Shares of Meta Materials, a Canadian material science company, soared on Thursday after traders piled into the stock, apparently confusing it with Facebook after the social media company announced it was changing its name to “Meta.”
Facebook revealed its new corporate name Thursday afternoon after weeks of negative headlines, rebranding the owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as “Meta” in a nod to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a virtual reality metaverse.
Facebook said its stock will begin trading under the ticker “MVRS” instead of “FB” on Dec. 1.
That didn’t stop jumpy traders from sending shares of Meta Materials, which trades under the ticker symbol “MMAT,” up as much as 25 percent at one point in after-hours trading on Thursday evening.
That was on top of a 4.8 percent gain the company saw in midday trading.
By Friday morning, shares of Meta — which is headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, about 3,800 miles from Silicon Valley — had pared back from its high and were trading almost 5 percent higher in premarket hours.
Meta Materials, which makes technology used for things like “transparently blocking a specific color of light, or invisibly heating a window in a car,” according to its website, does have something in common with Facebook.
The company said in a press release earlier on Thursday that it will be represented in an online panel next week alongside Facebook Reality Labs to discuss the future of augmented reality eyewear.
Amateur traders on the subreddit r/MMAT wondered if it was the Facebook name change driving the stock move upward.
“Is the AH price action real, or are people buying MMAT thinking they are getting Facebook for really cheap?” one commenter wrote. “I’d love for the price action to be for real – but have seen this before with zoom where people buy the wrong stock…”
Confusion over ticker symbols has occasionally led to outsized spikes in some stocks.
In 2019, a penny stock associated with an obscure Chinese wireless communications company called Zoom Technologies that was trading under the ticker “ZOOM” soared more than 80 percent.
That spike came as a hot new video communications called Zoom Video Communications began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker “ZM.”
Another apparent mix up happened in February when shares of a tiny branding and communications firm called Clubhouse Media spiked as investors apparently confused it with the then-trendy social audio app Clubhouse, which is not traded publicly.
The spike in the similarly named stock came a day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that he would be hosting a conversation on Clubhouse.
In another Musk-driven bout of trader confusion, shares of Signal Advance soared more than 1,000 percent after Musk touted an unrelated app called Signal, which provides encrypted messaging services and is not publicly traded.
The confusion got so bad that Signal had to step in and clarify that not only is it not publicly traded, but it’s not even a for-profit company.
“It’s understandable that people want to invest in Signal’s record growth, but this isn’t us,” Signal tweeted. “We’re an independent 501c3 and our only investment is in your privacy.”