The country's top financial regulator says it's closely reviewing "the extreme price volatility" of certain stock prices over the past several days. It has also reassured the public that officials are ready to take action if they determine market manipulation was at play.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made the announcement Friday, in wake of the Reddit-fueled stock surges that have rattled Wall Street over the past several days. Though the SEC's statement didn't mention any specific companies involved in the saga, it's clear the agency was referring to the frenzy surrounding GameStop and AMC, which experienced significant, unexpected spikes in market prices.
"... We will act to protect retail investors when the facts demonstrate abusive or manipulative trading activity that is prohibited by the federal securities laws. Market participants should be careful to avoid such activity," the SEC's statement read in part. "Likewise, issuers must ensure compliance with the federal securities laws for any contemplated offers or sales of their own securities. The Commission will continue our work on behalf of investors and the markets. In this regard, we hope to facilitate a robust public dialogue among market participants and investors on the structure and operation of our securities markets."
GameStop made headlines this week after it began posting massive gains in stock market, trading as high as $483 per share on Thursday. The surge was attributed to a group of Reddit users who began purchasing stocks of heavily shorted companies like GameStop and AMC, as well as Blackberry and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The rally, which was seemingly coordinated on the WallStreetBets sub-Reddit, was a huge blow to short-sellers and investment firms that were known to take short positions. So much so, a number of Wall Street elites have called for increased regulations to prevent similar occurrences.
Trading platform Robinhood was also accused of market manipulation this week after it implemented trading restrictions on more than 50 stocks, including GameStop. The SEC seemingly addressed this controversy in Friday's statement: "The Commission will closely review actions taken by regulated entities that may disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities."