Alaska’s Permanent Fund Corp. owns GameStop stock, avoids volatile trading frenzies in early 2021

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 7:12 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The surge in GameStop stock prices began in early 2021 — ballooning from around $20 per share to an all-time high of $347 on Jan. 27. On Feb. 8, the stock was worth around $60 per share when markets closed.

The volatile, month-long fluctuation in prices was brought on when retail investors banned together in group forums on Reddit to coordinate the push, after discovering that the video game chain had been “shorted” by a billion-dollar hedge fund — meaning they bet against GameStop, borrowing and selling shares at the market rate while planning to purchase and return them once the going price has dropped.

During the frenzied trading period that followed, it was revealed that the State of Alaska had previously acquired a significant amount of GameStop stock. The exact amount of shares cannot be determined as those numbers are apt to change based on market conditions. Angela Rodell, the CEO of the Permanent Fund Corp., estimates that the stocks were worth more than $30 million at one point; however, cashing in on the unexpected spike was not a viable option for the APFC.

The shares in question belong to a much larger index fund, which is managed passively. That means the corporation cannot simply pick and choose which stock to sell and when, and according to Rodell, that’s not the nature of their business.

“We have over 700 accounts, we have 11,000 different names that we invest in, in the public market alone,” she said. “We are managing for a long term return and long term goals. We are not day traders looking at individuals stocks and picking winners and losers daily.”

Rodell also told Alaska’s News Source on Monday that the $30 million dollars that those GameStop stocks were worth would have made a minimal impact on the overall value of the Permanent Fund. Doing some quick math in her head, she figured that money would account for around 4/100ths of a single percent of the fund’s value.

“It’s a huge amount of money, but in the scheme of things, you won’t see this change the calculations on POMV,” she said. “You won’t see it change the calculations on the statutory dividend formula ... things like that ... because it’s too small.”

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