What happened

Shares of documentary streaming service CuriosityStream (NASDAQ:CURI) popped on Monday morning as investors are starting to notice this small, sleepy company. There are rumors that a market research company named it as a top pick. Whether or not that rumor is true, the stock is quickly gaining a following on social media due to its long-term potential, sending shares higher. As of 11 a.m. EST today, CuriosityStream stock was up 19%.

So what

According to rumors circulating on social media, Capital Market Laboratories named CuriosityStream as a top pick. But you'll have to subscribe to its CML Pro service to find out if that's true and if so, why. Since I'm personally not a subscriber, this could be a baseless rumor for all I know. However, I do know that shout-outs like this are helping CuriosityStream attract the attention of retail investors, even though it hasn't released any news. My evidence for this is the stock's surging trading volume.

A businessman rides a rocket ship expelling cash exhaust over a multi-colored bar chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to Yahoo Finance, the trading volume for CuriosityStream stock today is eight times its daily average, and it's only 11 a.m.! In other words, shares of CuriosityStream are changing hands a lot today, an indication that many investors are just discovering this company. Remember: It just came public via a special purpose acquisition company in October.

Now what

With a small-cap stock like CuiosityStream, it doesn't take much of a push to get momentum rolling. Anyone with a large-enough following can say something positive about the company, causing shares to pop like they are today. While this is great if you're a shareholder, the timing is impossible to predict, unless you're the one doing the promoting. 

While it's a small-cap stock today, some believe CuriosityStream has large-cap potential. That's because the company is growing rapidly, has long-term deals in place with universities, and is more profitable than some of its peers due to the cheap production cost of documentaries compared to scripted content. These real-world business fundamentals are what investors should be focused on both today and in the future, rather than simply buying a stock with upward momentum.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.