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Social media interest fuels jump in Tanger Factory

Kitco News

March 4 (Reuters) - Shares in real estate investment trust Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, which is currently heavily shorted, hit an over two-year peak on Thursday, buoyed by an unexpectedly strong retail interest on social media platforms.

Tanger’s stock rose as much as 26.3% to $22.40 in early trade on Thursday, its highest level since February 2019, before paring early gains. It was up a shade over 6% at 11.10 ET.

The latest rally comes on the heels of a similar social media-driven surge in shares of mortgage lenders such as Quicken Loans parent Rocket Companies and UWM Holdings earlier this week.

Mentions of North Carolina-based shopping center REIT Tanger on trading-focused social media site Stocktwits nearly quadrupled, with over 96% of the messages reflecting positive sentiment. A similar spike was also seen on Reddit group WallStreetBets.

Tanger is among the most heavily shorted U.S. stocks - short interest as a portion of the stock’s float stood at about 33% as on Feb. 12, according to Refinitiv Eikon’s latest data.

Tanger and fellow shopping center REIT Macerich Co were swept up in a rally among “meme stocks” in late January that also saw an unprecedented short squeeze in videogame retailer GameStop Corp.

A short squeeze is a phenomenon where investors betting against a company’s shares are forced to unwind their positions after a rally in the stock price, leading to the stock sharply rising further in value. (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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