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Have you ever wondered what’s in a name? Turns out, a lot. 

Recently, Bombay Oxygen experienced a sudden surge in its stock price due to the rise in oxygen demand? The exciting part is, the company has nothing to do with oxygen.

This was just one of the many instances when a company’s stock price was impacted due to events completely unrelated to its business.

Read on to find out more on 5 times when the share price was impacted for the wrong reasons.

Bombay Oxygen

India is in the grip of the second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, with oxygen in high demand. Investors have responded by looking for companies that provide these critical elements. As a result, Bombay Oxygen’s share price has risen astronomically in April 2021. From a closing price of Rs. 11,025 on 31 March 2021, it went up to Rs. 25,500 by 20 April 2021.

The only problem? Bombay Oxygen has nothing to do with oxygen manufacturing. It had scraped off its oxygen manufacturing business in 2019 and became a financial services company – Bombay Oxygen Investments Ltd. It used to manufacture the gas in the past, but no longer. Investors jumped on the stock because they saw ‘Oxygen’ in its name and that oxygen has become a high-priced critical commodity across the country.

Signal

Elon Musk can move markets with just a tweet, and a few such instances in 2020 and 2021 bear evidence. Let’s take one of those instances as an example. At around 6.30 PM on Thursday, 7 January 2021, Musk simply tweeted “Use Signal” to his almost 41m Twitter followers. 

This was around the time Whatsapp introduced a new privacy policy that was not well received by many people across the globe, and everyone was hunting for suitable alternatives.

After the tweet, the share price of Signal Advance (SIGL) climbed 527% over the next 2 days, from $0.6 to $7.19.

Found the glitch?

Signal Advance is a detection devices manufacturer with nothing to do with the Signal messaging app that Musk was tweeting in support of. 

The Signal Foundation, which runs and maintains the Signal app, is funded almost entirely by donations. Meanwhile, SIGL’s market cap went up to $660 million from $55 million in two days. After this wild ride, SIGL last closed at USD 1.65.

Zoom

In late March 2020, the SEC halted the trades of Zoom Technologies (ZOOM). The reason: Investors were confusing ZOOM with Zoom Video Communications (ZM), the video messaging/meeting app that was surging in popularity due to Covid 19 pandemic restrictions on meetings and gatherings.

Investors simply confused the stock tickers and ended up raising ZOOM’s stock price by around 1,800% during mid-March 2020. Once the confusion was resolved, ZM had become a darling of the market. 

Twitter

On 4 October 2013, Twitter’s much-anticipated IPO (selected symbol: TWTR) sent investors on a buying spree of TWTRQ shares, which went up more than 1000%. TWTRQ is the ticker of Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, a speciality electronics company that had declared bankruptcy in 2007 and was trading at less than a penny a share. The buying surge took TWTRQ up to 15 cents before settling at 5 cents, still a 669% rise. The Twitter IPO hadn’t happened yet (it happened a month later). 

Gamestop

One-time video game major Gamestop lost out to online gaming and streaming. After it was bought by an investment firm in 2020, its shares started to rise. However, hedge funds were betting on the share falling and took short positions against the stock, i.e., selling the stock at the current price, looking to buy it when the price goes down, making a profit.

Something else happened. Against all of the hedge funds’ sophisticated calculations, Gamestop stock started rising. This meant that all those sell positions would have to be covered by buying the stock at a higher price, leading to heavy losses in the hedge fund crowd.

What happened was that retail investors that were part of a Reddit group called WallStreetBets decided that hedge funds needed a lesson. They started buying the stock. Now the hedge funds had to cover their positions. Which meant they had to buy the stock at higher prices to cover their positions. On a single day, the stock rose 135%. At no point was any of this rise backed by any show of value or expectation of profit from the stock. In other words, this was price manipulation by the retail investors.

Key Takeaways

  • Always do your due diligence on the stocks you are looking to buy. Make sure you double-check the ticker of the stock you are looking to buy.
  • Herd mentality while buying stocks is rarely profitable. If you are even a little late to the herd, you end up paying for the opportunity. You will not reap enough of a gain and probably stay on too long and see the bottom fall out.
  • Celebrities and market ‘influencers’ have their own biases and motivations. Do not consider them infallible or downright honest all the time.
  • Stock market regulators are always on the lookout for suspicious trading activity. Make sure you are not engaging in illegal trades or trades based on insider information.

FAQs

  • Does confusion over stock ticker names result in unrelated or unwarranted price movements?

The stock exchange lists thousands and thousands of companies. In many cases, their tickers could be similar or similar sounding or downright confusing.

The classic example is Ford Motor (F) and Forward Industries (FORD), a consumer goods firm. The former has a market capitalisation of upwards of $35 billion, while the latter’s is $10 million. Any time there is market-moving Ford Motor news, FORD’s price surges. These surges are of significant volume, of about 5% of trades. This means it is not just confused retail investors who are driving the gains but also institutional ones.

  • Do stock prices go up simply because someone typed in the wrong ticker?

They do indeed. These are called “fat finger trades,” the wrong key being pressed on the keyboard. If someone keyed in FORD to purchase Ford Motor shares in the above example, they would end up with shares in Forward, Industries.

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