GameStop Investors Who Bet Big—and Lost Big

GameStop Investors Who Bet Big—and Lost Big
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Salvador Vergara was so enthusiastic about GameStop Corp. in late January that he took out a $20,000 personal loan and used it to purchase shares. Then the buzzy stock plunged nearly 80%.

GameStop’s volatile ride is hitting the portfolios of individual investors like Mr. Vergara who purchased the stock in a social-media-fueled frenzy. These casual traders say GameStop was their “YOLO,” or “you only live once,” trade. They bought around its late January peak, betting it would continue its astronomical climb. While some cashed out before it crashed, others who hung onto their shares are in the red.

Mr. Vergara, a 25-year-old security guard in Virginia, started investing four years ago after deciding he wanted to retire young. To save money, he…



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