Morning Blast: Aircraft Workers on Strike, AMC Apes Wake Up, Tesla Sinks Further

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Premarket action on Thursday had the three major U.S. indexes trading lower. The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.37%, the S&P 500 down 0.35% and the Nasdaq 0.45% lower.

As the latest edition of the Paris Air Show draws to a close after Indian airlines placed firm orders for 1,000 new airplanes, one of the chief suppliers to Boeing Corp. (NYSE: BA) is being hit by a strike. Local 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has rejected an offer from fuselage maker Spirit Aerosystems Inc. (NYSE: SPR), and the company has told workers not to go to show up for work Thursday morning. The existing contract was set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

The union and Spirit had reached a tentative agreement last week that included a 34% pay hike spread over four years, capped increases in the cost of insurance premiums, and boosted retirement benefits by 14.7%. The contract offer, the first new contract for Local 839 in 13 years, was rejected by 79% of union members voting, and 85% voted to authorize a strike.

Spirit supplies Boeing with about 70% of the fuselages for its 737 jets and nose sections for the 787, 767 and 777. Boeing’s 737 assembly plant in Renton, Washington, may have to shut down if the strike is not resolved quickly. Airbus sources engine pylons for its A220 passenger jet from Spirit.

Spirit’s stock traded down more than 9% in Thursday’s premarket, Boeing’s stock traded down more than 3%, and Airbus shares were down more than 1% in over-the-counter trading (EADSY).

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APE) traded up more than 15% Thursday morning. There is no particular reason for that, but then, when did AMC’s preferred APE share or its common stock (NYSE: AMC) for that matter, ever need a reason to rise?

It could be that a ruling due next week in Delaware may be driving Thursday’s buying. The court is expected to rule on objections from some holders of common stock to AMC’s recent shareholder vote that boosted the number of common shares available to holders of APE shares. If the shareholder vote stands, AMC will be able to carry out a reverse stock split and issue new shares. Holders of APE shares love the proposal; AMC shareholders not so much.

Shares of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) dropped by nearly 5.5% on Wednesday and traded down by about 3.4% in Thursday’s premarket. Analyst Dan Levy of Barclays cut the stock’s rating from Overweight to Equal Weight. Barclays will “move to the sidelines” because Levy does not believe that the addition of Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) to Tesla’s supercharger network is that big a deal. And Tesla’s drumbeating of its full self-driving (FSD) mode has played into the current enthusiasm for any AI-related stock.

Perhaps the biggest story of the morning was Root Inc. (NASDAQ: ROOT). The struggling digital-only auto insurance provider soared nearly 60% on Wednesday following a Wall Street Journal report that a closely held rival, Embedded Insurance, has offered to acquire the company for $19.34 per share. The stock closed at $6.02 on Tuesday, jumped to a closing price of $9.62 on Wednesday, and traded up another 37% at $13.20 in Thursday’s premarket. Neither Root nor Embedded Insurance has commented on the report.

Bitcoin punched through the $30,000 mark on Wednesday. The news that big asset management outfits like BlackRock and Schwab were interested in opening spot Bitcoin ETFs for their institutional customers has breathed some life into Bitcoin and other non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies.

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

Six of 11 market sectors closed higher on Wednesday. Energy (0.92%) and utilities (0.84%) posted the day’s best gains. Technology (−1.41%) and communications services (−1.36%) had the day’s biggest losses. The Dow closed down 0.30%, the S&P 500 down 0.52% and the Nasdaq down 1.21% on Wednesday.

Two-year Treasuries were unchanged to end Wednesday at 4.68%, and 10-year notes dropped two basis points to post a rate of 3.72%. In Thursday’s premarket, two-year notes were trading at around 4.74% and 10-year notes at about 3.75%.

After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported that crude oil inventories dipped by 1.25 million barrels last week, far more than an expected decline of 433,000 barrels. The Energy Information Administration reports its petroleum inventory numbers after markets open on Thursday. For the week ending June 10, the EIA reported an increase of 7.92 million barrels in the nation’s commercial petroleum inventories.

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