By Aaron Saldanha and Sinéad Carew
(Reuters) -Shares of movie theater chain AMC Entertainment closed lower on Friday, snapping a four-day rally that saw them gain 116% on the week.
After vaulting to a record high during the session, AMC's shares finished down 1.5% at $26.12. The stock's weekly gain was its largest since January.
Shares in GameStop, meanwhile, closed down 12.6% on Friday at $222 after hitting a session peak of $268.79. For the week, GameStop shares registered a gain of 25%, their biggest weekly advance since mid-March.
The video game retailer has been at the heart of the so-called "stonks" retail-trading mania this year.
"This is confirmation we're seeing retail investors coming back into the equity market after being sidelined," said Viraj Patel, global macro strategist for Vanda Research. "It feels like a deja-vu of what happened in January,"
Investors betting against AMC and Gamestop had a rough week with AMC short-sellers suffering $1.2 billion in mark-to-market losses for the week while GameStop shorts were down $518.6 million, according to the latest data from S3 Partners.
Retail traders' shift into so-called meme stocks - shares favored by the denizens of online communities such as Reddit's WallStreetBets - comes on the back of a selloff in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies whose prices have slumped in recent weeks.
Bitcoin, the world's biggest cryptocurrency, was up about 1% for the week.
AMC saw some $127 million in net inflows from retail investors on Thursday, its biggest single-day net inflows since Jan. 27, according to data from Vanda Research. AMC rose 35.5% on Thursday, adding more than $3.3 billion to its market value, according to data from Refinitiv.
With 656 million shares changing hands on Friday, AMC was the most traded stock on U.S. exchanges for the second day in a row.
Data also showed the cinema operator was the most traded stock on brokerage Robinhood's popular trading app, as well as on that of UK-based Freetrade, where buy orders have outnumbered sell orders two-to-one.
On trading-focused social media site Stocktwits (ST), message volume related to AMC spiked by nearly 40%, with more than 97% of messages reflecting positive sentiment towards the stock.
"AMC - why sell now when u can sell later for much more, ya (k)now?," user lilant135 wrote, while fellow retail trader BossNoHugo chimed in, "imagine selling because a stranger on ST told u to do so."
(Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru, Sinéad Carew in New York, Sujata Rao in London; Writing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)