Many on Wall Street are baffled by the surge and have become more circumspect about how they read trends. “I’ve spent the last year, basically since March, trying to understand what’s happening, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly. I’m very good at what I do, but there are times I’m just like, I have no fucking clue what’s happening,” said one equity trader for a Manhattan firm. “We were calling it banana land, the guys I work with, because it’s just, like, crazy. And then we started calling it ayahuasca land because it’s not even bananas anymore, it’s a whole other level of insanity.”
Much of the trading coalesces around a few online forums where schemes like Dogecoin can start to look like social-media-driven pump-and-dump drives. It’s not just Dogecoin—day traders chatting on forums like the wallstreetbets subreddit have made a number of decisions that have perplexed traditional traders and sometimes caused inexplicable market trends, including piling into Hertz or J.C. Penney stocks after the companies declared bankruptcy. “I suspect WallStreetBets members thought they could resuscitate [Hertz] through ‘Meme Magic’ and Robinhood, but its [sic] a zombie corp,” posted one Redditor who stayed away from the stock.
The trader in Georgia lost money on some Hertz positions and told me he’s down a few hundred bucks over the last couple of months. Another Robinhood trader likely committed suicide because he didn’t understand what appeared to be a hefty negative balance in his account.How Pandemic Day Traders Are Turning Wall Street Upside Down | Vanity Fair