Monday, July 15, 2024

Trump Media stock drops in Friday trading after former president’s guilty verdict

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Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group fell more than 5% Friday afternoon, extending an after-hours slide from the prior evening when investors absorbed news of Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in his criminal hush money trial.

Trump was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records by a New York jury. Hours after the verdict, shares of Trump Media & Technology Group, the parent company of Truth Social, fell as much as 15%. (Trump owns 65% of the shares in the company.)

After hitting an after-hours low at $44 a share, the stock rose slightly during regular daytime trading on Friday, reaching $49.08 as of 2:26 p.m. ET.

The parent company of the Truth social app has been compared to GameStop and AMC. Like these typical meme stocks, Trump Media is overvalued compared with its peers − other social media companies − at least by conventional Wall Street standards.

“With meme stocks, they thrive on attention,” Jay Ritter, a finance scholar at the University of Florida, told USA TODAY on Friday. “And the guilty-on-all-counts verdict was certainly not good attention, but sometimes any news is better than no news.”

Ritter predicts the volatility will continue in the short term before the stock eventually collapses in the long term.

After the verdict: Trump campaign doubles previous one-day record fundraising haul after guilty verdict

Trump Media (DJT) stock prices

How the parent company of Truth Social went public

The social media company was founded by Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss in 2021 after Trump was booted from other social media platforms following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump Media went public on the Nasdaq on March 26 this year through a merger with shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The merger was announced in 2021. The new company’s debut on the stock market was splashy, with Trump Media shares soaring, helped partly by – and to the delight of – his supporters.

But prices have fluctuated greatly since then. It has swung from a high of $79.38 per share at the close of March 26 to its lowest close of $22.84 on April 16.

Trump Media reports millions of dollars in losses

Regulatory filings show the company was operating at a loss in 2023, making about $4 million in revenue while losing more than $58 million. Accounting firm BF Borgers CPA PC said in a letter to Trump Media shareholders that the operating losses “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

That firm has since been shut down on allegations of “massive fraud,” according to an SEC release.

An unaudited filing shows that Trump Media reported a net loss of $327.6 million and brought in $770,500 in revenue in the first quarter of 2024.

Trump’s legal cases come with mounting price tag

Trump himself owns more than 114 million shares of Trump Media, though he cannot cash in on them until the end of September.

At one point, the Trump Media shares were a potential source of funding to put toward hefty legal fees in several cases he faces as a defendant. Trump was ordered to pay a combined $537 million across two civil cases earlier this year, both of which he is appealing.

But in April, Trump posted a reduced bond of $175 million fronted by California billionaire Don Hankey to prevent his assets from being seized in the New York fraud case.

Trump has also been ordered to pay $10,000 in fines for gag order violations in his hush money criminal trial so far. His hush money conviction sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

Contributing: Bailey Schulz, Jessica Guynn and Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

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