Here's a run-down of the most famous, "best" meme stocks with the biggest cult following. Careful now.
Tesla is Elon Musk’s OG project, and the one that catapulted him into tech’s top brass. The EV company was founded in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2004 that Elon Musk gained control of the organization as the largest shareholder. He took the reins as chief executive in 2008, and he’s done wonders for the carmaker, setting records with yawning regularity. Musk yeeted a Tesla Roadster into Orbit not long before Tesla shares followed the stratospheric journey to the moon. The company’s stock blasted off so hard, it underwent two splits – in 2020 and 2022. Oh, and get ready for Optimus – Tesla’s humanoid robot prototype unveiled in late 2022.
Founded in 1998, payment gateway PayPal is now an industry leader with 400+ million active accounts around the globe. Its humble origins, however, can be traced to a small software company called Confinity which had developed a web-based payments solution. At the same time, nouveau riche Elon Musk had put $12m from his Zip2 deal into X.com – an online bank. In 2000, the two met and hit it off – Musk became CEO and the company was called PayPal. In the same year, eBay fell head over heels for the service and by 2002 the PayPal Mafia – Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, had sold their fledgling firm to the e-commerce giant in a $1.5bn deal.
“When you like something, you buy it out,” thought Elon Musk, the richest person on Earth. The technoking’s $44bn bid for Twitter unleashed a vicious battle with whistleblower accusations, exposed text messages, and a grand spectacle that caught the public eye. Musk basically wanted to make Twitter better – think “everything” app, whatever that means. But then, the billionaire then said the platform failed to disclose the real number of bots and said he’s walking away from the deal. Come late October, Musk reversed course and actually closed the deal on the original terms, taking the messaging platform private. We know, it’s a lot to take in.
Coinbase, the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange, IPO’d in April 2021, just as markets were enjoying breakneck central bank-fueled stock rallies, monetary stimulus, and easy money policies. Its shares, however, never truly enjoyed the light of day. Thanks to an excessive valuation of over $100bn on the day of its debut, and over-optimistic expansion during bull market bliss, Coinbase was handed a harsh reality check. The brokerage has lost roughly 80% of its market cap since going public – a painful sting that has led to a host of problems, such as a $1.1bn 2Q22 loss, waves of layoffs, and a shrinking market share.
Handicraft seller Etsy was one of the biggest e-commerce winners of the pandemic. It was then that Elon Musk tweeted that he “kinda” loves Etsy – him and every other millennial girl in the world. The next chapter – the grand Covid reopening – saw Etsy’s customers rediscover the freedom of no lockdowns. Weaker outlooks followed as the company battled headwinds after a two-year tidal wave of growth. The tech rout of 2022 swept through Wall Street and certainly didn’t leave Etsy unscathed. After shares rose more than 500% from 2020 to late 2021, the e-commerce platform lost more than half of its value during the first nine months of 2022.
Japan-based AGC is listed in Tokyo and boasts a $7bn market cap. It is the world’s largest glass manufacturer, supplying companies from every corner of the globe with every type of glass you can imagine. AGC has been in the business since 1907 as the first Japanese producer of sheet glass. Today, it has more than 55,000 employees and dozens of subsidiaries. The link with Elon Musk? AGC makes the windshields that go on Tesla vehicles. The company is also delivering windshields to hundreds of other brands – it is the leading automotive glass supplier in the world, with 1 in 4 cars riding with AGC glass installed.
It’s retail traders vs institutional money managers in a billion-dollar trading feud. Meet the stock that rattled Wall Street and turbocharged the day-trading revolution: GameStop. It won not only the adamant support of Reddit but also Elon Musk’s recognition. In Jan 2021, in a nod to the trading army, the eccentric billionaire tweeted “Gamestonk!!” – a gesture that boosted the already-painful short squeeze, sending GameStop shares higher by 60% in after-hours trading. Ultimately, the overall rise was enough to topple big shot hedge fund Melvin Capital, which held a short position in the company, and still experiences volatility today.
If you were keeping up to date with the 2021 meme-stock rally, you probably know that Elon Musk’s tweets had the power to add and erase billions in stock valuations. Here’s a bright example: it was a chilly January morning in 2021 when the self-labeled technoking of Tesla took to Twitter to brag that the new Tesla Plaid Model S could play Cyberpunk 2077 – CD Projekt’s flagship game. If that wasn’t enough to propel the company’s shares, there’s the follow-up where Musk hails the aesthetics of the game, calling them “incredible.” Boom – CD Projekt racks up 12% in a single afternoon as gaming enthusiasts and day-traders go off.
US-based Modine Manufacturing makes cooling systems for vehicles and buildings. The company was founded in 1916 and has been listed since 1984. While Modine can’t brag about outsized gains over the years, its stock is up just over 340% since its IPO and it has a reliable partner in Elon Musk’s Tesla. For years, the electric-car giant has been using Modine’s battery-cooling units for the Model S, used to keep the lithium at optimal conditions. Otherwise, Modine has a fairly tiny market cap of about $690mn while its share price has enjoyed a better 2022 than most.