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Virgin Galactic Shares Jump After Announcing Branson’s First Spaceflight

Virgin Galactic Shares Jump After Announcing Branson’s First Spaceflight

Plus, the U.S. added 850,000 jobs in June, Tesla reported more than 201,000 deliveries in the second quarter, and DiDi shares are down after China announced a cybersecurity review of the company just days after its IPO.

Stocks were higher at the open on Friday with the Dow adding nearly 9 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 rose by 0.1%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.4%.

Virgin Galactic shares are up 7% at the time of writing after the space tourism company announced its next spaceflight test will carry founder Sir Richard Branson. The test flight of the VSS Unity with Branson aboard is scheduled to happen on July 11, putting the billionaire in space just days ahead of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ own spaceflight on July 20 with Blue Origin. In a statement, the company said Branson will evaluate the “private astronaut experience” ahead of plans to offer flights to well-heeled customers in 2022. “After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good,” Branson said.

The U.S. added 850,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported this morning. That marks the biggest jump in 10 months as the economy continues to rebound. “From a market perspective, this was an all-out positive jobs report,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors. “The improvement today likely reflects a slight easing of the labor supply constraints that have been holding back the jobs market in recent months, as well as continued momentum from the economic reopening.”

Boeing shares are down more than 1% today after a 737 cargo plane made an emergency landing off the last of Honolulu early this morning after pilots reported engine trouble. The FAA said both pilots have been rescued. “The pilots had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water,” the FAA said. “According to preliminary information, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued both crew members. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.”

Tesla said it delivered a record 201,250 vehicles in the second quarter, and produced 205,421. While the company doesn’t break out sales by region, business appeared healthy in China. “Our teams have done an outstanding job navigating through global supply chain and logistics challenges,” Tesla said in a statement. Elsewhere, Ford said its second quarter sales came in at 475,327, a 9.6% increase year-over-year. Analysts had expected sales to increase by 10.5% to 20.5%. “The quarter started off extremely strong, April broke a lot of sales records as far as over 18 million, and then we saw that inventory continue to dwindle,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds. “Consumer demand is still very strong, but the inventory is somewhat lacking.”

And DiDi shares are down nearly 6% this morning just days after the stock made its market debut as China—where the company is based—announced a cybersecurity review of it. According to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the move is to prevent data security risks, safeguard national security, and protect the public interest. As part of the probe, DiDi has halted new user registrations. “DiDi will fully cooperate with the relevant government authority during the review,” the company said in a statement. “We plan to conduct comprehensive examination of cybersecurity risks and continuously improve on our cybersecurity systems and technology capacities.”

Stocks We’re Watching

Fiesta Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: FRGI): Fiesta Restaurant Group announced yesterday that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Taco Cabana restaurant brand to YTC Enterprises. “We made the strategic decision to sell the Taco Cabana business to allow our leadership team to focus complete on accelerating Pollo growth,” said Fiesta President and CEO Richard Stockinger, “and we are very excited about the tremendous growth opportunities we have for the Pollo Tropical business.”

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