WallStreetBets investors are on the move again, and they seem to be talking in a language all their own.

Founded in 2012 by Jaime Rogzinski, a former bank IT consultant living in Mexico City, the popular Reddit forum for retail investors has more than 10 million members who avidly discuss investing in the stock market, as well as speculative trading, or making high-risk investments with the hope that they will increase in value. In recent months, WallStreetBets has actually moved the market. 

These “Redditors” have caused big swings in the value of companies known as “meme stocks” or “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) stocks, which tend to be for companies that have been overlooked or have decreased in value, such as GameStop or AMC Entertainment, and are heavily shorted by hedge funds. The members of WallStreetBets say they aim to “democratize” investing and make it more accessible to average people. At the same time, they hope to take aim at hedge funds by driving up prices on those overlooked stocks they’ve shorted.

In January 2021, these investors, who refer to themselves as “apes” and “degenerates,” started buying shares of GameStop, pushing the stock’s value to a record high of $483 on January 28, 2021. This rush of investors produced what’s known as a short squeeze, which happens when the stock price of a heavily shorted company starts to increase. Short sellers are then forced to buy the stock back at higher prices.

More recently, at the beginning of June 2021, Redditors swarmed AMC Entertainment, pushing the stock’s price up 2,850% during 2021, and causing the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to halt trading in early June. The price fell, however, after AMC announced that it would sell 11 million shares to hedge fund Mudrick Capital Management. 

Here’s a quick guide to how these Redditors use emojis and internet slang to discuss investments: 

  •  🐂 Investors on Reddit use this bull emoji when they’re bullish on an investment, meaning that they think it will increase in value. Those who are often bullish are known as being part of the “Bull Gang.”
  • 🧸 The bear emoji means the opposite, denoting that someone is bearish on an investment and thinks it will decrease in value. People who are often bearish are part of the “Bear Gang.”
  •  🚀 Redditors use the rocket emoji to indicate which stocks they’re hoping to “send to the moon”, or quickly increase in stock price.
  • 💎🤲 These two emojis together mean “Diamond Hands.” On WallStreetBets, users encourage each other to have diamond hands, or hold on to their investments and avoid selling. 
  • 🧻🤲 On the flip side, these two emojis mean “Paper Hands” and are used to classify investors who sell their shares earlier than others, according to WallStreetBets. Paper Hands and Weak Hands are used interchangeably. 
  • 🍗 This emoji stands for “tendies,” short for chicken tenders. A Reddit user might say they are going to cash in their “tendies,” meaning that they are going to realize their profits from an investment by closing their position. 
  • YOLO of course means “You Only Live Once.” On WallStreetBets, investors use this acronym in reference to speculative investing when putting money in an investment that they hope to increase in price. 
  • Stonks is an intentional misspelling of the word “stocks,” and is meant to poke fun at the stuffy nature of Wall Street and make the stock market more approachable to the common person.  You might see investors on WallStreetBets refer to stocks this way. 
  • $BECKY is used to describe investments in companies such as Starbucks, Ulta, Lululemon, and Etsy, that are often solicited by young, white women. Becky is a slang term that is  synonymous with a young, white woman who is ignorant of her privilege. (It’s also a reference to the Beyoncé song “Sorry,” where she references a woman named Becky with whom her husband allegedly had an affair.)
  • GUH is an exclamation often used in text to express shock that investors might use in response to quickly losing a lot of money on an investment. GUH was first used in October 2019 by a user named /r/ControlTheNarrative when he lost $45,000 in Apple.
  • Bagholders are people who hold onto their investments after they lose value, without the expectation that they will increase in value again.

While it might be fun to follow these threads on WallStreetBets, remember that all investing involves risk and there’s no guarantee that any investment you make will increase in value. 

Stash recommends following the Stash Way® when you’re investing small amounts regularly in a diversified portfolio of investments such as bonds, stocks, and exchange traded funds (ETFs).1 Having a diversified portfolio can protect your money from market volatility. 

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