Another day of trading over, and another day closer to the weekend! Today, Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) rocketed higher, mimicking the meme stocks oh-so familiar on its trading platform. But beyond that, what did the stock market do today?
- The S&P 500 closed higher by 0.82%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 0.8%
- The Nasdaq Composite closed higher by 0.52%
So what else did the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Prep for Lockdown.
Hot Vax Summer may still be underway, but some stock market leaders are prepping for a second round of lockdowns in the United States. This comes as the Delta variant takes center stage, with Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations once again on the rise.
One of these market influencers is Will Meade, a former hedge fund manager who has grown quite a following on Twitter. There, he has shared short-squeeze picks like AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), Newegg (NASDAQ:NEGG) and Express (NYSE:EXPR). He also shares trade ideas based on big news items. In recent days, he has focused on Lockdown 2.0.
So what do you need to know? Some of the key evidence points that Meade and his peers point to are growing reports of lockdowns internationally, including in China. A handful of states and localities within the U.S. are returning to mask mandates, and some companies have done the same. Just today, New York City announced it would require proof of vaccination for indoor activities. Giant Eagle, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Target (NYSE:TGT) have all announced renewed mask mandates.
$APT masks will be mandated everywhere soon, trade of August! https://t.co/3jfare2eMN
— Will Meade (@realwillmeade) August 3, 2021
To Meade and his peers, this is a catalyst to get behind Lockdown 2.0 plays. These are stocks that thrived during the first phases of the Covid-19 pandemic that could thrive again. Blue Apron (NASDAQ:APRN) has become a favorite, perhaps tempting consumers with its meal delivery kits ahead of potential lockdowns. Alpha Pro Tech (NYSEMKT:APT) is another, offering face masks and personal protective equipment amid new mandates. Importantly, face mask purchases are once again trending higher on a week-over-week basis.
Right now, the bottom line is that these Lockdown 2.0 plays appear on the sidelines while many pandemic winners share disappointing guidance. However, if the reopening narrative starts to meaningfully change, and if the U.S. does move forward with new lockdowns, APRN stock and APT stock could be top picks.
Game Over for Gaming Stocks?
One of the top stories this morning came from China, where a state media outlet had thrust Tencent (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) and its peers into chaos. A critique of internet gaming likened the hobby to “spiritual opium,” a powerful historical reference that certainly made an impact. Although Reuters says the outlet later changed the wording, the damage was done. TCEHY stock closed down by more than 7% amid renewed fears of a Chinese regulatory crackdown.
This all comes just days after officials promised to relax their efforts in an effort to calm the markets.
According to a Bloomberg report, the “spiritual opium” comes as a criticism of the amount of time kids spend on internet games. Although rules in 2019 curbed game time, some anecdotes say children play the popular Honor of Kings game for eight consecutive hours a day. Tencent has already responded by tightening game controls for children, and has allegedly weighed a ban on games for kids.
The “spiritual opium” narrative did more than slam Tencent. It seems the commentary on behalf of the Chinese outlet has weighed on a broad swath of gaming stocks, taking down Roblox (NYSE:RBLX), Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO).
So what do you need to know? The commentary out of China comes at an otherwise tough time for gaming stocks. Take-Two disappointed investors today with its earnings guidance, and consumers are just not sure what the near term looks like for video games. With Hot Vax Summer underway, Covid-19 pastimes like gaming appear to have fallen by the wayside.
However, before you panic and sell gaming stocks, make sure to look at the longer-term growth in the gaming market. Factor in renewed Delta variant fears, and there may still be a short-term case for some of these popular names.
What Else We’re Watching
- Insurtech Hippo (NYSE:HIPO) started trading today after closing its reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners. Importantly, its path to the public markets was far from smooth. What do I mean? Right before HIPO stock made its debut, backers pulled more than 80% of the capital raised for the SPAC. You can read more about that chaos here.
- Gary Gensler, chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, could crack down on cryptocurrencies in order to protect investors. While not out of line with current regulatory talk, this may come as a surprise to many on Wall Street. That is because Gensler is a self-described Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) aficionado with a personal interest in cryptos. However, he said his interests in protecting investors are deeper.
- Also in the crypto world, Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD) is drumming up attention. That is because its long-awaited London hard fork is scheduled to go into effect on Thursday, Aug. 5.
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.