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UPDATE 1-GameStop swings between gains and losses, capping volatile week

(Updates with price moves, quote)

March 26 (Reuters) - “Meme” stock-in-chief GameStop swung between gains and losses on Friday, with the shares reversing course after rising 19% earlier in the session.

Shares of the video game retailer were last down 4.1% at $176.18 in late afternoon trading. The stock, which had hit a record high of $483 in January, tumbled 34% the day after the company’s Tuesday earnings report only to roar back more than 50% on Thursday. The shares are on track for a 10.9% weekly loss.

Retail investors on forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets have helped send the company’s shares, which are up 849% year-to-date, on a wild ride in 2021.

The stock’s gyrations have also attracted traders seeking to benefit from its outsize price moves.

“I have no problem whatsoever ... trading the volatility that is going on in GameStop right now,” said Jeff Tomasulo, CEO of Vespula Capital. “We’re not even looking at this fundamentally anymore because it’s just gotten so insane.”

Chewy Inc co-founder Ryan Cohen is seeking to transform the retailer into an e-commerce firm that can take on big-box store rivals such as Target Corp and Walmart Inc .

Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell has departed and the company said this week it had appointed former Amazon.com executive Jenna Owens as chief operating officer.

“It’s fascinating because it seems that the Reddit army is doubling down and believing that the company is going to be able to shift their business and pivot to e-commerce,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Short interest in GameStop has fallen to about 15% of the stock’s float from a peak of 141% in the first week of 2021, according to data from financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

A swarm of buying in late January forced bearish investors to unwind their bets against the stock, resulting in a surge of more than 1,600% that month.

GameStop, which added three new directors including Cohen to its board in January as part of a settlement, said in its annual regulatory filing here on Tuesday it expects eight incumbent board members to retire at its 2021 annual meeting in June. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sinead Carew and Aleksandra Michalska; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Steve Orlofsky)

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