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Day Traders Put Stamp on Market With Unprecedented Stock Frenzy

  • Record $120 trillion in stock traded hands on U.S. exchanges
  • Little-known companies saw huge spikes in daily volume
RF markets stocks
Photographer: da-kuk/Getty Images

Look at a screen at almost any point in 2020, and chances are you saw something like this: A company that nobody had ever heard of 12 months ago was in the process of trading 20 million shares in a day.

Ideanomics Inc., fuboTV Inc., Vaxart Inc. -- names that would’ve elicited a collective “who?” in January are obscure no longer, after seducing the retail day-trader horde whose presence defined the coronavirus era in equities. A mattress maker called Purple Innovation Inc. saw turnover surge 13-fold as it went from $5 to $25 in three months. Blank-check-born Fisker Inc. posted four sessions in which volume topped 40 million shares each.