Stocks were higher at the open on Friday with the Dow rising by 21 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 added nearly 0.2%, while the Nasdaq rose by just under 0.4%.
Ford shares are down more than 1% at the time of writing after the automaker said it is recalling about 775,000 Ford Explorer SUVs worldwide for a steering issue linked to reports of six injuries in North America. The recall covers covers 2013 – 2017 model year vehicles which may experience a seized cross-axis ball joint that can result in a fractured rear-suspension toe link, diminishing steering control. Ford issued two other smaller recalls on Friday, one for 35,000 2020 – 2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty trucks for a rear-axle housing spring seat interface weld issue, and another for 41,000 2020 – 2021 Lincoln Aviator due to the battery wire harness potentially not being properly secured which could result in a short circuit and potential fire.
Carnival Corp, Norwegian Cruise, and Royal Caribbean Cruises all jumped higher at the open after Canada said it will allow cruise ships to operate in its waters starting November 1 if operators fully comply with local public health requirements. “Our government is now ready to announce that we are accelerating the timeline for resuming cruise ship activity,” said Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transport minister. “I am announcing today that cruise ships will be allowed in Canadian waters as of November 1st of this year.” Alghabra added that the restart of cruises will be dependent on the public health situation at any given time especially in areas where the cruises will dock, and Canada is still advising citizens to avoid travel on cruise ships outside of the country.
Moderna shares are up nearly 9% at the time of writing after S&P Dow Jones Indices said late Thursday that it plans to add the company to its benchmark index next week. Moderna replaces Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which is being acquired by AstraZeneca. The stock is up more than 152% so far this year, making it the top performing stock on the Nasdaq 100 index, and could put it at the top spot of the S&P 500 when it joins the index next week. Jefferies Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst Michael Yee said of the inclusion on the index, “People just believe [Moderna is] the Tesla of biotech. It has taken on a life of its own, has priced in a huge amount of assumptions over the next 10 years that haven’t really played out yet, and valuation is very high. So Tesla of biotech, a lot of assumptions. Fundamentally, we’re at a hold here.”
DiDi shares are down 4% today after officials from seven Chinese government departments visited the ride-hailing giant’s offices to conduct a cybersecurity review. Beijing announced Friday that the seven regulatory agencies had “stationed” personnel at DiDi’s offices to conduct “cybersecurity reviews.” China’s top cyberspace regulator announced a review of the company just days after its public debut earlier this month, after which DiDi was forced to stop signing up new users and its app was removed from Chinese app stores.
And Lordstown Motors confirmed that the Justice Department is investigating its business, including the SPAC deal that took the company public last year and its reporting of vehicle preorders. The confirmation comes a week after The Wall Street Journal first reported the federal inquiry, and follows a probe by the SEC into the company and public comments made by its executives. Lordstown said in a filing that it has “received two subpoenas from the SEC for the production of documents and information, including relating to the Merger between DiamondPeak and Legacy Lordstown and pre-orders of vehicles, and we have been informed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that it is investigating these maters.”
Stocks We’re Watching
GP Strategies Corp (NYSE: GPX): GP Strategies shares jumped as much as 27% yesterday after the workforce transformation solutions provider announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Learning Technologies Group for $20.85 per share in cash in a deal valued at $394 million. “This transaction represents a tremendous opportunity for our customers and our talented employees to work with the global leader in workplace talent and learning, while providing our shareholders with a meaningful premium to our existing stock price,” said Adam Stedham, Chief Executive Officer at GP Strategies. “This combination not only accelerates our growth strategy, but it will also bolster GP Strategies’ best-in-class platform with complementary products and specialist services to drive successful and meaningful workforce transformation for our clients. Together, we will offer a customized, holistic tool kit to organizations at the forefront of workplace innovation all around the globe.”