Cineworld (CINE.L) shares jumped as much as 15% on Wednesday as traders continue to boost heavily-shorted stocks.
The cinema chain, which is the second most shorted UK listed company, according to Short Tracker, follows in the footsteps of GameStop (GME), which has soared more than 700% since the start of the year.
The video game retailer has surged recently as short-sellers and reddit WallStreetBets users clashed causing a massive short squeeze on the stock. A short squeeze forces those who bet against the stock to buy in order to forestall bigger losses, sending the stock price much higher.
On Tuesday GameStop closed 92.7% higher at $147.98 (£107), boosted by a tweet by Tesla (TSLA) chief executive Elon Musk. It is already up more than 100% pre-market on Wednesday.
GameStop started the year at $17, and trading has been halted multiple times in an attempt to calm volatility.
Last week Citron Reserach tweeted GameStop stock would be “back to $20 fast”, describing GameStop buyers as “suckers in this poker game.”
Russ Mould of AJ Bell said: “Video games seller GameStop or ‘GameStonk’, to use the vernacular from Tesla founder Elon Musk’s tweet, continues to surge with Musk’s remark on Twitter prompting further gains and taking the company’s valuation into the tens of billions of dollars.
“Amateur investors on social media platform Reddit are engaged in a battle with hedge funds which are shorting GameStop (and several other stocks including Blackberry and Virgin Galactic) raising fears about a bubble in the markets given these stocks are being backed on little tangible news.”
Pearson (PSON.L) shares are also among the biggest risers on the FTSE 100 (^FTSE), up as much as 15% on Wednesday. A relatively large amount of the stock has been shorted and it is currently the third highest shorted UK stock after Cineworld.
Earlier this week, a third of Cineworld shareholders rebelled against plans to pay the company’s bosses share-based awards worth up to £208m ($286m).
At a shareholder meeting on Monday, 30% of investors voted against the cinema chain’s long-term incentive plan, which could give Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, and his brother Israel Greidinger up to £65m each.
However, some 69.25% of investors waived through the company’s new remuneration policy, with 30.75% voting against.
Executives at Britain’s largest cinema chain, which also owns Picturehouse and Regal, could be in line for a share of between £104m and £208m, if the share price reaches 190p, close to pre-pandemic levels, over the next three years.
Cineworld closed its cinemas in the UK and the US indefinitely in October 2020. Thousands of Cineworld staff in Britain are currently on furlough as all 127 of its UK sites remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The industry had been rattled by a number of blockbuster film delays, such as Marvel’s Black Widow and the latest James Bond film No Time To Die.
The 25th Bond film was initially due to be released in cinemas in April 2020 but was then pushed back until November. Beverly Hills-based MGM, the Hollywood studio behind James Bond, has now pushed the film back for a third time from April to October 2021.
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There is a « real danger » that schools could remain closed until the summer, the Children’s Commissioner warned as she blamed ministers for a « lack of planning ». Downing Street needs to « think creatively » about how to get youngsters back to the classroom and must « ultimately make something happen », Anne Longfield said. Her intervention came as the Government came under mounting pressure from Tory MPs to explain why schools in their constituencies could not reopen after the February half-term. In a new policy briefing on schools, Ms Longfield said: « Everyone recognises the necessity of reopening schools as soon as possible, but hope alone will not make it happen. What is lacking is a clear roadmap towards this. There is a real danger that schools will remain closed until Easter at the earliest, or even into the summer – not because the virus makes this inevitable, but because of a lack of planning. » She said that while the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) could provide modelling of different options, it was the role of ministers to « think creatively about what those different options might be, explore all possibilities, come up with a plan and ultimately make something happen ». Ms Longfield set out a number of options for the gradual reopening of schools, including certain year groups returning sooner than others and children returning on a rota basis, meaning they take it in turns to come in on certain days. She said reopening is « not a simple on/off switch », and that while it may not be possible for all schools to open before Easter, that « does not mean it is impossible » for some children to go back in some areas on a smaller scale. On Tuesday, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, came under fire for failing to appear in the Commons to answer Labour’s urgent question on schools reopening. Instead, the schools minister Nick Gibb was pressed by MPs on what the Government’s plan to reopen schools is.
