The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has temporarily suspended trading in 15 securities whose prices were allegedly inflated artificially.
In a press statement, the U.S. regulator notes that the stocks were characterized by questionable trading and social media activity. SEC says the suspension comes after attempts to exploit investors during the recent market volatility.
According to the agency, it is actively working to combat market manipulation during periods of volatility, focusing on unusual trading activity and the use of social media platforms.
SEC acting director of enforcement Mellissa Hodgman affirms that the agency will move quickly to halt the trading of stocks that are hyped through social media.
“We proactively monitor for suspicious trading activity tied to stock promotions on social media and act quickly to stop that trading when appropriate to safeguard the public interest,” said Melissa Hodgman.
The suspended securities
The suspended securities include Bebida Beverage (OTCMKTS: BBDA), Blue Sphere Corporation (OTCMKTS: BLSP), House Global (OTCMKTS: EHOS, Eventure Interactive (OTCMKTS: EVTI), Eyes on the Go (OTCMKTS: AXCG), Green Energy Enterprises (OTCMKTS: GYOG), Helix Wind (OTCMKTS: HLXW), International Power (OTCMKTS: IPWG), Marani Brands (OTCMKTS: MRIB), MediaTechnics (OTCMKTS: MEDT), Net Talk.com (OTCMKTS: NTLK), Patten Energy Solutions Group (OTCMKTS: PTTN), PTA Holdings (OTCMKTS: PTAH), Universal Apparel & Textile (OTCMKTS: DKGR) and Wisdom Homes of America (OTCMKTS: WOFA).
The order adds that none of the companies has filed any information with the SEC or OTC Markets for over a year. The securities bring the figure to 24 after the SEC recently halted trading in eight other stocks.
The regulator recently suspended trading in Bangi Inc. (OTCMKTS: BNGI), Sylios Corp. (OTCMKTS: UNGS); Marathon Group Corp. (OTCMKTS: PDPR); Affinity Beverage Group Inc. (OTCMKTS: ABVG); All Grade Mining Inc. (OTCMKTS: HYII); and SpectraScience Inc. (OTCMKTS: SCIE).
The latest action by the U.S. regulator continues to put a focus on stocks whose price has been driven mainly by social media pumping. Social media users have been targeting penny stocks, driving a surge in price and trading volume.
Fallout from GameStop frenzy
This comes after the fallout from the GameStop frenzy, where the stock surged by at least 1,500% this year. Day traders inspired by activity on the WallSreetBets subreddit banded together to drive long-ignored stocks to new highs.
Since the frenzy, SEC has been making attempts to remove moribund companies from exchanges. The agency has expressed concerns about retail investors suffering losses incase of wild trading.