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The price of Trump Media shares closed trading Friday down nearly 20% for the week.

DJT shares, which dropped by more than 8% within the first hour of trading Friday, eked out a slight gain by the end of the day.

Shares closed up 18 cents at $32.59, an increase of around .5%.

But that closing price still was more than $38 lower than what Trump Media shares first sold for when the social media company began public trading on March 26.

Shares of the company, which owns the Truth Social app, have dropped by 47.4% so far in April wiping out billions of dollars in the company’s market capitalization.

Former President Donald Trump is the biggest shareholder in the company, owning nearly 60% of its stock.

On Monday, Trump is set to start jury selection for his criminal trial in Manhattan Supreme Court on charges of falsifying business records related to a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump Media on March 26 opened its first day of trading with a price of $70.90 per share, hitting a high of nearly $80 later that same day. During trading that day, the company’s market capitalization topped $9.5 billion.

By Friday’s close, Trump Media’s market cap stood at $4.45 billion — a whopping $5 billion lower than the high it hit more than two weeks ago.

Trump Media began public trading a day after it merged with the shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp., which was created to help a private firm go public.

Trump Media last year had revenue of just $4.1 million, and reported a net loss of $58 million.

That performance and the relatively high price of the company’s stock have drawn keen interest from short sellers, who make trades that are effectively bets that a company’s share price will drop.

As of this week, so-called short interest in DJT was $208.7 million, with 5.44 million shares shorted, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners, a leading financial data marketplace platform.

There were fewer than 100,000 shares of Trump Media available to borrow to sell short. Traders who want to sell stock short must borrow shares to sell, with the expectation that they will later buy back the same number of shares at a lower price to return them to the lender, pocketing the price difference between the trades.

Trump Media has 136.7 million outstanding shares.

A week ago, traders who wanted short Trump Media shares had to pay up to 900% in annual financing costs, meaning they would need a then-$30-per-share drop within a month to break even on their trade, Dusaniwsky said.

Since then, however, financing costs for short trades in Trump Media had sharply fallen, to 200%.

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Trump Media was launched after the social media giant X, then known as Twitter, banned Trump from that app on the heels of the Jan. 6, 2021, invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

Trump, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, frequently posts on Truth Social. He has used the app to condemn the four pending criminal cases he faces, along with civil lawsuits that have resulted in judgments against him topping $500 million.

Trump this week hosted a party at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, to celebrate Trump Media.

“I think that Truth has become so important. It’s strong, it’s dedicated,” Trump told attendees, according to a report on the RSBN news site.

“Remember we have no debt, and we have over $200 million dollars in cash, which is very liquid,” Trump said of the company, whose CEO is former Republican congressman Devin Nunes.

— Additional reporting by CNBC’s Nick Wells



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