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Did Roaring Kitty manipulate the stock market?

Disgruntled investors who rode the meme stock wave reading a lot into every perceived signal

What exactly counts as market manipulation these days? Former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton says Keith “Roaring Kitty” Gill’s tweets may amount to market manipulation. This seems tall, and not just because we don’t know if Gill participated in the run-up in Gamestop shares.

Gill didn’t explicitly refer to Gamestop – he tweeted a picture of a man leaning forward in his seat, followed by videos featuring movie scenes.

As Bloomberg’s Matt Levine quipped, Roaring Kitty “seems to have added like $3 billion (€2.76 billion) of market capitalisation to Gamestop by tweeting a picture of a guy”.

Nevertheless, Levine notes former Bed Bath & Beyond investor Ryan Cohen is facing a lawsuit from disgruntled investors. The lawsuit is partly based on Cohen selling stock shortly after posting a smiley moon emoji, which some took to mean he believed the stock was headed to the moon.


It brings to mind an episode from February 2021, when Reuters and other respected outlets debated if a tweet featuring a picture of an ice cream and a frog emoji might have sent Gamestop shares soaring. “I don’t know what an ice-cream means,” one analyst said at the time. “People are looking for signals.” Indeed. They still are.