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IG restricts trading of GameStop and AMC shares

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IG Group Holdings PLC (LON:IGG) has started to restrict new spread-bets and other trades in GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) due to “extreme volatility” sparked by Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum.

The FTSE 250-listed online broker said over the weekend that it was not allowing any new positioned to be opened in either of the US stocks.

READ: Gamestop, YOLO trades and wallstreetbets: How trading and trolling wreaked havoc on Wall Street

It said this was “due to extreme volatility, and to prioritise the service we give our existing clients” but would review the restrictions regularly.

Last week a number of retail trading platforms, including US-based Robinhood, said they would prevent users from purchasing shares in GameStop before a backlash led to some of them lifting their ban.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Robinhood for restricting trading of the shares, accuses the commission-free app of “purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removing the stock from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise thereby deprived retail investors of the ability to invest in the open-market and manipulating the open-market”.

Regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are taking a closer look at the frenzy and issues surrounding it. The SEC said last week that it is “actively monitoring the on-going market volatility in the options and equities markets” and that it is also working with other regulators “to assess the situation and review the activities of regulated entities, financial intermediaries, and other market participants”.

The original trading frenzy in GameStop was led by traders convening on the Reddit community r/wallstreetbets to ‘squeeze’ short positions taken out by hedge funds against the US games retailer.

It has seemingly spread to stocks in other firms that have recently been the subject of heavy short selling including AMC, Blackberry and Nokia as more retail traders look to bleed Wall Streets hedge funds of more cash, with a recent spike in silver also put down to the WSB crew. 

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