Good morning and welcome to the stock market today! The Olympic Games are over, Delta variant concerns are on the rise, and NASA is soliciting volunteers for a simulation studying a year living on Mars (maybe Elon Musk is interested). But beyond living with aliens and counting gold medals, what will the stock market do today?
- The S&P 500 is down 0.16%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.27%
- The Nasdaq Composite is up 0.08%
So what will the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.
What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Stay Inside.
The sun may still be shining on Hot Vax Summer, but new reports highlight that the Delta variant is cooling things down in a meaningful way. As Sam Ro wrote for Axios, credit and debit card data from July show that spending on travel and entertainment is slowing. In fact, air travel spending is down 20% from its recent peak.
This all makes sense. Delta variant, Delta-Plus variant and Lambda variant concerns have brought about renewed mask guidelines, and sent some countries into new lockdowns. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tracking full Covid-19 vaccine approval by September, vaccine mandates are also in the spotlight. As consumers process these returning Covid-19 fears, many are simply less eager to pack up and travel.
But the story goes farther than this.
As we wrote last week, analysts are already worried about the recovery for the travel industry. Even before the Delta variant made its impact, business travel was failing to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. Simply put, it may never, thanks to the advent of effective telework solutions. Without top revenue-driving customers, airlines could be in for trouble. Add in another slowdown in recreational travel and things could get dicey.
Beyond that, the Delta variant is cramping broader economic forecasts. Oil prices are at an 11-week low thanks to projections for lower fuel demand. Analysts at Goldman Sachs are pointing to Wuhan, where China has once again imposed virus containment measures, as a sign that economic growth will be weaker than anticipated.
So what is the bottom line? There is still plenty of cheer with the stock markets at record-high levels. However, the Delta variant is flexing its muscles, pointing to pain ahead. Keep an eye on a full sales report out next week and on the vaccine approval timeline.
Crypto Counts on Influencers
Senators are getting ready for their final vote on the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill, hoping to pass it to the House of Representatives by mid-week. The bill calls for widespread spending to improve roads, bridges, and even expand a national network of electric vehicle charging stations. Senate Democrats have also unveiled a $3.5 trillion budget resolution they hope to pass this week as well.
While lawmakers are moving right along, they found themselves tripped up on a relatively small portion of the bill.
Overall, the bill calls for $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure. To raise that funding, lawmakers have outlined a few sources of new revenue. One is a call to strengthen tax enforcement on digital assets like cryptocurrency, such as through further taxing transactions. Over a 10-year period, experts think this proposal could raise $28 billion.
Unsurprisingly, crypto bulls have taken issue with this. It has been unclear — and hotly debated — who would have to pay taxes. Miners? Exchanges? And if miners have to, would it be proof-of-work miners, proof-of-stake miners, or both?
Lawmakers cannot seem to agree, leading to hot debate over the weekend. And while the fate of different proposed amendments remains unclear, there is one immediate inclusion. Cryptocurrency as an institution is a force to be reckoned with. Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey were quick to criticize the tax proposals, and they were joined by a handful of prominent lobbyists and Gene Simmons.
This reality emphasizes that cryptocurrencies and related startups are quickly growing to prominence. Just today, Block Arabia shared that blockchain startups have raised more than $30 billion in the year to date. That is a 44% increase year over year.
With Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) prices back above $45,000, crypto bulls have strength on their side.
What Else We’re Watching
- DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) announced today that it would acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG) in an all-stock deal worth $1.56 billion. For investors, this will bring together two popular names in the iGaming and sports betting businesses. As a result, GNOG stock is up nearly 50%. However, investors should note that it is not all smooth sailing for DraftKings. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced this morning that it would investigate the acquisition of SBTech following a short report from Hindenburg Research.
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) officially confirmed that Cybertruck deliveries will be delayed until 2022. This comes as the unique truck requires modified manufacturing, and as manufacturers in general face supply-chain woes.
- Axsome Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AXSM) is plunging this morning after sharing updates on its drug for treatment-resistant depression. Although AXS-05 met trial endpoints, the company says it may face delays in receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. AXSM stock is down nearly 40% at the time of writing.
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.