Good morning and welcome to the stock market today! This has been a busy week, with Federal Reserve rumblings and all sorts of political dealings. Investors also learned this morning that initial jobless claims rose to 412,000 last week, worse than expectations for 360,000. So with that in mind, what will the stock market do today?
To start, the major indices are mixed on Thursday morning, as Wall Street reacts to the latest unemployment news. As Emily McCormick wrote for Yahoo Finance, this report also marks the last period that full, pandemic-era federal unemployment benefits were in effect across all states.
- The S&P 500 is up 0.18%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.26%
- The Nasdaq Composite is up 0.81%
So what else will the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Talk Dots.
Investors have spent all week squarely focused on the Federal Reserve, waiting for a key update from its Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday. In question was how the central bank would respond to Covid-19 reopening and signs of economic recovery. More specifically, with the country getting back to normal, would the bank ease its emergency policies? If not, could the U.S. be setting up for longer-term inflationary conditions?
Leading up to the meeting, market icons like Paul Tudor Jones were causing a stir over inflation. The billionaire told CNBC that if the Fed did not acknowledge inflation fears, it would be time for investors to buckle down. He recommended that investors turn to commodities, gold and Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD). Other picks were stocks that would perform well in the face of rising consumer prices.
So what exactly happened at the June meeting?
To start, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the tapering talk. As Kate Marino wrote for Axios, Powell set up the June meetings as the precursor to an actual meeting about tapering. That means the July 27-28 meetings could see a timeline around tapering — a decision to gradually reduce its $120 billion monthly asset purchases.
Beyond that, the dot plot of member sentiment also changed. Now, the plot shows a median expectation for two rate hikes by the end of 2023. In March, this plot showed a median expectation for zero hikes. Importantly, Powell (and many others) warn investors not to put much stock in dots.
In the end, the Fed kept rates at near-zero levels, setting up the July meeting for a similar level of scrutiny. The bottom line seems to be that investors do not really know what they want — is the threat of inflation or ripping up the emergency band-aid more painful?
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Fast Fashion Comes to Wall Street?
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) may be a top dog on Wall Street, but it is no longer the leading e-commerce app. As the team at Robinhood Snacks reported, it lost the crown to Shein, the retailer of choice for TikTok influencers.
Shein may not be a household name for many retail investors, but it is incredibly popular within its targeted demographic. It relies on TikTok and Instagram influencers to promote its hauls, and it hosts virtual concerts with celebrities like Katy Perry and Lil Nas X to boost shopper engagement. Another of its strengths is simply its ability to capitalize on trends… quickly. On Tuesday alone, Robinhood says its platform added 5,200 new products.
Granted, this is not entirely through ethical business smarts. Shein is looking for products that are already trending on social media. It will quickly release a cheaper version, with many of its clothing items retailing for less than $20. This price point helps it avoid tariffs from the era of former President Donald Trump, and also makes it appealing for a fast-fashion economy. It has also caught Shein in the crosshairs of many independent merchants and artists — Shein faces allegations that it steals designs for its e-commerce platform.
But despite all this, Shein continues to grow, and it at least temporarily has overthrown Amazon. In just the last year, its revenues reportedly almost tripled to $10 billion. This growth has fueled lots of speculation that Shein will come public, following other retailers like ThredUp (NASDAQ:TDUP) and Poshmark (NASDAQ:POSH). Some of these rumors peg Shein at a $47 billion valuation, and suggest that the company could submit its prospectus as soon as this year.
Shein has denied these rumors, but the retailer is certainly one to watch.
Introducing a Decentralized Airbnb
Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB) was one of the hottest initial public offerings at the end of 2020, buts its life in the public markets has not been free from controversy. The same scandals over illegal activity and listing authenticity continue, with new scrutiny on its safety team. Social media trends highlighting its high fees have also tampered sentiment.
The world of cryptocurrencies could hold a solution.
On Wednesday, CoinDesk reported that a decentralized alternative to Airbnb was preparing to launch. The new company is Dtravel, a decentralized vacation rental service that comes from Travala.com, which itself is a blockchain-based bookings site. Making it different than Airbnb is that homeowners and renters will share authority, relying on TRVL as a governance token. Through this decentralized model, TRVL token holders can vote on things like cancellation fees.
Granted, other companies have gone down this road before and struggled to find users. However, with Airbnb feeling the heat and crypto interest elevated, now could be the right time for Dtravel. Also helping matters is that partner Travala.com embraces Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD) as a form of payment on its site. Should Dtravel move to do the same, that could further stoke interest.
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.