Meme stocks are back in the spotlight to begin 2023 (along with crypto) as investors seem to be shaking off the doldrums of the past year and wading back into equities. Several of the most popular meme stocks that took the market by storm in 2021 are up big this month, helping to fuel speculation that a new bull market is emerging and causing some hand wringing on Wall Street among short sellers. But while it remains to be seen if we truly are in a new bull market, there should be no doubt that meme stocks will continue to be volatile. Indeed, the stocks of troubled companies such as GameStop (NYSE:GME) and AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) are sure to deflate as quickly as they rise. Often, big gains by meme stocks are solely caused by retail traders triggering short squeezes in them. But short squeezes eventually end, resulting in huge declines. With that in mind, here are three sorry meme stocks to sell in February before it’s too late.
It has been a while since BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) was the dominant smartphone provider. The introduction of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone in 2007 effectively killed off the BlackBerry and led to the device being thrown onto the dustbin of history next to the VCR and the Walkman. Since then, BlackBerry has reinvented itself as a smaller company that now specializes in software used in vehicles and IT security systems.
BlackBerry has struggled in its new incarnation, and BB stock now trades at just $4.25 a share. However, that hasn’t stopped retail investors from regularly targeting BlackBerry’s stock in an effort to trigger good, old fashioned short squeeze. In the past two years, the stock has vaulted above $10 a share on five separate occasions, only to end lower than where it started each time.
So far in 2023, BB stock has gained 29% in what appears to be the latest attempt to squeeze the shares higher. Don’t be fooled. The current run by the stock is likely to be short-lived, and investors who buy the shares at their current levels are sure to get burned. If you own BlackBerry stock, sell it now.
Virgin Galactic (SPCE)
Commercial space travel was a big deal for a little while, but it’s not so prominent anymore. The idea that tourists would line up to pay more than $100,000 each to spend a few minutes in orbit above the Earth hasn’t panned out as hoped. Also not helping the sector is that companies such as Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) have struggled to get the necessary regulatory approvals needed to begin commercial space flights and that they have been repeatedly delayed due to technical problems with their aircraft.
That explains why SPCE stock is today a shade of its former self. After going public in late 2019, Virgin Galactic’s stock soared above $55 in the middle of 2021. Today it’s trading around $5.60.
Most analysts say not to touch the stock. But that hasn’t stopped retail traders from making Virgin Galactic a meme stock. In 2023, SPCE stock is up 58%. The only significant news out of the company in recent weeks have been reports of a management shake-up. Specifically, the head of the firm’s Aerospace Systems has departed.
While the firm’s current target to begin space tourism flights sometime during this year’s second quarter remains in place, those targets have shifted multiple times over the past few years, and always change at the last minute. As a result, this company and its stock probably won’t achieve lift off.
Canadian cannabis company Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), one of the largest producers of recreational cannabis north of the U.S. border, continues to struggle along with the entire Canadian cannabis sector as executives wait in vain for America to legalize pot. The lack of movement on legalization in the U.S., coupled with a robust black market in Canada, has hurt Tilray and its shareholders. Since peaking at $148 a share in 2018, TLRY stock has tumbled to $3.15 Ouch!
However, retail investors jump into TLRY stock periodically to pump the share price higher in brief but spectacular short squeezes. In early 2021, the stock rose above $65 a share for about a day before crashing back down to Earth.
So far in 2023, Tilray’s stock has increased 17%. That would be impressive had we not been here before. With the company’s prospects appearing limited, there is really no reason for investors to risk capital on this struggling cannabis company, making it a meme stock to sell in February.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held a long position in AAPL. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.