Trump Media Stock Falls After Guilty Verdict

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For former President Donald J. Trump, bad news can often be good because it rallies his most loyal supporters to his side. The same holds for many investors in Trump Media & Technology Group, the social media company in which he is the largest shareholder.

Shares of the parent company of Truth Social swung between gains and losses on Friday, the day after a jury in New York convicted Mr. Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal.

The company’s stock is typically volatile, so large moves are not unusual. Even so, recent trading was notable: The stock fell as much as 14 percent in after-hours trading immediately after the verdict was announced on Thursday , then climbed back to open higher on Friday morning before sinking anew.

The shares ended Friday down about 5 percent at $49.

Since its market debut in March, Trump Media has become the main source of Mr. Trump’s wealth. On paper, his majority stake in the company is worth more than $5.5 billion, but he cannot sell or borrow against these shares until September.

On Truth Social, which has become Mr. Trump’s personal megaphone to rail against critics, many users rallied to his defense. Some were also investors in Trump Media, who said they bought more shares as a way to show their support for Mr. Trump.

One poster said: “We are all disgusted by this sham verdict and want to live in a world with a better and strong America so we are donating to Trumps campaign and buying shares.” Another said that buying the stock was “the only peaceful protest we have left.” On Friday morning, some of the trending topics of discussion on Truth Social were: “Trump2024,” “MAGA” and “IStandwithTrump.”

Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign immediately began to fund raise off the guilty verdict and some of those ads appeared on Truth Social. Several described Mr. Trump as a “political prisoner.” Some Truth Social users posted screenshots of email messages that they received from Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign committee thanking them for their donations.

Trump Media had no comment on the verdict. But Devin Nunes, the company’s chief executive officer and a former Republican congressman, posted on Truth Social that the case against Mr. Trump looked “like something out of the Soviet Union” and he blamed Democrats for bringing it.

Trump Media is richly valued relative to the size of its business. At the moment, Truth Social is the only product for a company that is worth more than $8 billion in market value, despite reporting steep losses and modest revenue. In the first quarter of this year, the company recorded $770,000 in ad revenue from Truth Social, a 30 percent drop from the same period a year ago.

Over the past few weeks, the company and Mr. Nunes have repeatedly complained about the “apparent manipulation” of its stock and criticized bearish investors known as short-sellers who profit when a stock falls. It has urged lawmakers and regulators to open investigations into the matter.

Regulatory filings for Trump Media long have warned investors about the risk of Mr. Trump being convicted in one of the four criminal cases against in him state and federal courts. A recent filing said: “An adverse outcome in one or more of the ongoing legal proceedings in which President Donald J. Trump is involved could negatively impact” the company and the Truth Social platform.



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