At noon on Thursday, U.S. markets looked pretty much like they did on Wednesday. A decent start to the trading session had deteriorated into small losses so far for the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 while the Dow Jones industrials were down more than 1%. Energy, the best-performing sector over the past month, traded down 1%, and consumer defensive stocks were down more than 1.4%. Every sector traded lower. The most positive take on the day’s action may have been summarized by W. B. Yeats in “The Second Coming”: “The best lack all conviction …” on the last day of the quarter.
Only Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) was trading with a double-digit gain in the noon hour Thursday. The good news for the company came late Wednesday when the Federal Aviation Administration closed its investigation of the company’s errant landing of its Unity spacecraft following a July flight that carried founder Richard Branson into space. The investigation ended without even a fine for Virgin Galactic. Shares rose to a peak gain of nearly 18% before settling back a bit.
Camber Energy Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN: CEI) appeared to be on its way to breaking a five-day streak of setting new 52-week highs. Early in the morning, the shares traded up 30% but still fell short of the 52-week high posted Wednesday. The share price trailed down afterward, despite a high number of mentions on social media.
Another stock generating a lot of chatter was Farmmi Inc. (NASDAQ: FAMI), a China-based exporter of mushrooms and other edible fungi. Okay, it’s basically a penny stock, but even so, the stock had traded more than 900 million shares thus far Thursday and was up more than 30% in the noon hour. Short interest in Farmmi stock was about 2.5% as of September 15. The stock has gained just over $0.20 since Wednesday’s opening bell, an increase of more than 80%.
The most heavily talked-about stock Thursday morning was Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY). The company reported second-quarter earnings after the close on Wednesday, and earnings per share of just $0.04 were dramatically short of prior guidance for earnings of $0.48 to $0.55 per share. Revenue fell by 26% year over year, also short of expectations. Surging coronavirus cases, rising costs and supply chain issues whacked the shares with a triple whammy Thursday morning.
Bed Bath & Beyond traded down about 22% in the noon hour Thursday, at $17.30 in a 52-week range of $15.74 to $53.90. The low was posted early in the morning. Nearly 39 million shares had been traded so far on the day, compared to a daily average of around 3.5 million.
Farmmi stock traded up 27.2% to $0.43, in a 52-week range of $0.20 to $2.47. Nearly 950 million shares had changed hands as of the noon hour, compared to an average daily volume of 51 million shares.
Camber Energy recovered a bit to trade up by about 10.5% to $3.78, in a 52-week range of $0.33 to $4.85. The average daily trading volume is more than 106 million shares, and almost 341 million had traded already.
Virgin Galactic traded up about 11.6%, at $25.18 in a 52-week range of $14.27 to $62.80. The average daily trading volume is about 28 million shares, and more than 38 million had traded.