Meme Stock Movers for 12/29: Marathon Digital, Tesla, TMC, TuSimple

U.S. equities got off to a decent start on Tuesday but could not hold on to early gains. The S&P 500 posted a new all-time intraday high before closing with a dip of 0.1%. The Nasdaq dropped 0.6%, while the Dow Jones industrials added a modest 0.3%. Trading volume was low, which likely kept the indexes from falling further.

Crude oil traded down early Wednesday at around $75.60 a barrel, after rising to $76.37 Tuesday. Bitcoin ended the day at around $47,600 and traded down about 1.5% Wednesday morning at about $46,900. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes added one basis point, and the two-year note dropped two basis points, ending the day with a slightly wider spread of 0.75%.

Losers far outnumbered winners on our meme stock watch list. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-mining stocks took the most punishment, with four taking double-digit losses, likely due to the pullback on Bitcoin. In Wednesday’s premarket, Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA) was down about 3%, after dropping nearly 11% on Tuesday.

In an SEC filing yesterday, Marathon put numbers behind an earlier announcement that it would be adding a record number of new mining machines to its operations. Marathon is paying $879 million to acquire 78,000 miners from Bitmain in six deliveries of 13,000 machines in each of the last six months of next year.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk apparently has concluded his promised stock sales. According to documents filed with the SEC on Tuesday, Musk exercised options on 22.9 million shares of Tesla stock (100% of his target) at an average price of $1,033 per share and sold 15.7 million shares (92% of his target) at an average price of $1,043 per share. His tax bill for the transactions totaled $13.8 billion on $29.3 billion of taxable income.

In a footnote to one of the documents, Musk said, “This Rule 10b5-1 trading plan was completed on December 28, 2021.” That’s all folks. Tesla stock closed down by less than 1% on Tuesday and traded up by a similar amount in Wednesday’s premarket.

TMC the metals company Inc. (NASDAQ: TMC) dropped about 7% on Tuesday but added about 7.6% in Wednesday’s premarket. Two of the ocean floor mining company’s top executives acquired significant blocks of TMC stock last week. CEO Gerard Barron purchased 47,438 shares at $2.00 a share to bring his total holdings in the company to 15.1 million shares. Andrei Karkar, one of TMC’s directors and a 10% owner of the company, purchased 748,957 shares at $2.00 per share and now owns 42.6 million shares of TMC stock.

Barron also acquired warrants to purchase 89,394 common shares for about $30,400 and Karkar acquired warrants to purchase 1.4 million additional common shares for about $481,000.

While not a card-carrying member of the meme stock crowd, electric truck maker TuSimple Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: TSP) may trade like one. Shares spiked to nearly $80 in late June and closed most recently at $37.49. Wednesday morning, the stock was up more than 15%, following the company’s announcement that  it had “successfully completed the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention.” The truck traveled more than 80 miles at night on surface streets and highways on a run from Tucson to Phoenix.

In May, following TuSimple’s first earnings report as a public company, eight of nine analysts assigned a Buy rating to the stock when its price was roughly equal to the most recent closing price. Of 15 analysts currently covering the company, 11 rate the shares a Buy or Strong Buy, and the rest have a Hold rating. The median price target on the stock is $57.50, and the high target is $78.70.

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