Stocks notch gains as inflation fears fade, Ford jumps on EV strategy

ExxonMobil Corp.'s board gets shaken up

U.S. equity markets ticked higher Wednesday as investors took in more earnings, Amazon's $8.45 billion Hollywood MGM deal, and focused less on inflation concerns. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33290.08 -533.37 -1.58%
SP500 S&P 500 4166.45 -55.41 -1.31%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14030.375849 -130.97 -0.92%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 10 points, or 0.03%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.19% and 0.59%, respectively. The gains ran the both the Dow and the S&P to within 1.3% of their respective record peaks at Tuesday's close. The Nasdaq was 2.9% below its all-time high. 

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Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMZN AMAZON.COM, INC. 3,486.90 -2.34 -0.07%

In stocks, Amazon's media deal, which will add more than 4,000 movie titles and 17,000 shows to its portfolio, is in focus. Titles that will enter the Amazon catalog, so long as the deal is approved by regulators, include the "James Bond" and "Rocky" franchises and "The Handmaid's Tale" TV series. Other streaming rivals including Disney, Netflix and Discovery are attracting investor attention. 

Separately, Amazon announced CEO Jeff Bezos will step aside on July 5, ceding control to cloud-computing chief Andy Jassy. Bezos will remain at Amazon, serving as executive chairman.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DIS THE WALT DISNEY CO. 172.42 -2.23 -1.28%
NFLX NETFLIX, INC. 500.77 +2.43 +0.49%
DISCA DISCOVERY, INC. 29.08 -0.33 -1.12%

In other deal news, Vista Outdoor Inc. has agreed to buy hunting athletic-wear brand Venor and electric-bike company QuietKat. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
VSTO VISTA OUTDOOR 41.76 +1.41 +3.49%

In autos, Ford jumped after announcing plans to have 40% of its vehicles electric by 2030. Additionally, CEO Jim Farley told FOX Business sales of new F-150 Lightning have topped 70,000. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 14.52 -0.25 -1.69%

Elsewhere, ExxonMobil Corp.'s board of directors was shaken up after activist investor Engine No. 1 won at least two board seats. The change will force the oil giant to address growing shareholder concerns over how the company is combating climate change.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 60.40 -1.59 -2.56%

Cryptocurrency-linked names were higher as bitcoin flirted with the $40,000 level after trading below $32,000 earlier in the week.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
COIN COINBASE GLOBAL, INC. 229.29 -1.37 -0.59%
BITQ EXCHANGE TRADED CONCEPTS TRUST BITWISE CRYPTO INNOVATORS E 22.94 -0.75 -3.16%

And more social media chatter boosted the so-called meme stocks including AMC and GameStop.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMC AMC ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS INC 59.26 -1.47 -2.42%
GME GAMESTOP CORP. 213.82 -9.77 -4.37%

In travel, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was cleared to conduct test cruises with volunteer passengers beginning in June. The cruise line said all passengers must be fully vaccinated 14 days before setting sail. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
RCL ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP 85.64 -0.77 -0.89%

In earnings, department store Nordstrom Inc. reported a wider than expected quarterly loss and reaffirmed its full-year outlook, disappointing analysts who had seen other companies in the retail space hike their forecasts in recent days.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JWN NORDSTROM, INC. 31.90 -1.52 -4.55%
DKS DICK'S SPORTING GOODS, INC. 91.70 +0.24 +0.26%
CPRI CAPRI HOLDINGS LTD. 52.27 -1.32 -2.46%

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. reported same-store sales soared 115% year over year, facing easy comparisons as the retailer closed its locations in mid-March due to COVID-19. The sporting goods retailer hiked its full-year guidance. 

Capri Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Michael Kors, reported strong quarterly results and guided above Wall Street estimates on hopes demand pickups up as the reopening of the economy gathers momentum.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 14 cents to $6.21 per barrel and gold jumped $3.20 to $1,901.30 per ounce. 

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Overseas markets were mixed. 

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.04% while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.09% and France's CAC 40 ticked up 0.02%. 

Asian bourses rallied across the board with Japan’s Nikkei 225 advancing 0.31%, China’s Shanghai Composite climbing 0.34% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rising 0.88%.