The Wall Street bull

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Welcome back! Still trying to figure out the best way to use AI in your life? Here’s how top business leaders, like Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, leverage the tech

In today’s big story, we’re breaking down how to identify a meme stock

What’s on deck:

Markets: Retirement account balances are soaring, but retirees should tread carefully

Tech: Big Tech is stifling innovation at startups from the inside.  

Business: Chicken Soup for the Soul was a cultural phenomenon. So what happened?

But first, things are getting silly again.

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The big story

Meme mania

It’s April Fool’s, which might explain the joke the market is playing on us with the return of meme stocks.

Three years after GameStop upended things, meme stocks are back in fashion. 

There’s also been a new entrant to the meme-stock game. Reddit, which played a key role in the original meme-stock mania via r/WallStreetBets, has become a new fan favorite

But how does one find a meme stock? Interactive Brokers’ Steve Sosnick identified three main criteria, as compiled by Business Insider’s Matthew Fox. 

One thing you certainly don’t have to worry about is the fundamentals. If you believe a balance sheet should validate your investment decisions, meme stocks aren’t for you.

That type of “YOLO” investing is evident in another market that’s ripping: bitcoin.

The biggest bulls in the market have given up explaining use cases for the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin holders hodlers now just believe demand will continue to outstrip supply… despite not knowing what the demand for bitcoin is actually for. 

One new meme perfectly encapsulates the madness of the trend. 

Former President Donald Trump’s social media company, Trump Media and Technology Group, recently went public via a SPAC. With losses of $49 million compared to revenue of just $3.4 million, the company’s balance sheet isn’t the type investors traditionally get excited about. 

But in meme-stock land, balance sheets are for the birds. Add in the fact Trump has some of the most rabid supporters in the world, and you can see where this is going. 

Shares of Trump Media skyrocketed during its first few days of trading. Its market cap is now just shy of $8.4 billion. Even investing legend Bill Gross is getting in on the action.

(Trump Media doesn’t technically qualify as a meme stock under Sosnick’s criteria due to the amount of low short interest. But as BI’s Peter Kafka explains, there’s a technical reason for that.)  

Maintaining long-term support for a meme stock remains a tough nut to crack. The share price of AMC Entertainment, a retail trader favorite, has fallen below pre-meme stock levels. Bed Bath & Beyond, another meme stock, was liquidated last year. 

But it’s never really been about the long game for meme-stock traders. And with the S&P 500 ripping this year up more than 10%, traders will continue to feel emboldened to make big bets.

News brief

Your Monday headline catchup

A quick recap of the top news from over the weekend:

River Danube cruise ship crashed after it was ‘suddenly no longer able to maneuver,’ 17 passengers injured.

Trump keeps pushing the limits of the gag order in his hush-money case. It could land him in jail, legal experts say.

Robo-lawyer startup DoNotPay did something almost unheard of in Silicon Valley: It paid a dividend.

3 things in markets

An elderly man reads a newspaper.

There are a ton of 401(k) millionaires… for now. Retirement account balances are on the rise thanks to a booming stock market. But retiring early because your accounts look strong could come back to bite you, according to experts. 

Hedge your bets. Speaking of playing the long game, it could be worth hedging your portfolio in case of a market downturn. Here are four strategies to protect yourself, from selling off some holdings to getting exposure to a volatility index.

As the stock market hits record highs, some investors are concerned about a bubble. Valuations are stretched, crypto is booming, and to some, it feels like the S&P’s recent gains are too far too fast. From AI to chicken wings, BI has listed the 10 most richly valued stocks in the market right now. 

3 things in tech

Big Tech’s inside job. Silicon Valley was founded on the principle of rewarding innovation. But for the last decade, tech giants have been buying competing startups instead. A new paper from two leading scholars suggests Big Tech doesn’t have to resort to that now — because they’re defanging potential rivals from within.

AI won’t destroy Hollywood, according to the guy running an AI business. OpenAI’s Sam Altman met with Hollywood executives to ease concerns about Sora, his company’s video-generating tool. 

Meta started paying creators for engagement on Facebook — but a wave of spam and illicit account sales followed. Facebook’s Performance Bonus program rewards creators whose posts are widely seen or engaged with, but it’s become a prime target for manipulation

3 things in business

How Chicken Soup for the Soul lost its soul. Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul sought to improve readers’ lives by showing how our thoughts create our circumstances. It was a cultural touchstone. Then it lost its way.

The man behind Amazon’s sports strategy. Meet Jay Marine, Amazon’s VP of Prime Video and global head of sports. He helped launch the Kindle and once served as Jeff Bezos’ advisor. His next big move at the company could be for the NBA.

Who are the HENRYs? To break down the demographics of America’s HENRYs — high earners, not rich yet — BI analyzed Americans who earn $200,000 or more a year, but have net worths under $1 million. 

What’s happening today

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

iHeartRadio Music Awards will be broadcast live on FOX.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. Grace Lett, associate editor, in Chicago. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

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