Trump's social media stock rose 16%, still down 67% from its $80 peak

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Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. shares rose 16% on Wednesday to recoup a sliver of the billions in market value it shed in the three weeks since its debut as a public company.

Former president Donald Trump’s media company closed at $26.40, up from its Tuesday close at $22.84, in its best day debuting after a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. The rebound came as more than 13 million shares changed hands, while warrants tied to the company rose 30% to $11.45.

The swings extend a trend for firms that use special purpose acquisition companies to go public, with a growing number of so-called de-SPACs seeing red-hot starts quickly flip to downward spirals. Even with Wednesday’s bounce, the stock has still shed some $5.4 billion from a peak last month, with the value of Trump’s position dropping to $2.1 billion.

As part of the deal’s structure, Trump Media insiders — which include the former president — are barred from selling shares until September. However, the board could waive sales restrictions that would open the door for many of the biggest holders to cash out once a filing is deemed effective by US regulators.

On Tuesday, Trump Media said it had finished the research phase of its new live TV streaming platform. The underlying operations have mostly struggled since launching, with Trump Media losing more than $50 million last year while generating just $4.1 million in revenue, according to regulatory filings.

With shares hanging onto a 51% gain this year, the stock’s volatility has made it a difficult trade for Wall Street pros. It’s among the market’s most expensive shorts, with financing fees topping 700% earlier this month, and options underlying the stock driving the likes of erstwhile “Bond King” Bill Gross to opt to sell the costly derivatives in place of making a direct bet on the stock.

Trump is facing four criminal prosecutions as he campaigns to return to the White House. The first criminal trial started Monday in Manhattan, where he’s accused of falsifying business records to hide a hush-money payment to a porn star before the 2016 election. He described the case as an outrage and a persecution.

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