Stocks were lower at the open on Thursday with the Dow dropping 112 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 slid by 0.85%, while the Nasdaq fell by 1.7%.
Bitcoin is down more than 5% at the time of writing to $32,723.29 as investors sell risk assets amid a broader market decline and growing fears that the COVID-19 delta variant could slow the economic comeback. “We’re consolidating in here between [$30,000 and $35,000]. What we’re seeing is Asia sells it off, and then the U.S. buys it back. China has declared war on crypto as part of this broader cold war that we’re getting into, and so I think we’re still digesting that,” said Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital CEO. Granite Investment Advisors’ Timothy Lesko said, “The market has been in one of those ‘Goldilocks’ stretches when economic growth was accelerating while inflation and interest rates remained low. Increased COVID cases, particularly Delta Variants have caused concerns that the economic acceleration will slow. A Few weeks ago the porridge was too hot, now it seems it is too cold. With markets at all time highs and some valuations stretched, there is little room for economic slowdown in this market.”
Jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, with the Labor Department reporting initial claims of 373,000 for the week ended July 3. The reading may hint that the rapid job growth seen in the first half of the year could slow in the months ahead. “While the pace of firings is still above the 200k range we saw pre-COVID, it actually is only slightly above the average seen in the expansion in the mid [2000s] where from ’03-’08 it averaged 335k,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “Continuing claims continue to fall as about half the states have gotten rid of expanded benefits and there is clearly a large mount of job openings for the taking with companies utilizing more enticements such as hiring bonuses to bring people back.”
Google-parent Alphabet’s shares are down more than 1% this morning after three dozen state attorneys general sued the company alleging that it illegally abused its power over the sale and distribution of apps through the Google Play store on mobile devices. The case marks the fourth such antitrust lawsuit lodged against the company in just the last year. The state attorneys general asserted in the complaint that Google uses anticompetitive tactics to thwart competition and ensure that developers have no choice but to use the Google Play store to reach users, with the company then collecting “extravagant” commissions of up to 30% on app purchases. “The massive price Google and Apple charge app users and developers is only possible because of the stranglehold these companies have over the way apps are delivered on mobile phones,” said Alex Harman, competition policy advocate at Public Citizen. “This abuse needs to be stopped.”
Beyond Meat is launching its new breaded faux-chicken tenders today in nearly 400 restaurants across the U.S. The tenders will be the first Beyond chicken substitute available in more than two years after the company discontinued its frozen chicken strips in 2019 to focus on its Beyond Burger. “We’re innovating the poultry market with the new Beyond Chicken Tenders—the result of our tireless pursuit for excellence and growth at Beyond Meat,” Dariush Ajami, Chief Innovation Officer at Beyond Meat. said in a press release. “As with all our products, Beyond Chicken Tenders offer delicious taste and an exceptional culinary experience, along with strong nutritional benefits. Innovation is at the heart of Beyond Meat, and Beyond Chicken Tenders are the latest example of our mission to create groundbreaking, tasty options that are better for people and for our planet.”
And Tesla debuted a cheaper version of its Model Y SUV in China after a string of negative publicity hit customer sentiment towards the EV pioneer in the country. The new standard-range version of the Model Y starts at 276,000 yuan ($42,600) after government subsidies, and can run for 525 kilometers. “China has the world-leading new-energy market and is the first market outside the U.S. that Tesla owns a locally produced product,” Tesla said in a statement, adding that the company will “continue its investment in China and carry on its corporate mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy and helping to boost the realization of a carbon-neutral target.”
Stocks We’re Watching
Opiant Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: OPNT): Opiant shares gained as much as 50% yesterday after the company announced positive top-line results from its confirmatory pharmacokinetic (“PK”) study for OPNT003, nasal nalmefene, for opioid overdose. “We are very pleased with the results of this confirmatory PK study. Importantly, the data are consistent with the findings of our initial pilot study,” said Roger Crystal, M.D., CEO and President, of Opiant. “In the United States, where we’ve seen the opioid epidemic worsen during COVID-19, the nationwide spread of potent illicit synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, with a half-life more than seven hours, is driving significant numbers of opioid overdose deaths. A rescue agent with a rapid onset and a long half-life, is critical to saving lives from overdose. We now look forward to the PD data later in the year.”