Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why is Vonage up 500% in 5 days?!

As I begin this, Vonage is trading at over $2.40 in the aftermarket.

Vonage was trading below $.40 just five days ago.

The (investment) world is looking for an explanation. Barron's tech writers have been blogging frequently over the past few days, marveling at the huge move. The Yahoo! message boards are abuzz.

To me, this looks like a euphorically-driven chain reaction.

A short squeeze might have triggered this rally, but it isn't responsible for the majority of today's move. According to Yahoo! Finance, around the end of July, there were 4 million shares sold short. 41 million VG shares traded today, so short covering can't be credited with this move.

There also hasn't been any significant news within the past few days. VG reported optimistic results in the recent past, and they also announced a new international phone service last week. Vonage's comment on the situation seems to imply that the entire world just realized these couple tidbits and all tried to enter at once. I'm not buying that. I think that's the equivalent of saying "we have no idea why our stock is up 500% in a week, but we're just as estatic about it as you are!"

So my conclusion is that this is a euphoric rally driven by people going long. Owners at $.40 (who may have been underwater from previous purchases) probably aren't selling into strength, driving price even higher. Coverage in the media likely attracts new investors to this hot stock.

VG has been prone to such explosive moves; I was lucky enough to own it in the past prior to a positive announcement; shares jumped 100%.

Buying (or shorting) VG today or tomorrow is simply gambling. Without a clear driver of this extreme movement, there's no concrete reason why shares are worth so much more today than they were last week. At the same time, shorting against such powerful upward movement is insane. Three times during the day today, VG moved up over $.20 (representing 20+% moves) in mere minutes. That's not the kind of momentum I'd want to be shorting into.

This is certainly an interesting story, and it'll be interesting to see how and where things settle down. Stay tuned.

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