Market Crash Hands Defeat to Traders Who Warred With Wall Street

Exactly one year ago today, Chris Perrotta joined a revolution on Wall Street: He bought one of those crazy meme stocks — and went on to make a small fortune.

Today Perrotta, like countless other amateur traders who pushed stocks “to the moon” and challenged the pros during the early 2021 mania, is watching the old dreams of a new Wall-Street order collapse around him.

Meme stocks, cryptocurrencies, the broader stock market: All have tumbled with astonishing speed this year, and few strategists think the pain will end here.

The losses are sobering, but so too is the realization that the social-media inspired revolt against Big Money is painfully slamming against market realities.

Perrotta, 37, says he bought 3,000 shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. on Jan. 25, 2021, at about $5. As AMC shot to as high as $60, he made enough to pay off his new truck. To celebrate, he got a license plate that reads “STONKS.”

“Everyone was playing with new money,” Perrotta, a power-company worker from Nova Scotia, says of the frenzy a year ago. “Right now, I kind of see it as being on the precipice.”

He adds: “A lot of those people are going to start seeing losses.”