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Trump Media's wild rollercoaster ride: Why volatile DJT stock is gaining steam

Ahead of this week's presidential debate with President Joe Biden, shares of Donald Trump’s namesake social media company gained ground again Tuesday.

Trump Media & Technology Group rose for the third straight trading day, closing up 9% to $36.37. On Monday, shares, which trade under the vanity ticker DJT on the Nasdaq, jumped 21% to close at $33.52.

The stock rally comes after weeks of steep declines that cut the stock price in half and knocked shareholders for a loop.

Contributing to the sagging share price was last week’s news that early investors could potentially sell tens of millions of shares – a development Trump Media previously warned could result “in a significant decline in the public trading price of our common stock.” Trump and other insiders are restricted from selling stock until September unless the board waives that restriction or moves up the lock-up period.

Trump Media & Technology Group stock's wild swings

The development only added to the uncertainty that has surrounded the Trump Media stock since it began trading in March after the merger with shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp.

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Trump Media put a positive spin on the news, saying it could rake in an additional $247 million in cash if early investors converted all their warrants into shares. On Friday, it said it expected to receive nearly $70 million from the recent cash exercise of warrants.

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump poses for photos with supporters at sandwich stop Tony and Nick's steaks on June 22, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump poses for photos with supporters at sandwich stop Tony and Nick's steaks on June 22, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wild swings like these are nothing new for Trump Media shareholders who have been taken for a turbulent ride. Since going public earlier this year, the stock has soared as high as $79.38 and dropped as low as $22.55.

The stock’s fortunes track Trump’s. The long slide began following the former president’s guilty verdict on all 34 felony counts in his criminal hush money trial.

The former president and GOP frontrunner is a majority stakeholder in Trump Media, the company behind Trump’s go-to social media platform Truth Social. He will debate Biden in the CNN presidential debate on Thursday in the first match-up between the pair of the 2024 election cycle.

Trump Media valuation is 'wildly high,' Trump critic says

Trump Media’s volatility stems, in part, from the company’s track record.

In competing for ad dollars and eyeballs with big-name social media companies like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube, Trump Media is a distant laggard.

It generates little revenue – it reported a first-quarter net loss of $327.6 million on less than $1 million in revenue – and it has a fraction of the users claimed by major social media platforms.

Trump Media share price down 39%: Why the DJT stock keeps falling

Trump Media is valued by Wall Street at $6 billion. LinkedIn co-founder and Biden donor Reid Hoffman called that valuation “wildly high.”

“The Truth Social numbers are so absurdly out of the realm of normal business,” Hoffman, now a director at Microsoft and a venture capital investor, told CNN.

“Trump Media is probably more appropriately valued close to $40 million,” he said. “Truth Social is burning through hundreds of millions of dollars with nothing to show for it in user engagement, user growth or even potential revenue.”

Trump Media officials have blamed the stock’s volatility on “naked” short selling, an illegal form of short selling.

Trump Media Chief Executive Officer Devin Nunes wrote letters to Congress and other regulators asking for an investigation into the short selling allegation.

Short sellers don't actually own the shares, but borrow them and then sell them, betting the stock will fall so they can buy back the shares at a lower price and keep the difference. “Naked” short selling involves betting a stock will fall without borrowing or owning the shares.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DJT stock price rally: Inside Trump Media's NASDAQ rollercoaster