Good morning and welcome to the stock market today! The world was busy this weekend, creating a new pandemic-era record at the box office for Black Widow. That success brings all sorts of entertainment stocks in question — like beloved AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC). It also highlights the ever-changing narrative as the U.S. pushes for normal. So with that all in mind, what will the stock market do today?
- The S&P 500 is up 0.25%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.3%
- The Nasdaq Composite is up 0.07%
So what else will the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
So What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Cheer on Branson.
Apparently nothing brings billionaires together more than commercial space flight.
Over the weekend, Sir Richard Branson set a record, joining his Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) on a crewed flight to suborbital space. This is the first fully crewed flight for the company that mimics the planned commercial experience. It also makes Branson the first of the billionaires to hitch a ride on his own spacecraft.
Rivals Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are not far apart. Bezos, just days into retirement from his role of CEO at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), is prepping to take flight on July 20. Branson rushed to beat him, prompting a congratulatory Instagram post from Bezos and presumably some billionaire tension.
But beyond the drama, Branson’s test flight success truly represents a key milestone for Virgin Galactic… and for other space companies. Largely, SPCE stock has captivated investors with its promise for commercial suborbital spaceflight. When it came public, this was more a concept than a reality, as Virgin prepped for test flights and worked to achieve regulatory permissions. Now, with Branson’s trip skyward, it seems Virgin Galactic is on the brink of a full launch.
In fact, there are currently more than 600 people from 60 countries that have signed up for a flight. As the New York Times estimates, they paid between $200,000 and $250,000 for the opportunity.
So what comes next? Branson’s ride instilled a new sense of confidence and enthusiasm in the market, and for investors, that could soon pay off. Virgin Galactic has two complete two more test flights, and then its SpaceShipTwo can begin flying paying passengers. Those first paid flights could begin in the next year.
Virgin Galactic also just set the stage for a handful of space stocks, startups that came public through special purpose acquisition companies like SPCE. If Virgin can actually deliver on its promises, perhaps investors can find confidence in names like AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ:ASTS) and Astra Space (NASDAQ:ASTR). Rocket Lab, which is still trading through Vector Acquisition (NASDAQ:VACQ), was also in the spotlight this morning.
Are You Ready to Race?
Interest in electric vehicle stocks has been rebounding. Lucid Motors is finally approaching its merger date with Churchill Capital (NYSE:CCIV). Redditors have been betting on short squeezes in popular names like Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) and Workhorse (NASDAQ:WKHS). And Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and legacy automakers continue to ramp up the competition despite supply chain imbalances.
For investors, an event this weekend in Brooklyn also serves as a potential catalyst.
As Ars Technica reported, this weekend saw the Formula E racing series hit New York, its single destination in the United States. For those unfamiliar, Formula E is an all-electric street racing series from ABB FIA. It comes to cities around the world — including New York, Rome and Valencia, Spain.
Like traditional motorsports, Formula E serves as a form of entertainment, typically allowing drivers to engage with fans across the world. But Formula E is also a launchpad for electric vehicles in a way that could actually make consumer EVs better, faster and safer.
That is because Formula E suppliers are working to innovate for the competition — making more efficient batteries, safer vehicles and better software. Experts think that translates directly to regular consumer vehicles. Joann Muller wrote for Axios that no matter who wins on the track, Formula E hopes to make electric vehicles winners, one race at a time.
What Else We’re Watching
- BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) CEO Larry Fink pushed for a stronger long-term climate plan at a meeting of G20 finance ministers. He also said the transition to a low-carb economy is a $50 trillion investment opportunity.
- A headline-making SPAC merger today comes from Lionheart Acquisition (NASDAQ:LCAP). The lesser-known company announced a deal with MSP Recovery, a Medicare specialist. So why does this deal matter? As InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin highlighted, the merger will value MSP Recovery at more than $32 billion. You can read more about LCAP stock here.
- Elon Musk is taking a meme break today to testify around Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity in 2016. This comes in response to a shareholder lawsuit alleging conflicts of interest were present in the deal.
- ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has put its IPO plans on pause. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this move comes in response to regulatory warnings in China, and official actions against newly public Didi (NYSE:DIDI). TikTok also made news last week for banning influencers from discussing cryptocurrencies or other financial services.
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.