Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin appears to be quite the influencer — even when it comes to penny stocks.
Little known Michigan-based animal health and veterinarian penny stock Zomedica surged nearly 250% since earning a mention from Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin last week. In a video re-posted to YouTube, Baskin delivers a glowing review for the company, saying “I don’t know if you guys have heard about Zomedica, but they help our veterinarians and our furry friends” and that she is “definitely invested in finding out more” about the company.
But Yahoo Finance has confirmed that what appeared to be an endorsement from Baskin was nothing more than the result of a request from someone on Cameo, a platform where users can pay for video messages.
“It was a Cameo they paid for,” Baskin told Yahoo Finance. “I don’t hold any stock in the company and don’t make stock recommendations.”
CONFIRMED: Carole Baskin tells me her Zomedica mention that may have triggered a 230% rally in the penny stock came from a $299 Cameo request
“It was a Cameo they paid for. I don’t hold any stock in the company and don’t make stock recommendations.” https://t.co/6t4vRujGBl
— Zack Guzman (@zGuz) January 12, 2021
Zomedica (ZOM) did not immediately respond to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment to ascertain whether the Cameo request came from the company, or someone at the company. It’s also possible the request could have come from an outside investor looking to spark an increase in the share price that sat at just $0.40 last week. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company, which went public in 2016, has yet to achieve any revenue, according to financial statements highlighted by Yahoo Finance’s Myles Udland.
The penny stock was also among the most actively traded by volume on popular retail investor platform Robinhood, according to analytics firm Breakout Point. It’s not unusual to see penny stocks like Zomedica appear on a list of most active tickers, but as Themis Trading’s Joseph Saluzzi points out, it is very rare to see those stocks account for such a large share of the overall market’s trading volume as it did Monday. Zomedica shares, along with five other stocks trading under $1, represented 18% of the entire market.
6 of the top 10 most active stocks yesterday were priced under $1 and combined for 2.6 billion shares or 18% of the entire stock market. pic.twitter.com/mHdPsF5ygW
— Joe Saluzzi (@JoeSaluzzi) January 12, 2021
A video request from Baskin on Cameo currently costs $299. Due to the number of requests for paid messages the Netflix star receives, Baskin says she wasn’t able to recall who ordered the message that requested she seemingly endorse the upcoming launch of Zomedica’s testing platform for disorders in dogs and cats. In Baskin’s video, she echoes that “they think it’s going to be a really big seller.”
“It’s going to be a good one. I just feel it in my cat bones,” Baskin says, before imploring viewers to check it out.
Reached after Zomedica’s 40% rise in trading Tuesday, Baskin expressed her doubts that she alone could have influenced the excitement.
“I find it hard to believe that my Cameo would affect anyone’s stocks,” she said.
However, in a sign that speculation may have reached a tipping point, that wouldn’t even be the first instance of misplaced investor enthusiasm this week — and it’s Tuesday. On Monday, shares in little known health care tech company Signal Advance plummeted 50% after it became apparent investors mistakenly piled into that stock following a tweet last week from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk tweeted about an encrypted messaging service, called Signal, in a Friday tweet that simply said, “Use Signal.” That sparked a nearly 400% rally the following trading day in Signal Advance shares.
Whether Baskin’s shout out results in a sustained rally or a reversal in Zomedica shares remains to be seen.
Zack Guzman is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live as well as a senior writer covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.