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Earnings Results: GameStop investors looking for earnings-call fireworks have to settle for tumbleweeds

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Anyone who woke up Wednesday morning hoping it would be the day that they would get a taste of what the future holds for GameStop
GME,
-0.10%

is going to bed disappointed, and perhaps more anxious than they were just a few weeks ago.

The videogame retailer-turned-meme stock reported earnings after the bell on Wednesday, beating Wall Street’s revenue estimates but missing the consensus target on earnings, the kind of result that demonstrated the company remains committed to leveraging its massively ballooned stock price by creating liquidity, paying down its debt, and holding cash to execute on the still-mysterious master plan of activist investor-turned-company chairman Ryan Cohen.

But the result was also the perfect platform for Cohen and/or GameStop to finally give investors a clearer picture of what that plan entails, after nine months of teasing them with a virtual feather.

What investors got was less than eight minutes of purposeful pabulum from newly-installed CEO Matt Furlong reiterating the company’s SEC filing, a mention of some unsecured French debt, and a very polite “thanks for your interest in GameStop.” 

Cohen did not appear, nor did Chief Financial Officer Mike Recupero, who joined the company in June. No analyst asked a question and the closest that Furlong got to giving forward guidance was a reference to how he had gotten to meet a bunch of GameStop employees, who seem to be adjusting to how quickly the company is changing.

There was no mention of NFTs, selling GameStop stock on the blockchain, nor any update on a much-rumored collaboration with fellow meme stock AMC Entertainment
AMC,
-0.90%
,
despite that company’s CEO Adam Aron pouring gas on that metaphorical fire mere minutes before GameStop announced its results.

In the aftermath of the non-event, things appeared to already be settling back into a familiar routine, with GameStop shares selling off in after-hours trading by as much as 10%, and retail investors on Reddit already filling their side of the narrative with talk of “buying a dip,” and speculating that Cohen’s silence stemmed from an ongoing SEC investigation into January’s short squeeze on meme stocks.

Cohen’s Twitter account remained silent well into Wednesday evening.

On Reddit, GameStop’s home turf, users dug in hard to the narrative that the after-hours plummet was the work of shorts and that Thursday would provide a new opportunity for them to “HODL” the stock they like the most.

“We have been wrong the whole time,” quipped user DrChaitin in a post on subreddit Superstonk just after the earnings call. “Here we are doing Hodl and Buy when all this time it should have been Buy and Hodl. Lesson learned.”

Echoing that sentiment of faux outrage over GameStop’s results and dull earnings call was UncleFesterFrump, who took a look at the company’s plummeting price and concluded “Damm, that is a tasty dip!!”

On its side of the fence, Wall Street doubled down on its thesis that Cohen’s master plan looks a lot like no plan at all.

“What’s the definition of insanity?” mused Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. In this case, it refers to both sides doing it every three months.”

But while outrage over Cohen’s continued silence and an uneven quarter from GameStop was difficult to find on social media, there were signs of growing ennui.

“Did I expect this? Yes. Was I genuinely hoping for something different this time? Yes,” opined Reddit user Yellowhairdontcare. “I was hoping we might get thrown a bone. Guess not…”

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