The German government is to consider introducing tough new restrictions on international travel in a bid to prevent coronavirus mutations from entering the country, a senior minister said on Tuesday. The measures include strict border controls and closing Germany’s airports to almost all passenger flights. « The danger posed by the numerous virus mutations requires us to consider and discuss drastic measures, » Horst Seehofer, the interior minister, told Bild newspaper. « This includes much stricter border controls, especially at the borders to high-risk areas, and the reduction of air traffic to Germany to almost zero, as Israel is currently implementing to prevent the introduction of the virus mutations. » The driving force behind the proposed new measures is believed to be Angela Merkel, the chancellor, who has been pushing for a complete travel ban according to leaked details of government discussions. Despite a steady fall in new infections in Germany over the last two weeks, Mrs Merkel is said to be convinced that the new mutations could cause an explosion in cases. Germany is already closed to tourism, with hotels and holiday apartments not allowed to accept tourists and entry to the country is limited to European Union citizens and residents, but the chancellor is believed to be more concerned by the risk from Germans returning from trips abroad. « I have asked the question a hundred times – why can’t we ban travel? I always get the answer that we’re a free country, » she reportedly told party colleagues in a secret videoconference call at the weekend. « You can only make traveling unattractive, for example through quarantine… We have to thin out air traffic so that there is nowhere to go. » Mrs Merkel is believed to have asked Mr Seehofer to prepare a series of options to restrict international travel over the weekend. Among the proposals reportedly being considered are compulsory quarantine and outright entry bans for those arriving from infection hotspots. But a proposal to close German airports to almost all passenger flights is likely to attract the most controversy. Lufthansa, which last year required a €9 billion (£8 billion) bailout from the German taxpayer to stay afloat could be left facing severe new losses. Israel has already begun implementing a ban on almost all passenger flights at its airports to keep the virus out – a measure that appears tailor-made for the country, which has tightly controlled borders and is largely connected to the outside world by air. It is debatable whether it could be as effective for Germany, with its long open borders at the heart of the Schengen Area.
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The SNP’s islands minister has been accused of arrogance and complacency after he rejected the findings of a major investigation which branded the building of two new super-ferries a “catastrophic failure”. Opposition MSPs said that ministers “had their hands over their eyes and their fingers in their ears” and branded Paul Wheelhouse’s response to a Holyrood rural affairs committee report, unanimously agreed by its members, “appalling”. In damning findings published last month, a catalogue of failures was highlighted in the process for building two new CalMac ferries, which are to serve Arran and the Hebrides on Scotland’s publicly-owned ferry network. The ferries are four years late and will cost twice the original price of £97m. However, in his response to the probe, the findings of which were agreed by the committee’s SNP members, Mr Wheelhouse insisted a procurement process found to be « not fit for purpose » was in fact completed “fastidiously, in good faith and following appropriate due diligence.”
AstraZeneca vaccine may not go to older people, EU medicines chief suggestsEuropean Medicines Agency approval could stipulate age range, says Emer CookeCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Emer Cooke of the EMA, who is Irish, said the regulatory body is examining the ‘totality of the data’. Photograph: AP
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A snake catcher helped a family get rid of a dangerous snake from the backyard of their home in Sydney recently, after their dog “went nuts” and alerted them to its presence.When Kane Durrant from Wild Conservation arrived at the home in the Voyager Point suburb, he expected to find a whip snake common to the area. However, after “crawling under the deck and poking and prodding,” Durrant realized he was dealing with a “giant” eastern brown snake – the most dangerous snake in Australia.This video shows Durrant chasing around the garden after the snake before he grabs and bags it. “That’s wild,” he says. Credit: Kane Durrant – Wild Conservation via Storyful
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