SC, Bursa advise investors to be cautious of social media influence after Gamestop frenzy

Institution : Securities Commission Malaysia - SC, Bursa Malaysia
29 January, 2021      267



KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bursa Malaysia said they are closely monitoring the local stock market in light of the current price surge of selected stocks in the US markets, which was fuelled by social media chatrooms against short-sellers.

This follows market rumours in Malaysia of retail investors looking to buy shares of medical glove makers in an attempt to drive up their prices and counter the short sellers who tend to drive the prices down.

Shares of glove makers such as Top Glove Corp Bhd and Hartalega Holdings Bhd did jump this morning.

US markets have been buzzing after shares of video game company GameStop Corp surged 1,700% in just two weeks, as the Main Street investors piled in and forced hedge funds like Melvin Capital Management to lose billions on their short positions.

These small investors discussed stocks on the "wallstreetbets" forum on Reddit anonymously, and have fuelled the GameStop rally.

In Malaysia, ‘bursabets’ is the new subreddit group on social news aggregator site Reddit, created by local Malaysian retail investors to discuss buying up stocks of glove makers.

Their issue is that the share prices of glove companies have dropped in recent months, despite the increasing profits reported by these firms, noted the Minority Shareholders Watch Group (MSWG).

In a joint statement today, the SC and Bursa Malaysia advised Malaysian investors to be cautious of social media chatrooms that try to influence investors to buy or sell certain stocks based on speculation or rumours.

Investors should also be wary of discussions in these social media chatrooms that may trigger securities breaches such as the provision of investment advice or stock recommendations without a licence, they said.

“Any person found guilty, may be liable to a fine not exceeding RM10 million or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both,” they said.

SC and Bursa Malaysia also pointed out that the market dynamics between the US and Malaysia differ.

“In Malaysia, Regulated Short Selling (RSS) is only applicable to Approved Securities in the RSS list, which currently comprises 218 securities. Limits are also imposed to prevent excessive short-selling activities,” they said.

In addition, RSS trades require investors to either borrow the Approved Securities to be short-sold or have confirmation of borrowing of the Approved Securities. RSS must be undertaken in a designated account where sell orders must be placed at the best offer price or higher.

“The SC and Bursa Malaysia conduct real-time monitoring of all trading activities to detect, analyse and escalate trading concerns promptly. Robust frameworks are in place to ensure an efficient, fair and orderly market. Where warranted, the SC and Bursa Malaysia will take the necessary measures to curb disruptive trading practices and market abuse,” they said. 

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