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GameStop and AMC made 2021 the year of the meme stock. Here are 5 other unlikely companies retail traders sent to the moon.

The WallStreetBets page.

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • GameStop and AMC dominated meme-stock headlines in 2021, but retail traders rallied behind other stocks, too.
  • Fast-food chain Wendy’s, for example, had a short-lived stint as a meme stock thanks to its “tendies.”
  • Other under-the-radar stocks included a couple oil companies and a biotech firm.
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Retail traders didn’t just drive massive rallies in GameStop and AMC this year — they rallied behind lesser known companies, too. 

The meme-stock phenomenon began in earnest in January when millions of retail traders mobilized on Reddit investing thread Wall Street Bets and bought shares of ailing companies to reap massive rewards and stick it to short sellers.

GameStop and AMC remain the leaders of the meme-stock pack, but here are five short-lived, under-the-radar meme stocks you may have forgotten about or missed.

1. A famous fast-food chain

wendys drive thruWendy’s fast food restaurant drive-thru.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Wendy’s briefly surged in June after one Redditor explained why the fast-food chain was “literally the perfect stock” for Wall Street Bets: the company appears in memes, and it serves serves chicken “tendies” (a double entendre that refers to both the meal and a retail-trader term for monetary gains). The stock pared gains from the hype and is up about 10% for the year.

2. A Danish biotech company

Science research in laboratoryPeter Dazeley/Getty Images

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Orphazyme, a Danish biotech company researching treatment for rare diseases, surged more than 1,000% in a single day in June for no apparent reason. Reddit chatter about the stock jumped at the time. Goldman Sachs got in on the craze and took a 5.58% stake in the company and then a day later sold below the 5% threshold that would trigger a filing. But shares have tumbled 76% in 2021.

3. A tiny Texas oil driller

Oil pumps at sunset, industrial oil pumps equipment.

Getty Images

Torchlight Energy Resources, now part of Meta Materials, more than tripled its share price in June when the company became a top-trending stock on Reddit investing threads. Torchlight, then a Plano, Texas-based oil driller, quickly cashed in on the hype and sold $100 million worth of new shares amid the rally. The company closed its $1.9 billion merger with Meta Materials in July and now trades under the MMAT stock ticker.

4. A headphone maker at odds with Apple

Koss Fitclips, $11.99.Koss Fitclips. Amazon

Amazon

Headphone-maker Koss was caught up in the January meme-stock trading frenzy and surged nearly 2,000%. The stock traded in a meme-like manner again in October when the company won a patent battle against Apple. Shares of the headphone-maker have shot up more than 220% this year.

5. Another Texas oil company

FILE PHOTO - Pump jacks drill for oil in the Monterey Shale, California, U.S. on April 29, 2013.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File PhotoPump jacks drill for oil in the Monterey Shale California. Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters

Torchlight wasn’t the only oil driller that lit up Reddit this year. Camber Energy, a Houston, Texas-based oil and gas company, surged in September as retail traders pointed to a potential short-squeeze opportunity. A short-seller report from New York-based Kerrisdale Capital just days later took the wind out of the meme-stock play, though. The stock lost more than 3% for the year.

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