U.S. markets were on track for a higher opening Friday. The monthly report on nonfarm payrolls showed a disappointing total of 235,000 new jobs added in August. The consensus estimate called for 750,000 new jobs, down sharply from last month’s revised total of 1.05 million. Futures were trading up by around 0.25% prior to the announcement and had fallen into the red following the report. Private payroll additions totaled 243,000 in August, far short of the consensus estimate of 650,000 and July’s revised total of 798,000. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.6%, compared to a consensus estimate of 0.3% and July’s increase of 0.4%.
One big mover Friday morning was Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (NASDAQ: APOP). Like many biotechs, the company has flown under the radar until it had some news. That came Thursday with an announcement of the Tel Aviv-based company’s first bone-marrow transplant using its ApoGraft cell selection technology. Shares rose 6.8% on the news, and the stock soared in Friday’s premarket session, up 65% on volume of more than 6 million shares traded. Its daily average volume is around 2 million, but more than 11 million shares were traded Thursday.
Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) closed down by less than 1% on Thursday and traded down another 1.3% in Friday’s premarket. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest ETFs have sold their entire remaining stake of some 700 shares in the Chinese giant. ARK Invest has been telegraphing the exit for a while now.
Meta Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: MMAT) added nearly 16% to its share price on Thursday to close at $5.37. The stock traded up more than 5% in Friday’s premarket. The company had no news, and trading volume on Thursday reached 41.2 million shares. That compares with the daily average of around 27.7 million.
Vinco Ventures Inc. (NASDAQ: BBIG) has been one of the hottest meme stocks for the past week or so, but shares dropped more than 15% on Thursday. The stock traded 105 million shares Thursday, more than triple its daily average of 32 million. The company had no news.
Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) traded down nearly 3% on Thursday following news that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded further space flights while the agency investigates a deviation from the flight path of the July 11 space flight that carried Richard Branson into space. The stock traded down another 2.2% in Friday’s premarket to $25.45. The trading volume of almost 40 million shares Thursday was higher than the daily average of 35.7 million.