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Robinhood shares dive 27.6%; filing sparks worries early investors could sell

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·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City
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(Deletes reference in paragraph 4 to future share sales depending on stock performance targets, which is incorrect)

(Reuters) -Shares of Robinhood Markets Inc tumbled on Thursday, snapping a four-day winning streak, after the newly public online brokerage said early investors may sell nearly 98 million shares.

Robinhood’s shares finished down 27.6% at $50.97 a day after they jumped more than 50%. The company went public on July 29 at $38, with its shares initially falling below the public offering price before galloping higher.

In a regulatory filing https://sec.report/Document/0001628280-21-015656 submitted Thursday the company registered for the sale of up to 97.9 million of shares by early shareholders and noted that the company will not receive any of the proceeds. The filing angered some retail investors, who groused in online forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets.

The potential future share sales were outlined in the company's IPO prospectus https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1783879/000162828021015076/robinhood424.htm#ib5a32e8afc3b422193a2f2891a49e0c9_895 filed in early July.

But still, the filing may have prompted some traders to take profits after the stock’s blistering four-day run, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"Whether it's existing shareholders being able to sell is new news or not, it appears to be news to the people who pushed its stock up to $85 on Wednesday," he said.

Robinhood has become a focus of retail traders, joining the ranks of other so-called "meme stocks", a term applied to GameStop, AMC Entertainment Corp and other companies whose shares have experienced wild trading this year, spurred in part by individual investors coordinating online.

On Thursday, shares of Robinhood were the most traded among clients of Fidelity’s online brokerage, with buys outpacing sales. Robinhood also topped the list of the most mentioned stocks on Reddit's WallStreetBets for a second straight day, according to sentiment tracker SwaggyStocks.

Buying from retail investors has ramped up in recent days, and may be an important factor in propelling the stock higher, analysts at Vanda Research said in a report.

Robinhood’s shares have seen $100 million in retail purchases this week, Vanda Research said in a note Thursday morning. By comparison, shares of video game retailer GameStop saw $352 million worth of buying during the stock’s January rally, when they rose by more than 1,600%, and $600 million for AMC, when the stock rose more than 500% in a rally later in the year.

“If retail investors start withdrawing money from tired meme stocks to buy HOOD, there is still room for the move to continue,” Vanda’s analysts wrote.

Wednesday also marked the first day that investors could trade options on Robinhood, giving them another way to bet on the stock. Options trading by retail investors has helped fuel big moves in shares of GameStop, AMC and other stocks this year.

Robinhood's options market debut drew trading volume of about 323,000 contracts on Wednesday - making it the second most heavily traded options market debut in history after Facebook, according to Trade Alert.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru, Sinead Carew, Saqib Ahmed, Noel Randewich, and Lance Tupper in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Shounak Dasgupta, Ira Iosebashvili, David Gregorio and Sonya Hepinstall)

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