Renaissance Technologies Piled Into GameStop, AMC Ahead of Rally

(Bloomberg) — Renaissance Technologies LLC, the quantitative fund founded by the late Jim Simons, loaded up on shares of meme-stock darlings AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and GameStop Corp. ahead of the latest rally.

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The hedge fund bought 3.82 million shares of AMC in the first quarter of 2024, adding to its position in the movie theater chain, according to regulatory filings. At the same time, Renaissance also snapped up 1 million shares of GameStop, revealing a new position during the three months ending March 31, filings show.

Read more: Jim Simons, Code Breaker Who Mastered Investing, Dies at 86

Shares of AMC and GameStop more than doubled at the start of the week in a surge reminiscent of the 2021 meme-stock trading craze when retail traders bid the stocks up to record highs. The frenzy was sparked by a Sunday X post from Keith Gill, who rose to fame in 2021 by posting about GameStop on Reddit under the online moniker “Roaring Kitty.”

The rally has since cooled; AMC shares slipped as much as 16% Thursday while GameStop shares fell as much as 28%. Pressures remain with both the stocks trading well below pandemic peaks. Shares of AMC and GameStop both slumped in the first quarter of 2024, falling 39% and 29%, respectively.

Renaissance didn’t immediately respond to a Bloomberg News request for comment.

Of course, the filings are just a snapshot into US stock holdings for the funds that oversee more than $100 million. The data only tracks holdings through the end of March; the funds could have changed positions in the past month and a half.

“Quant/hedge funds are much better equipped to handle these situations nowadays,” wrote Vanda Research’s Marco Iachini in a note to clients this week. “If anything, we believe the chances that they participate along with retail in the squeeze but also lean against and then exit these trades ahead of retail traders are high.”

Read more: GameStop, AMC Extend Slump as Meme-Fueled Rally Unravels

Renaissance wasn’t the only hedge fund to trade the buzzy meme stocks in the earliest months of the year.

Balyasny Asset Management LP added both AMC and GameStop in the first quarter. DE Shaw & Co Inc sold the pair. Citadel Advisors LLC unloaded shares of AMC, while Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC and ExodusPoint Capital Management LP were among hedge funds that exited their positions in GameStop.

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