Meme-stock traders revel in more anti-Citadel and Robinhood drama as old names come back to life

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Retail investors rallying around a bad news cycle for some of their least favorite people also managed to buck the larger indices and put major meme stocks back in the green as September drew to a close.

With hashtags like #KenGriffinLied and #CitadelScandal still dominating retail investment social media, Citadel used its suddenly hyperactive Twitter account to both defend itself and make clear that Robinhood acted alone in restricting access to certain meme stocks at the height of January’s short squeeze.

In a short Twitter burst Thursday afternoon, Citadel clapped back once again at its online accusers. After claiming that the lawyers who filed an explosive revised lawsuit in a Florida federal court “concealed the facts from the court and the public causing conspiracy theorists to churn baseless theories,” the financial services giant opened up on the zero-commission trading app that sells more than half of its order flow to Citadel Securities.

“We FIRST learned of Robinhood’s trading restrictions from posts on Twitter – as evidenced by real-time communications,” read the tweet.

And then Citadel posted a screenshot of what appears to be a chat between a Citadel Securities executive and a Robinhood exec on Jan. 28.

“Saw a tweet that young’s are putting GME and AMC in close only?” asks the Citadel player.

“Good morning,” replies the Robinhood counterpart. “That is correct, was just going to notify.”

The Robinhood exec goes on to list the stocks being halted, the most volatile and heavily-squeezed: GameStop, AMC Entertainment, Nokia NOK, +0.37%, BlackBerry, Naked Brand NAKD, -0.87%, Koss, Express Inc. EXPR, -7.63% and Bed, Bath & Beyond BBBY, -22.18%.

A Citadel spokesman confirmed to MarketWatch that the screenshot in the tweet was part of discovery in the Florida federal suit.

But neither the tweet nor the new evidence are likely to do much for retail investors’ belief that something was rotten in January’s dealings between Robinhood and its biggest client.

Twitter responses included a number of accusations that Citadel photoshopped the document, calling for the firm to submit to a full investigation into January’s timeline, and simply letting them have it, Twitter-style.

But all of that rage was not for nothing.

Using the energy of their anti-Griffin crusade, the stock market’s merry band of upstarts pushed their favorite ticker symbols well into the green on Thursday, even as they eyed a new rotation and stepped back from taking credit for one new high-flyer.

GameStop GME, -0.26% closed down just 0.3% after a late-afternoon surge into positive territory, and AMC AMC, +7.09% soared 7%, while stocks like BlackBerry BB, +1.35% and Koss KOSS, +1.87% closed higher as well. 

On Reddit, users gave credit for Thursday’s move to a popular new trend in routing retail orders and a distracted Griffin.

“Thanks for the BUYing opportunity Kenny,” posted user ContactLatter8256. 

Outside of the vengeance and buying, what appeared to be a slow rotation into newly-closed SPAC mergers lost steam on Thursday as names like dMY Technology Group III Inc. DMYI, -4.85% and Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp. MAAC, -5.46% dropped by 4.7% and 5.5%, respectively.

“We’ve been seeing gamma squeezes on the high-redemption stuff,” said Matthew Tuttle, CEO of Tuttle Capital Management, regarding action on recently completed SPACs. “Once that bottoms out, we’ll see a short squeeze from the Reddit guys.”

Tuttle also mused that retail investors are still looking for action on stocks with the same old markers.

“They’re still looking at low-float, high short interest, and hard-to-borrow names.” he said.

Elsewhere, “Apes” gorged themselves on bananas, pumping the price of Dole DOLE, +7.00% on hopes that a South American fungus and a deep dive by independent investor and researcher Conor Maguire, aka “Value Situations,” would play out in the agribusiness giant’s favor.

Camber Energy Inc. CEI, +11.70% continued its torrid pace and strong volume of mentions on social media, surging more 11.7% for its third double-digit gain in four days.

But Camber’s standing as a true meme stock drew some critical glances as Redditors began to ID the stock as a possible pump by institutional traders looking to use social-media volume as a tool.

Tuttle agreed that something seemed off in Camber’s move.

“It looks like a headfake to me,” he mused.