MicroVision Is the Latest Stock WallStreetBets Can’t Stop Buzzing About

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Individual investors who hang out on the popular Reddit Inc. investing forum have been piling into shares of a little-known technology company, sending its stock catapulting higher. Shares of

MicroVision Inc.,

MVIS -16.53%

a developer of laser-beam scanning technology, have more than doubled in the past week.

The recent surge builds on a stunning rally for the Redmond, Wash.-based company, which has rallied more than 8,000% in the past year after trading in April 2020 for less than $1. The stock closed Monday above $26 after rising 47% on the day. It pulled back Tuesday, recently trading about 17% lower.

The rapid move marks the latest example of individual investors’ growing influence in the market—and is reminiscent of GameStop’s stunning rise earlier this year. In circumstances similar to the saga surrounding the videogame retailer, much of the interest surrounding MicroVision recently has originated on WallStreetBets and then rippled across social media.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

MicroVision’s ticker, MVIS, was the most mentioned stock on WallStreetBets on Monday, according to SwaggyStocks, a website that tracks stock-ticker mentions and sentiment on the Reddit forum. The stock received roughly 3,500 mentions in the 24 hours leading up to 4 p.m. ET, SwaggyStocks data show, roughly double the mentions of GameStop’s symbol, GME. Though mentions of other stocks on the forum have recently overtaken the videogame retailer, the sharp uptick in MVIS discussion marks the first time since the “meme stock” frenzy that another company has surpassed GameStop by such a wide margin.

MicroVision was also among the most-searched stocks on Google on Monday and Tuesday. And on TikTok, videos that include #mvis in the caption have received more than 215,000 views—and are growing. One TikTok video from last week raised the question of whether MVIS is the next GameStop and predicted that the stock “will blow up!”

Yet investors haven’t just been touting the stock. They are trading it, too, helping fuel the share price’s rise. MicroVision was individual investors’ most-bought stock on Monday, according to data from VandaTrack, which monitors flow data for the group. They purchased roughly $56 million of the stock on a net basis, the data show, outpacing

NIO Inc.,

which trailed with about $50 million in net purchases.

VandaTrack’s data mirror trends elsewhere in the market: MicroVision was the most-traded stock Monday on the retail-trading platform operated by Fidelity Investments Inc., according to data posted after the market’s close.

The GameStop frenzy put the spotlight on a growing group of investors who seek and share trading information on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Three investors explain how these online communities are helping them chase the market. Photo illustration: Adam Falk/The Wall Street Journal

The company was also the fourth most actively traded stock in the U.S. market Monday, according to a Dow Jones Market Data analysis of daily trading volume.

Ocugen Inc.,

a biopharmaceutical company that also has recently seen a sharp increase of mentions on WallStreetBets, ranked as the most-traded traded stock. Its shares have also nearly doubled in the past week.

The rapidly rising interest in both companies indicates that individual investors’ focus might be expanding after largely concentrating on “meme stocks” including GameStop and

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.

earlier this year. Recently, individual investors also sent shares of the cryptocurrency dogecoin briefly soaring more than 9,000% at its peak on a year-to-date basis before the trade unraveled and lost steam.

A similar sudden fall for shares of MicroVision and Ocugen is possible—and wouldn’t be unprecedented for either stock. After trading for less than $1 a year ago, both stocks have seen their share prices’ rise over the past year, only to then rapidly fall. MicroVision’s share price recently tumbled 56% from a previous 2021 peak in February. Ocugen similarly tumbled roughly 65% from its own respective 2021 high in February.

What You Need to Know About Investing

Though posts about MicroVision have surfaced on WallStreetBets previously, the ticker began to gain greater traction earlier this month. One post from a user on April 15 touted a “$1.1M YOLO” trade, featuring a screenshot of a MVIS position worth more than $1.1 million in market value. Other members have also taken screenshots of their bullish positions amid discussions about MicroVision’s future.

Investors have been particularly excited about the company’s long range lidar sensor technology. The company said in a February press release that the technology has been in development for more than two years and that it expects the sensor will accelerate development of autonomous driving features.

MicroVision has been targeted recently by short seller Hindenburg Research, which called the company a “$1.2 billion market cap corporate husk with almost no revenue or intellectual property value” in a December tweet. Short interest in MicroVision currently stands at about 20% of the stock’s free float, FactSet data show.

Write to Caitlin McCabe at caitlin.mccabe@wsj.com

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