOK,
+1.16%

and GameStop
GME,
+17.76%

all had a big day– it was well ahead of the pack not just in the valuation of its shares but in the other two key metrics for any meme.

According to data from HypeEquity, which tracks social media sentiment on individual equities, the volume of social media users commenting on Clover was up by more 2,000% at one point on Monday, showing what amounts to a very strong flame for any meme stock. 

On the other side of the equation was the oxygen that retail investors often need to pump what they see as an undervalued stock — short interest. Premarket data from Fintel early Tuesday showed that the health care startup is under serious pressure from short sellers, with a short volume ratio of almost 32%, making it the 36th most shorted stock of the 7,300 companies covered by Fintel.

As GameStop proved in January and AMC proved again just last week, the confluence of social media mania and short seller thirst are the prime drivers of memes, even if many of the retail investors plowing into what were essentially penny stocks are doing so in some cases on what they see as a long-term value investment thesis.

But the technical aspect of targeting cheap stocks with high short interest for a broad and coordinated attack on social media remains a very popular strategy for those inside the trade.

“If AMC can go from 9 to 70 with 20 percent [short interest] , we can go to $100 and beyond EASILY,” posted user BoredBillionaire.

On other corners of social media, Clover was already being anointed with a very telling nickname: GME2.0.

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