What happened

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares are on the move on Monday, climbing as much as 58% higher before falling back significantly. There is some company-specific news and an analyst price target raise, but the move appears at least partially tied to ticker confusion on what is a very chaotic day on Wall Street.

So what

Bed Bath & Beyond came into 2021 as an intriguing idea for a retail turnaround investment, the stock having nearly doubled in the second half of 2020 as the home goods retailer shed some underperforming businesses and streamlined operations.

Interior of a retail location.

Image source: Getty Images.

But none of that work could have prepared investors for what has happened in recent days. The stock has more than doubled in 2021, and for a moment in the last five days was up more than 75%. The reason appears to be tied to WallStreetBets, a Reddit discussion community that is also credited with giving a boost to GameStop (GME -2.06%) and a number of other stocks.

Bed Bath & Beyond fits the profile of a stock that would attract WallStreetBets' attention because it has a substantial short interest, or investors betting against the stock. Therefore, a sudden move higher could cause a short squeeze that makes the stock surge.

Analysts at Loop Capital on Monday did raise their price target for Bed Bath & Beyond shares to $30, from $18, keeping a hold rating on the shares. The stock's surge on Monday easily surpasses that target.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares might also have been a mistaken beneficiary of the subreddit's interest in shares of BlackBerry (BB -0.43%), a stock that is also moving higher on Monday. Bed Bath & Beyond's BBBY ticker could be confused for BlackBerry's.

Now what

As retail turnaround stories go, Bed Bath & Beyond remains a company worth watching. But there is no way the business fundamentals can justify this move.

Those who bought in six months ago in hopes of a rebound can't be blamed for selling into this rally and booking a profit, and anyone excited about the business case for Bed Bath & Beyond would be well served waiting on the sidelines until we have a clearer picture of how this volatile period will play out.