AMC Extends Surge, Sending Market Value Above $15 Billion

 AMC Extends Surge, Sending Market Value Above $15 Billion

(Bloomberg) — There’s no sign that the meme-stock frenzy that’s propelled AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. up about %1,400 this year is going away.

The shares pared some of their early gains but were still up 18% at 10:56 a.m. in New York on Friday, bringing its market value above $15 billion and adding to a week that’s nearly tripled the stock price of the company.

Nearly 300 million shares traded hands, quadruple the three-month average, as traders banded together with the aim of squeezing out short sellers, adopting hashtags like #AMCSTRONG and #AMCSqueeze on social media. AMC’s short interest was about 20% of its float, according to data from financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

AMC has taken advantage of the enormous rally to raise money and pay down debt. The cinema chain “will carefully examine the raising of additional capital in whatever form we think is most attractive” and is focused on de-leveraging, Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said on a call to discuss fourth-quarter results in March.

The company reported a larger-than-expected loss in the first quarter, as moviegoers trickled back to reopened cinemas with little on the film slate to spur a proper recovery for the sector.

In other trading Friday, retailer GameStop Corp., the original meme stock targeted by Reddit users, slipped 4.2%. Koss Corp. was up 14% and Naked Brand Group Ltd. jumped 18%.

(Updates share move, adds details on trading volume and short interest)

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