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Meme Stocks Redux: Archegos-ViacomCBS Suit Is a Dumb Money Reminder

Stock markets in 2020 and 2021 exhibited way more than their fair share of stupid. There was the incredible rally in shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. after the car-rental company had declared bankruptcy. Also, the memestock craze that drove an ailing games retailer, GameStop Corp., to wild highs, blew up a hedge fund and inspired the fabulous finance comedy Dumb Money.

Then there was Archegos, the family office/personal hedge fund of Bill Hwang, whose collapse inflicted more than $10 billion of losses on the banks that had helped build his trades. The repercussions of this failure haven’t finished: On Friday, a New York appeals court gave the go-ahead for investors in ViacomCBS Inc. to sue banks that underwrote nearly $3 billion of share sales for the media company just days before they dumped billions of dollars’ worth of its stock linked to trades by Archegos at the end of March 2021.

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