Mets owner Steve Cohen invests in 24-7 stock-trading platform

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Hedge fund billionaire and Mets owner Steve Cohen is investing in a startup that wants to make 24-7 stock trading a reality — cashing in on the armchair-trading craze that heated up during COVID lockdowns.

Amid Reddit boards stuffed with trading tips that have targeted beaten-down stocks left for dead only to see the companies — like GameStop and AMC — roar back to life, Cohen and 24 Exchange are betting the enthusiasm exists to support 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week trading.

Cohen is leading a $14.25 million funding round for 24 Exchange through his fintech venture capital firm Point72 Ventures, both companies announced on Wednesday. The company is seeking to effectively become its own version of a stock exchange similar to the New York Stock Exchange of the NASDAQ Stock Market.

In the US, the trading of stocks and securities is generally limited to weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time — with limited opportunities to buy and sell shares before and after the daily sessions on Wall Street. There is no trading on weekends or federal bank holidays.

Pete Casella, a partner at Point 72 Ventures, told the Wall Street Journal that there is a large pool of nonprofessional traders with day jobs who will be eager to take advantage of the chance to buy and sell securities from their home at all hours of the day.

Mets owner Steve Cohen wears a mask while seated outside next to the New York Mets mascot
Mets owner Steve Cohen is leading a $14.25 million funding round for 24 Exchange, a new 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week trading platform.
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“When you look at the growth of equities trading over the last couple of years, a lot of that has been the increased role of retail,” Casella told the Journal. “These are people with day jobs, so they want to trade at night and on weekends.”

Skeptics say that professional traders on Wall Street are largely opposed to the idea of seven-day-a-week, 24-hour trading, particularly due to the thin volume and the potential volatility that could jolt markets.

Earlier this year, major investment firms on Wall Street were rocked by small, retail investors who banded together on Reddit to pump up the stock price of GameStop, a brick-and-mortar video game retailer.

Exterior of GameStop store
Cohen and 24 Exchange hope to capitalize on the kind of interest in investing that led retail traders to band together on Reddit to support GameStop and then invest in the stock.
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Using the “wallstreetbets” Reddit chat room, the investors used modest sums to send the stock price surging by more than 2,000 percent — which resulted in massive losses at some blue-chip firms that sold the stock short, or bet that it would fall.

One of those firms, hedge fund giant Melvin Capital, closed out its short position in GameStop at a loss. Cohen’s Point72 provided Melvin Capital with a $750 million infusion of emergency cash in light of its losses with GameStop and other short bets.

Already, crypto enthusiasts can use peer-to-peer networks to trade digital currencies 24 hours a day. And since its launch last year, the Bermuda-based 24 Exchange has given users a platform to trade both cryptocurrency and foreign currency.

Exterior of an AMC theater
Retail traders’ support of the struggling AMC theater chain is another example of an enthusiasm for trading that the Mets’ owner hopes to cash in on.
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In October, it sought approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to operate round-the-clock stock trading service in the US. The SEC approval process could take months.

The investment in 24 Exchange is Point72 Ventures’ second major foray into the crypto space in recent months.

In August, Cohen’s firm, which has $22.1 billion under management, led a $21 million funding round for Messari, the data startup that offers crypto buyers an online database through an open-source library. 

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