What To Know In The Stock Market Today
It’s been a long week this week, thanks to wild volatility in the stock market. Today is no different as broader markets pullback. Inflation, virus fears, and interest rate concerns have shaken investors globally.
Fears Persist Thanks To BOE Surprise Rate Hike
Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve outlined their blueprint for raising rates in the US, but in somewhat of a blindside from the UK, the Bank of England surprised investors with a rate hike of its own.
“We’ve seen evidence of a very tight labor market and we’re seeing more persistent inflation pressures, and that’s what we have to act on…We’re concerned about inflation in the medium terms, and we’re seeing things now that can threaten that.”
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey to BBC News.
The BOE was the first major central bank to boost its benchmark since the beginning of the pandemic. Borrow costs jumped to 0.25%, a move that no other central bank has made since the virus began wreaking havoc. Furthermore, other UK economists, including Barclays’ Fabrice Montagne, expect another hike of 25 basis points is coming as soon as February.
Major Stock Market Indexes Trade Lower
Following the FOMC meeting earlier in the week, markets enjoy a solid but brief relief rally in the stock market. This is a stark difference from what investors have seen during the second half of the week. The S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow all fell, putting in lows far off their post-Fed meeting highs:
All Figures as of 10:20 AM ET
Meanwhile, small-cap stocks dragged lower with the Russell 2000 Small-Cap ETF (NYSE: IWM) testing the $210 area for a second time this week. This has been an area of significance for day traders as it was a significant support level and the IWM’s 200-day moving average in August. Other laggards included financials, energy, and tech stocks right off the opening bell, with the weakest being oil and gas stocks.
Meme Stocks Flip Flop But AMC Shines
While broader markets waivered, retail traders were among the winners in the stock market today. Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock was a clear winner early on. Shares of Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company jumped 1.45% during the first half-hour of trading on December 17 but was unable to hold gains. Meanwhile, shares of AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC) popped thanks to early box-office figures from the debut of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home.’
AMC CEO Adam Aron said, “Yesterday for its opening night, we hosted some 1.1 million guests to watch SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME at our U.S. theatres. Our congratulations go to Sony Pictures for this wonderfully successful new movie.”
Other popular Wallstreetbets and Reddit stocks failed to hold early gains including chipmakers Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD). Even honorary Reddit stock FedEx (NYSE: FDX) failed to hold higher levels following blockbuster earnings and a $5 billion share buyback.
Top Penny Stocks Today
It wasn’t all about large-cap stocks in the stock market today. Retail traders continued to observe this volatility as an opportunity to cash in on cheap shares. Some of the top penny stocks today included:
Bellerophon Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BLPH) soared over 50% on the back of Phase 2 data news for its INOpuls treatment in pulmonary hypertension.
Alzamend Neuro (NASDAQ: ALZN) jumped over 15% on the back of topline data in a Phase 1 study of its AL001 in dementia related to Alzheimer’s.
Spruce Biosciences (NASDAQ: SPRB) surged over 18% after analysts at Oppenheimer initiated coverage with an Outperform rating and $15 price target.
Genfit (NASDAQ: GNFT) climbed more than 45% after announcing an exclusive licensing deal with Ipsen for Elafibranor. This is a Phase 3 asset being evaluated in primary biliary cholangitis.
X4 Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: XFOR) reclaimed its Monday levels following a sell-off earlier this week. X4 hosted a virtual seminar, “Understanding Primary Immunodeficiencies,” on December 16.
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