What began as a turnaround Wednesday morning ended up as another down day for U.S. equities. The three major indexes all closed more than 1% lower, echoing the losses posted on Tuesday. Beginning shortly before noon, investors got the jitters, and by late afternoon, a reported case of the Omicron coronavirus variant sealed the deal. Premarket trading Thursday indicated a higher opening for the S&P 500 and the Dow, with the Nasdaq indicated down, likely on a morning report that demand for Apple’s new iPhone 13 is softening.
Crude oil traded essentially flat in the morning at around $65.50 a barrel, while Bitcoin traded down about 1.4% at around $56,250. Yields on 10-year Treasuries were up about two basis points at around 1.42%.
Only three stocks on our meme stock watch list closed higher on Wednesday, and a full dozen closed down by at least double digits. The biggest loser was AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC), which tumbled by nearly 16%. Investors clearly were concerned that a new COVID-19 outbreak will stop AMC’s comeback in its tracks. In Wednesday’s premarket session, AMC was trading about 2.4% higher, until the bottom began dropping out during the noon hour. The stock traded up by about 1.5% in Thursday’s premarket.
Bitcoin miner Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: GREE) dropped 13% on Wednesday on heavier than usual volume. The stock’s slide began about mid-morning and might have been worse, until the company announced late in the day that social media rumors were false that its license to operate its upstate New York power plant may not be renewed. The stock traded up about 1.4% early Thursday morning.
Mobile platform provider Phunware Inc. (NASDAQ: PHUN) may not be a meme stock, but it often acts like one. The company’s stock rose by more than 11% on Wednesday and traded up another 16% in Thursday’s premarket. Phunware was riding a wave ginned up Wednesday when Reuters reported that Digital World Acquisition is seeking to raise up to $1 billion to launch Donald Trump’s social media empire. The deal between Digital World and Trump would deliver $293 million to the new media company. The proposed PIPE (private investment in public equity) offering is “seeking to capitalize on the market euphoria around their venture, which has so far been fueled by its ambitious goals rather than a business that is up and running.”
Singapore-based Grab Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRAB) completed its SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth on Wednesday and began trading Thursday morning. Altimeter stock dropped by more than 13% on Wednesday to close at $11.01. In Thursday’s premarket session, Grab traded up more than 16% to $12.80. The merger valued Grab at around $40 billion.
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