An outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant led U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to warn of a “tidal wave” of new infections. Johnson’s warning effectively raised investors’ risk fears and sent all three major U.S. indexes lower Monday. Tuesday’s premarket session indicated a lower start.
Crude oil traded down about 1% Tuesday morning at around $70.65 a barrel, and Bitcoin had recovered somewhat to sneak above the $47,000 level. The spread between 10-year and two-year Treasury notes was up slightly from Monday’s close of 0.760% to 0.773%.
Among stocks on our meme stock watch list, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) got Monday’s worst beating, dropping more than 15% to close at $23.24. The stock traded down further by nearly 9% in Tuesday’s premarket. GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) dropped almost 14% on Monday and traded down another 4% early Tuesday.
Both OG meme stocks have overpromised and underdelivered. Why does that matter when the stocks were underdelivering back in January when their share prices went to the moon? It matters because the short squeeze that drove prices higher 11 months ago is not a viable option now. Short interest in both stocks has declined below 20% and institutional ownership has dropped to 30% or below. To keep their share prices from tumbling, both AMC and GameStop have to do something. So far, AMC’s popcorn initiative appears to have been the biggest deal either company could come up with.
Australia-based Naked Brand Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NAKD) is holding an extraordinary general meeting next week at which shareholders will vote on a proposed acquisition of electric vehicle maker Cenntro Automotive. In a Monday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Naked Brands announced that shareholders also will get a chance at that meeting to vote on a 1-for-15 reverse stock split.
Since about mid-March, Naked Brand stock has not traded above $1.00 a share and volume is huge, as one might expect, with more than 70 million shares traded on an average day. The stock traded up about 2.7% on Monday but was down more than 3.6% in Tuesday’s premarket.
And, surprise, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and CEO Elon Musk are back in the news. Its stock dropped nearly 5% on Monday and traded down by about half that amount in Tuesday’s premarket.
Musk sold another $906.5 million in Tesla stock Monday, bringing his total sales to $12.7 billion over the past five weeks. Whether that had any part in the company’s market cap dropping below $1 trillion is arguable. Musk is now about 70% of the way toward meeting his announced target of selling off 10% of his shares in the company. At the same time that he’s selling, he also has exercised options to acquire 15 million shares of Tesla stock.