By PAUL WISEMAN and JOSEPH PISANI AP Business Writers WASHINGTON (AP) — They’ve endured a financial crisis.
Their buying has swollen those companies’ share prices beyond anyone’s imagination — and, not coincidentally, inflicted huge losses on the hedge funds of the super-rich, who had placed bets that the stocks would drop.
“They figured out how to play the way Wall Street has been playing for a long time,’’ said Robert Thompson, who has long tracked cultural trends as director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. “I’m amazed it didn’t happen earlier.’’ Feeding the frenzy have been young traders like 27-year-old Zach Weir, who this week bought five shares of GameStop. “I’m a college student, so that’s basically a month’s rent for me,” said Weir, who is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing.
He did it, he said, because he believes in the cause: Protecting a cherished game store, where he would hang out as a teenager on Friday nights, from financial tycoons who want the company to fail.
New York University economist Edward Wolff has found that the richest 10% of Americans own roughly 85% of stock wealth, a share that has grown steadily over time.