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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What are meme stocks and how do you trade or invest in them?

The term ‘meme stocks’ jumped into the headlines after the GameStop gamma squeeze. But what are meme stocks, and can you trade them? Find out here.

Trader Source: Bloomberg

What are meme stocks?

Meme stocks are company stocks that experience rapid and often unexpected share price growth due to the attention of a dedicated online following. One of the most popular examples is GameStop.

These stocks’ movements typically defy conventional market predictions and can maintain elevated prices regardless of the company’s market cap.

There are no official meme stocks criteria yet, but they’re usually pushed by online communities, who gather on forums like Reddit and other social media platforms. Through coordinated buying and selling, they’re able to influence share prices.

Meme stock traders and investors typically don’t have a professional background or know how to conduct financial analysis. Their motivation behind rallying around a meme stock is usually to make big profits from unprecedented price movements.

How did meme stocks start?

The first meme stock to become extremely popular was GameStop, which took off in 2021. Two big hedge funds and numerous investors started shorting the online video game retailer in 2020 after rumours of upcoming bad results.

A Reddit user posted a video in August that year detailing GameStop’s plans to revamp its business model, as well as the significant way the company was being shorted.

Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets rallied around the company – calling for aggressive option buying of its shares. This dramatically increased the price of the stock and short squeezed the hedge fund traders. Some hedge funds suffered significant financial losses, while some retail traders and investors made millions.

Other significant meme stocks include AMC Entertainment, Blackberry and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Meme stocks came roaring back into fashion in May 2024, when Keith Gill, the analyst known as 'Roaring Kitty', resurfaced on social media.

Social media's impact on stock prices

Social media’s effect on financial markets are increasingly undeniable and powerful. The attention of an online community like Reddit can either make stock prices soar or cause them to plummet when traders start shorting them.

Other social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook also exert their own influence on stocks. In 2019, for instance, electric car company Tesla saw its share price rise by 7% after chief executive officer (CEO) billionaire Elon Musk published a Tweet about securing funding to take the company private at $420 per share.

With Facebook, traders and investors sometimes use Facebook’s sentiment metric – called the Gross National Happiness Index – to predict the returns of different stock markets across the world for the next day.

In terms of research and performing due diligence, investors increasingly use LinkedIn to mine information. Video streaming service YouTube has become a hotbed for content creators to share tips, information, analysis, and trading tutorials.

Discover social media stocks

Key meme stock terms

Meme stock communities are distinguished by terms they came up with or use regularly. Here are a few key meme stock terms and their definitions:

  • ATH: an acronym for ’all time high,’ usually used for cryptocurrencies. It refers to the highest price any given asset has ever reached on the open market
  • Diamond hands: holding on to an asset or stock despite any volatility or risks around it. Someone with diamond hands typically resists selling their shares when prices fall or rise
  • Paper hands: the opposite to diamond hands – someone with paper hands panics and sells their shares at any signs of a dip or rise in prices. They typically take losses because they fold easily
  • FOMO: an acronym for ‘fear of missing out’. This refers to individuals purchasing stocks because they see others doing it, and fear that they’ll miss out on an opportunity to make money
  • Tendies: short for ’chicken tenders‘, a shorthand way of talking about gains, profits or money made on the stock market
  • To the moon: a stock with a rapidly rising share price, seemingly with no limits, is said to be going ‘to the moon’
  • Bag holding: when someone holds onto shares that’ve fallen in value and keeps falling, thinking it’ll recover, when they likely won’t. Eventually they’re left holding shares of worthless stocks

Are meme stocks a good investment?

Meme stocks can be a good investment if you buy and sell at the right time. They’re also quite popular among traders, who will take long or short positions depending on the direction of the share price.

As they’re driven by internet virality, meme stocks typically undergo some common cycles:

  • In the early adopter phase, traders and investors who think a stock is undervalued or over-shorted start buying
  • Next is the early interest phase, where those who pay attention to finance media start noticing a movement in the share price of the stock and buy in
  • After that, the massive buying or selling phase. This is when the stock has gained significant attention from the public and they get involved as to not to miss out
  • Finally, the stock may experience ‘flash selling’, where early investors sell off their stock or traders close their positions, and the share price falls

These cycles can happen as quickly as over a few days, so timing the market is crucial here. Before you open any position, you should understand how to manage your risk. Our risk management guide provides valuable information.

