Phew, today was another hectic day on Wall Street. Meme stocks continue to lift off, and retail investors are rallying behind an ever-longer list of names. Cryptocurrencies moved in the opposite direction, tanking on Colonial Pipeline ransom news and threats of regulation. So what else did the stock market do today?
- The S&P 500 closed higher by 0.02%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower by 0.09%
- The Nasdaq Composite closed higher by 0.31%
Beyond these moves in the major indices, what else did the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
What Did the Stock Market Do Today? Lift SPACs.
Seemingly every day, the retail investing crowd latches onto a new theme.
From nostalgic brick-and-mortar retailers to companies targeted by short-sellers like Hindenburg Research, Redditors are finding various ways to wage their war against Wall Street. Today, they found a new opportunity in special purpose acquisition companies. More specifically, they rallied behind a handful of de-SPAC stocks with high short interests.
So what does this mean? A de-SPAC stock is a company that has already closed its reverse merger with a blank-check firm and started trading independently. For instance, Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) or Fisker (NYSE:FSR). Many of the top names in this group have just had one or two reporting quarters. Many are also still developing the products and services they hope will make them profitable.
Starting in the summer of 2020, SPACs and the companies they launched into the public markets started gaining meaningful attention from retail investors. Now, regulatory threats and shifting sentiment have been weighing on de-SPAC stocks. Influencers like Chamath Palihapitiya and Bill Ackman are struggling to appease the retail crowd. Institutions are also making wagers against de-SPAC stocks.
That makes these companies ideal targets for r/WallStreetBets, and for the retail investing crowd in general. Names with higher short interests like Canoo (NASDAQ:GOEV) and Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ) lead the way. Today, investors latched onto a larger group of names that includes CarLotz (NASDAQ:LOTZ) and Hyliion (NYSE:HYLN). With sentiment on the subreddit constantly changing, it seems that more of these de-SPAC names could come into the spotlight in Wednesday trading.
One more story: Reddit is not the only thing lifting these names. Sentiment is generally shifting back in favor of growth names in recent days. Also helping matters is a preliminary list of additions to the Russell 3000 index.
Lordstown Motors Needs More Than Memes
So we just said that SPAC stocks and de-SPAC stocks are soaring thanks to the r/WallStreetBets crowd…
That may not be enough to lift all stocks, even in the short term. Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE) one of the popular stocks in question, just announced something that has investors paying close attention. The electric vehicle startup says that it is facing a cash crisis. With this in mind, it issued a going concern warning during its quarterly update on Tuesday.
RIDE stock closed down more than 16% as a result, and continues to sink in after-hours trading.
What is the bottom line here? For companies like GameStop (NYSE:GME) and AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), retail investors have provided a real lifeboat. These struggling companies were able to avoid bankruptcy during the pandemic, leveraging retail interest to raise cash and shore up their balance sheets. Now, they continue to sell shares, focusing on future growth opportunities.
GameStop in particular has also taken the Reddit hype and crafted a turnaround story around it. Activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen is set to become chair tomorrow, and the company is broadly pivoting to tech and e-commerce. In fact, GameStop is allegedly dabbling in the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) world, appealing to its retail fans.
But as Lordstown Motors highlights, these same factors will not work for every company. Memes can certainly magical, but they will not fix everything.
A Speculative Bet on Covid-19 Reopening
Hot Vax Summer is here, and consumers are ready to let loose and enjoy freedom from Covid-19 restrictions. One major way this is manifesting is in a desire to travel, especially as more and more countries reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers.
With this in mind, many investors continue to bet on airline stocks and cruise stocks. Specifically, Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH) have been sparkling in recent days. This is because after many months with no cruises and no revenue, this is trio is getting ready for a huge reopening rally. Royal Caribbean just announced that it is hoping to bring more ships online in time for this summer.
However, Tuesday highlighted an even more speculative bet on the Covid-19 reopening story.
Thai passenger air operator Nok Airlines (OTCMKTS:NOKPF) saw its over-the-counter shares gain nearly 50% on Tuesday. The popular airline is known for its quirky branding… and for the rough couple of months that it has had. Despite efforts to turn around its struggling financial situation, Covid-19 dealt Nok Airlines a deadly blow. The company filed for bankruptcy protections and has been working to maintain compliance with its home stock exchange.
Now, it seems investors are latching onto the company as a high-risk, high-return play. With the threat of delisting seemingly in the rear-view mirror, investor confidence is gaining in Nok Airlines. Plus, the company is set to reveal its bankruptcy restructuring plan in just a few weeks.
This company is certainly not one to pour money into lightly, but the massive rally in NOKPF stock makes it worth watching here.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Sarah Smith is the Editor of Today’s Market with InvestorPlace.com.