U.S. stock markets traded mixed in the noon hour Wednesday on slightly lower than average volume. Among the 11 market sectors, materials (up 1.8%) and energy (up 1.5%) were leading, while real estate (down 1.8%) and technology (down 0.9%) lagged. Private sector jobs rose by 807,000 in December according to ADP, more than double the economists’ consensus estimate of 400,000. The U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly report is due Friday, and economists are also expecting an added 400,000 jobs, nearly twice the November total.
Crude oil leaped to around $78.50 a barrel following the U.S. EIA’s report of declining oil inventories accompanied by rising gasoline stockpiles. Bitcoin was essentially unchanged at $46,330. The yield on 10-year Treasuries was around 1.68% in the noon hour, while the two-year yield was about 0.81%. The 10-year/two-year spread narrowed by around two basis points to 0.87 since early in the morning.
Meme stocks, too, mostly traded lower, because they are largely considered growth stocks in any normal sort of analysis. One of the OG meme stocks, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) traded down by about 8% in the noon hour on no specific news.
Another OG meme stock, GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) retreated by around 7%, also on no specific news. Neither GameStop nor AMC is generating much enlightenment. Here’s a typical comment from WallStreetBets: “I don’t understand. Why isn’t $GME bouncing off the crayon line I drew this morning?” No mercy.
Electric truck and van maker Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) also traded down more than 7% earlier in the morning, following an announcement from Amazon and Stellantis that the two companies have signed several multiyear agreements “that will transform the in-vehicle experience for millions of Stellantis customers and advance the mobility industry’s transition to a sustainable, software-defined future.” Here is the money quote:
As part of a separate agreement with Stellantis, Amazon will be the first commercial customer for Stellantis’ new Ram ProMaster Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) launching in 2023. Stellantis, with input from Amazon, designed the vehicle with unique last mile delivery features and Amazon will deploy the vehicles to routes across the United States. Building on the current relationship and as part of the long-term agreement, Stellantis and Amazon will be putting thousands of BEV ProMasters on the road every year.
Amazon also has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian. Did Rivian lose out on an upsized order? Amazon is an investor in Rivian and would no doubt like to see its share price rise, not fall. More questions than answers lead to uncertainty and that is always a loser to investors.
Iron-ore mining and steel producing firm Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) may be the unlikeliest of meme stocks. The company was founded 175 years ago. Looking at the short term, since November of 2020, the share price has risen by around 193%, after peaking at nearly 240% in mid-August of 2021. The company had no specific news Wednesday, but virtually every mining and materials stock we watch traded higher Wednesday, and none appeared to have any big news that would drag a whole sector along.
As the noon hour drew to a close Wednesday, AMC stock traded down about 9.7%, at $23.02 in a 52-week range of $1.97 to $72.62. The average daily trading volume is around 42 million shares, and about 22 million had traded thus far on Wednesday.
GameStop shares traded down more than 8%, at $136.79 in a 52-week range of $17.08 to $483.00. The average daily trading volume is about 2.3 million shares, and nearly 1.3 million had already traded.
Shares of Rivian traded down by about 8.6% to $92.63, in a 52-week range of $88.40 to $179.47. The average daily trading volume is about 26.5 million shares, and more than 9.8 million had traded.
Cleveland-Cliffs traded up more than 7% to $24.25, in a 52-week range of $12.77 to $26.51. The average daily trading volume is 19.5 million shares, and about 23.3 million had been traded thus far.