See some of the meme stocks to watch

How to trade or invest in meme stocks

With us, you can trade or invest in meme stocks. Trading involves speculating on share price movements using leveraged products like spread bets and CFDs – without taking direct ownership. Investing is a longer-term approach whereby you take direct ownership of a company’s shares via share dealing.

Here’s how to trade or invest in meme stocks with us:

  1. Choose how to get exposure to meme stocks: trading or investing
  2. Create an account or log in
  3. Pick the stock you want to take a position on
  4. Set your position size and manage your risk
  5. Open and monitor your position

If you’d like to trade meme stocks, we offer spread betting and CFD trading on over 17,000 markets. Both are leveraged derivatives that enable you to go long or short on meme stocks without owning any shares outright.

Because they’re leveraged, you can open a position using margin. This will amplify both profits and losses – so manage your risk carefully.

If you prefer investing, you might want to opt for our share dealing account. Once opened and funded, you can invest in over 13,000 markets, including shares, ETFs and investment trusts.

Meme stocks to watch

Here are some of the most popular meme stocks in recent times:

AMC Entertainment

AMC is a US cinema chain listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the largest movie theatre company in the world. It became a meme stock in 2021 when Reddit users pushed its share price up by more than 120% to short-sell professional hedge funds and big institutional firms.

AMC once again saw big moves in May 2024 after the return of the 'Roaring Kitty'.

Trade AMC Entertainment


Blackberry is a Canadian company known for creating interactive pagers, smartphones and tablets. More recently, it expanded into cybersecurity. Reddit-driven buy-ins turned BlackBerry into a meme stock in 2021.

Trade Blackberry

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond is a US chain of domestic merchandise retail stores counted among the Fortune 500. It became a meme stock mid-August 2022, after its value surged from users on Reddit discussing the stock more frequently.

Trade Bed Bath & Beyond


Tesla’s the world’s dominant electric vehicle company, owned by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, who’s also a frequent social media user. As a result, Tesla has always had a great deal of online attention. It became a meme stock in 2021 when its share price rose after Musk tweeted about it going private.

Trade Tesla

Share dealing meme stocks

Share dealing is buying and selling shares with the intention of making a profit. If you want to own shares outright, receive possible dividend payments and get company voting rights, you can open a share dealing account with us. Here’s how to invest in meme stocks:

  1. Create or log in to your share dealing account
  2. Choose the meme stock you want to take a position on
  3. Set your position size and manage your risk
  4. Buy your shares

Spread betting on meme stocks

When spread betting, you can speculate on whether the price of meme stocks’ shares will rise or fall without taking ownership of the assets. You’ll bet an amount per point of movement in the underlying market, and your profit or loss will depend on the outcome of the trade. Here’s how to spread bet on meme stocks:

  1. Create or log in to your spread betting account
  2. Choose the meme stock you want to trade on
  3. Set your position size and manage your risk
  4. Open your position

CFD trading meme stocks

With CFD trading, you exchange the difference in the price of an asset between the point at which you open and close your trade. As with spread betting, you don’t own any shares outright, so you can go long or short. Here’s how to open a CFD trade on meme stocks:

  1. Create or log in to your CFD trading account
  2. Choose the meme stock you want to trade on
  3. Set your position size and manage your risk
  4. Open your position

Meme stocks summed up

  • Meme stocks are characterised by rapid and often unexpected share price growth due to the attention of a dedicated online following
  • Social media’s effect on the financial markets is undeniable – with Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and others influencing traders and investors
  • Some of the most popular meme stocks include GameStop, AMC Entertainment, Blackberry, Bed Bath & Beyond and Tesla
  • You can trade and invest in meme stocks with us via spread betting, CFD trading and share dealing

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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