In a rally fueled by social-media speculation, shares of troubled home-goods retailer are on track for a third straight gain, the longest win streak since January
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.’s stock jumped 34.4% in morning trading Wednesday, as shares of the troubled home-goods retailer extended their meme-like bounce to a third straight session.
Shares of the embattled company and sometime meme stock ended Tuesday’s session up 22.5%, which followed a 17.6% surge on Monday. The rally was fueled by social-media speculation, according to retail trading platform Capital.com, which said that the bounce was not likely to last.
A three-day win streak would be the longest such streak since the four-day stretch that ended Jan. 12, 2023.
The rally came after Bed Bath & Beyond’s BBBY, +35.28% stock closed at a record low of 24 cents on Friday following a 22.6% plunge in three days after the company disclosed a sale of more than 100 million shares. The retailer, which is attempting to stave off bankruptcy, said it could sell up to $300 million worth of stock.
The company’s stock has fallen 81.6% in 2023, compared with the S&P 500’s SPX, -0.01% gain of 8%.
It has been a tumultuous few months for the retailer, which announced another equity offering earlier this year. That came after a troubled couple of years marked by strategic missteps, cash burn, challenging underlying business trends and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the company issued a sales warning that sent the stock to a then-record low.
Bed Bath & Beyond is also pushing for a reverse stock split. In a recent filing, the company said a special meeting of shareholders would be held May 9 to vote on the proposal. The vote is on whether to effect a reverse stock split “at a ratio in the range of 1-for-10 to 1-for-20, with such ratio to be determined at the discretion of the Board,” according to the filing.
Stocktwits, a social platform for investors and traders, has been seeing plenty of activity related to Bed Bath & Beyond. “Sentiment and message volume on the platform saw an uptick yesterday and today compared to last week,” Tom Bruni, lead writer of the Daily Rip & Markets, Stocktwits’ newsletter, told MarketWatch.
“It’s important to point out that many retail investors’ positions with meme stocks are so underwater that the narrative is more so self-deprecating than enthusiastic, with tons of comments like ‘only needs to move up 5000% more, and I would break even!’,” he added.
Bruni also noted that companies that file for bankruptcy often end up rallying afterward, citing the recent example of National CineMedia Inc. NCMI, +8.29%, whose stock popped last week after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
“A potential reason for this is investors may think that a reorganization may be the company’s best shot at surviving,” he told MarketWatch. “Investors may be betting that Bed Bath & Beyond might eventually have to take this route. However, we won’t know until next month’s reverse stock split vote takes place.”
Additionally, bankruptcy often sparks a short covering rally, according to Bruni, who notes that bearish investors don’t want to risk their profits in an attempt to squeeze the last bit of juice out of the stock. “When a company files for bankruptcy, it’s generally a sign your bearish thesis was correct, and you can take some chips off the table,” he added. “Very few investors will ride a stock to zero, as the risk isn’t worth it in many cases.”
“Also, at that point, there are few incentives for people down a lot on their investment to sell for a loss,” Bruni said. “They’d rather hold and see what happens.” Between “bag holders” and shorts covering, there’s more demand than supply for the stock, so prices go up, according to Bruni. “Then, that can feed on itself if that lasts for more than a few hours/days,” he added.
Earlier this month, Bed Bath & Beyond announced a new vendor consignment program with ReStore Capital in an attempt to boost its inventory. Carol Spieckerman, president of retail advisory firm Spieckerman Retail, told MarketWatch that the consignment plan feels like “a Hail Mary pass.”
Spieckerman said Bed Bath & Beyond is continuing “a mighty fight” amid mounting distractions, such as former chief executive Mark Tritton’s recent compensation lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleges that in January, Bed Bath & Beyond ceased making payments owed under Tritton’s separation agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Bed Bath & Beyond was required to pay Tritton $6,765,000 in ratable installments over a 24-month period beginning in July 2022, according to the lawsuit. The payments were made from July 2022 to January 2023, it said.
Bed Bath & Beyond told MarketWatch that the company does not comment on legal matters.
Of eight analysts surveyed by FactSet who cover Bed Bath & Beyond, two have the equivalent of hold ratings and six have the equivalent of sell ratings.