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Why Blue Apron Holding Inc. Stock Popped Today

By Jeremy Bowman - Sep 20, 2018 at 4:24PM

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Shares of the meal-kit service surged on an apparent short squeeze.

What happened

Shares of Blue Apron Holding Inc. (APRN 7.74%) were rising Thursday on what looked like a short squeeze in the much-maligned meal kit company's stock. As of 3:29 p.m. EDT the stock was up 11.3% on above-average volume trading.

So what

Though there was no news out on the meal-kit provider today, but shares nonetheless surged this afternoon following a morning lull that actually saw the stock hit an all-time low at $1.64. The stock then began rising for no clear reason shortly before noon EDT, reaching $1.90 a share at 1:30 p.m. EDT, marking a gain of 16% in about an hour-and-a-half.

A collection of ingredients from a Blue Apron meal kit including salmon, vegetables, and goat cheese.

Image source: Blue Apron.

Blue Apron shares are heavily shorted with 30.4% of the float being bet against, which may have triggered a short squeeze as the stock hit an all-time low. Blue Apron shares were also trading with higher volume than normal, seeing 5 million shares exchanged shortly before the market close, about 50% above its usual volume of 3.4 million.

Now what

On Twitter, there was speculation that the spike in Blue Apron shares could be tied to Amazon.com's plans to open as many as 3,000 cashierless convenience stores while others joked that it could evolve into a marijuana delivery business. However, there seems to be little connection in the movement to other news or market activity especially since the stock didn't start to rise until noon EDT, well after the news about Amazon came out.

Given the lack of news, the high trading volume, and Blue Apron's history of volatility, the most likely cause of today's rise appears to be a short squeeze. However, today's move does nothing to alter the company's fundamentals as Blue Apron is still struggling to grow its customer base and reach break-even on the bottom line.

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