Another day, another round of market-moving news. With earnings reports from Big Tech companies dominating the headlines, what else should you know? And what did the stock market do today? You can dive in with InvestorPlace below.
- The S&P 500 gained 0.68%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.71%
- The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.22%
So what else did the stock market do today? Here are the top three stories.
What Did the Stock Market Do Today? Shake Up the Gig Economy.
Today, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh waged war with gig worker stocks like Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT). These ride-hailing names, as well as their gig economy peers, ended the day in the red.
So what do you need to know? Speaking with Reuters, Walsh shared his thoughts on the gig economy for the first time. Aligning with President Joe Biden’s general stances on worker protections, Walsh said that he believes many gig workers should be classified as employees instead of independent contractors. One big reason for this, according to the labor secretary, is that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the dangers of what happens to workers without employer-sponsored benefits. Unlike independent contractors, employees receive benefits like paid sick leave and health insurance.
Currently, the two ride-hailing giants lean heavily on the gig economy model, classifying their drivers as independent contracts. Food delivery names like DoorDash (NYSE:DASH) and Grubhub (NYSE:GRUB) do the same. So do freelance marketplaces like Fiverr (NYSE:FVRR) and Upwork (NASDAQ:UPWK), which benefit from connecting contractors with employment opportunities.
With all that in mind, Walsh’s vision could have a meaningful impact on these gig worker stocks. Essentially, it would raise their operating costs, forcing them to pay for employee benefits and ensure some sort of consistent compensation.
For investors, this introduced a new level of uncertainty to the market. Gig economy stocks grew in popularity during the pandemic, as more Americans turned to freelance work. Uber and Lyft thought they were in the clear, after California voters passed Proposition 22 in November 2020. Even the New York Times thought gig companies were on track to receiving federal protection from such policies.
Enter Walsh. His comments today could turn into new guidelines for gig worker companies, and therefore further pressure Uber and Lyft stock. However, if history is a guide, these companies will fight back hard. Be sure to keep an eye on this unfolding story.
Bye Bye, Menthol Cigarettes
So what else did the stock market do today? It seems that federal agencies were not shying away from market disruption. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration got a blow in of its own.
Today, the FDA announced that it would move forward with banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. This follows an explicit promise to enact these bans in 2018.
What is the reason for this ban? According to the FDA, menthol cigarettes produce a milder form of smoke than regular cigarettes. This makes them more appealing to many consumers, and flavored cigars similarly have an outsized appeal. Taking it a step further, this milder experience has been blamed for hooking younger Americans on cigarettes. The FDA also says that tobacco companies target their marketing efforts for menthol cigarettes at Black Americans, creating disproportionate levels of cigarette use in the U.S.
Importantly, investors should note that there is no clear date for this ban to take effect. Additionally, tobacco companies are likely to appeal the decision. However, there is international support for such a move. The European Union and Canada have previously banned menthol cigarettes, and President Joe Biden is also considering lowering the maximum nicotine levels in all cigarettes.
If the new ban goes through though, STAT News is clear it will have a large impact on the tobacco industry. STAT’s Washington correspondent, Nicholas Florko, wrote:
“Should the FDA’s decision stand, it would decimate roughly one-third of the U.S. cigarette market, costing the industry billions.”
No Need to Fight: The Endeavor Stock IPO Draws Hype
Gig workers, cigarettes and mixed martial arts, oh my!
Today, one of the top attention-grabbing stocks was Endeavor Group (NYSE:EDR), the parent company of the UFC and talent agency William Morris. After delaying its initial public offering for several years, EDR stock finally started trading today. Shares launched at $24, the upper end of its IPO price range, and brought in more than $500 million in proceeds for the company. Endeavor says it will use these proceeds to further invest in its UFC business.
So why did the Endeavor IPO have investors hooked?
One possible reason is simply the appeal of sports themselves. As Endeavor President Mark Shaprio tells it, everyone loves sports, no matter the platform or venue. With UFC under its umbrella, Endeavor has access to very popular entertainment and intellectual property. If it can successfully grow that popularity, it could seriously profit.
Plus, Endeavor is not alone in its IPO. Several big names, like Michael Dell and Larry Ellison, jumped on board. It seems that investors appreciated that support as the Endeavor stock price gained on Thursday.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is the Editor of Today’s Market with InvestorPlace.com.