TD Ameritrade restricts trading of GameStop, AMC stock

GameStop’s stock continues to make big moves Wednesday, surpassing $300 a share, fueled by Reddit users taking on Wall Street (here’s what it means). Investors looking to make some trades faced multiple issues this morning trying to log in to their preferred investing sites and apps as many were experiencing service disruptions, according to Bloomberg. The frenzy over GameStop stock created a wealth of memes, but also led to one brokerage service hitting the brakes, the subreddit to go private and a Discord server shutdown for violating the company’s terms of service.

An image circulating on social media Wednesday just after noon ET showed an apparent warning from TD Ameritrade saying it put restrictions on the trading of stocks for GameStop, AMC and others. The brokerage firm confirmed the restrictions according to a spokesperson saying “these decisions out of an abundance of caution amid unprecedented market conditions and other factors.”

“In the interest of mitigating risk for our company and clients, we have put in place several restrictions on some transactions in $GME [GameStop], $AMC [AMC Theaters] and other securities,” reads the TD Ameritrade message.

A TD Ameritrade spokesperson says the restrictions made include increasing requirements needed to borrow money for stocks known as a margin and limiting transactions such as short sales.

“It is not uncommon for us to make such decisions, which we consider on an individual basis, in the interest of mitigating risk,” the spokesperson said Wednesday via email. “We have been adjusting our requirements for several days as we continued to see trends indicating unusual volume in an unprecedented market environment, which appear to be divorced from traditional market fundamentals. We have made what we believe to be prudent and appropriate decisions to place some limits on certain transactions for certain securities.”

The fervor over stock trading hasn’t gone unnoticed. Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman told CNBC Wednesday that if there is any market manipulation going on, they may halt the trading of a stock to investigate. AMC is listed on Nasdaq, while GameStop is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

William Galvin, the secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, told Barron’s Wednesday that he thinks the New York Stock Exchange should “consider simply suspending it for a month and stop trading it.”

The Securities and Exchanges Commission, which oversees the stock markets, told the New York Times it’s watching “internet chat rooms for signs of potential market manipulation.”

“We are aware of and actively monitoring the on-going market volatility in the options and equities markets, and consistent with our mission to protect investors and maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday. “We are working with our fellow regulators to assess the situation and review the activities of regulated entities, financial intermediaries and other market participants.”

Even the White House is “monitoring the situation,” according to Press Secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday.

Update: Since this originally went up, TD Ameritrade has confirmed that neither GameStop nor AMC stock had been banned. Restrictions were put in place, but not bans, as the updated article clarifies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *