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Morning Blast: Virgin Galactic Flies Again, Adobe Powers Up With AI, and Consumer Sentiment on Tap

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.

Premarket action on Friday had the three major U.S. indexes trading mixed. The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.09%, the S&P 500 up 0.01% and the Nasdaq 0.12% higher.

After U.S. markets closed Thursday, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) announced that its first commercial space flight (Galactic 01) is planned to take place by the end of June. The flight window is June 27 to June 30. A second flight (Galactic 02) is planned for August, followed by monthly flights thereafter.

Galactic 01 is a “scientific research mission” carrying three Italian scientists who are studying microgravity, and Galactic 02 will begin the company’s flights for “private astronauts.”

This is Virgin Galactic’s first flight since completing its first crewed flight in July 2021. The company announced in October 2021 that it was suspending flights until the fourth quarter of 2022 to begin a “planned enhancement program” for its spacecraft.

Shares have lost about 83% of their value since flights were suspended and reached an all-time low of $2.98 in early April. Virgin Galactic rode the meme stock wave of early 2021 to an all-time high near $60.00 in February 2021. The stock traded up nearly 40% in Friday’s premarket session at $5.65.

In more market action late Thursday, Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) reported better-than-expected earnings per share (EPS) and revenue that was slightly above the consensus estimate. EPS guidance for the current quarter and for the full fiscal year was higher than the consensus estimates, and revenue guidance was in line with expectations.

Chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen pushed the company’s AI efforts early in the press release: “Adobe’s ground-breaking innovation positions us to lead the new era of generative AI given our rich datasets, foundation models and ubiquitous product interfaces.”

In an interview with Jim Cramer, Narayen said that the company’s recently released Firefly product is integrated with Adobe Express, the company’s free image editing software. Firefly was released in March, and Adobe announced last week a subscription-based version for commercial customers, Firefly for Enterprise. The company’s success at moving users to its subscription-based Photoshop software is a model Adobe expects to be transferable to its AI tools.

Adobe’s stock traded at a new 52-week high in Friday’s premarket but remains about $200 short of its all-time high set in November 2021. The stock traded up about 3.8% at $509.30, after posting a new 52-week high on Thursday.

The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report is due out after markets open Friday morning. The consensus estimate calls for an index reading of 60.2, up from May’s final reading of 59.2.

Here is a look at how U.S. markets fared on Thursday.

All 11 market sectors closed higher on Thursday. Health care (1.55%) and communications services (1.54%) posted the day’s largest gains. Real estate (0.34%) and consumer cyclicals (0.68%) had the day’s smallest gains. The Dow closed up 1.26%, the S&P 500 up 1.22% and the Nasdaq up 1.15% on Thursday.

Two-year Treasuries dropped by 12 basis points to end Thursday at 4.62%, and 10-year notes dropped 11 basis points to post a rate of 3.72%. In Friday’s premarket, two-year notes were trading at around 4.69% and 10-year notes at about 3.73%.

U.S. markets will be closed Monday in observance of Juneteenth National Independence Day.

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