What to Watch Today: S&P 500 Stands About 5 Points Away From May Record Close

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were flat Wednesday, one day after the S&P 500 inched closer to last month's record close, finishing just about 5 points shy. The Nasdaq, riding a three-session winning streak, was roughly 1.5% away from its record close in late April. The Dow on Tuesday dropped for the second straight day, though the 30-stock average remained 0.5% from its early May record close. (CNBC)

The 10-year Treasury yield dipped Wednesday, trading just around 1.5%. Wall Street was looking ahead to the next read on inflation — the May consumer price index being released Thursday. (CNBC)

* Mortgage rates drop, but not enough for priced-out homebuyers (CNBC)
* U.S. oil prices climb, above $70 per barrel, on signs of strong fuel demand recovery (Reuters)

Meme stock mania was set to continue Wednesday with day traders focusing once again on Clover Health (CLOC). The stock was up 22% in premarket trading following a nearly 86% rally Tuesday for a 146% surge since Friday's close. (CNBC)

* Wendy's (WEN), another name popular among Reddit traders, gained almost 26% on Tuesday. It was higher again in premarket trading Wednesday.

* Last week's frenzy around AMC Entertainment (AMC) died down a bit. Shares fell 5% in the premarket.

After Wednesday's closing bell, the original meme stock GameStop (GME) is set to report quarterly results. Shares rose in the premarket after closing up 7%. Emerging as a meme stock, Clean Energy Fuel (CLNE) soared 27% in Wednesday's premarket. (Reuters)

* GameStop overhaul takes shape as investors to elect Ryan Cohen as chair (WSJ)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Joe Biden is set to leave Wednesday for the first overseas trip of his term. The first stop in his eight-day tour is in the United Kingdom. Biden's trip ends next week with a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP)

Biden's departure comes one day after he ended infrastructure talks with a group of GOP senators. He started to reach out to senators from both parties in a new effort to forge a bipartisan compromise, setting a summer deadline for Congress to pass legislation. (AP)

In the coming weeks, the House is expected to take up a bipartisan $250 billion tech and manufacturing bill passed by the closely divided Senate on Tuesday. The measure includes $52 billion to fund semiconductor research, design and manufacturing initiatives. Biden applauded the bill's passage as the White House ramps up its own recommendations. (CNBC)

One day after falling to a three-week low, bitcoin rose 5% to more than $35,400 on Wednesday. Adding support, El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. El Salvador's current official currency is the U.S. dollar. It's still unclear how El Salvador will ultimately roll out bitcoin as legal tender. (Reuters & CNBC)

Lordstown Motors (RIDE) said there was "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern. The electric truck maker said in a SEC filing that it is having problems funding vehicle production. Lordstown plunged more than 16% yesterday ahead of the news, and slid another 4.2% in premarket trading. (CNBC)

Merck (MRK) struck an agreement to supply the government with molnupiravir, an oral treatment designed to treat mild to moderate cases of Covid. The drug is currently being evaluated in a phase three trial. (Press Release)

* Millions of J&J one-shot Covid vaccines are at risk of expiring this month (WSJ)
* Aspirin does not improve survival chances for hospitalized Covid patients, British study finds (CNBC)

U.S. health officials are scrambling to get more Americans vaccinated to keep the Delta variant, first identified in India, from proliferating across the United States. The variant has become the dominant strain in the U.K., accounting for an estimated 60% of new cases. (CNBC)

* U.S. increasingly unlikely to meet Biden’s July 4 Covid vaccine goal (AP)
* 'Joints for Jabs': Washington State offers free marijuana with Covid vaccine (NY Times)

Despite much fanfare over its rapid vaccination program and the unlocking of coronavirus restrictions in recent months, the U.K. could be about to delay its much-vaunted lifting of all lockdown measures in England on June 21. It's concerns around the Delta. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Campbell Soup (CPB) reported quarterly earnings of 57 cents per share, missing consensus by 9 cents a share. Revenue also missed forecasts as results lagged year-ago figures that were boosted by pandemic-related demand. Campbell also cut its full-year forecast. Campbell shares tumbled 5.8% in the premarket.

Target (TGT) increased its quarterly dividend to 90 cents per share from 68 cents a share, a jump of 32%. The improved payout will go to shareholders of record as of Aug. 18, to be paid on Sept. 10.

Fastly (FSLY) issued an apology for Tuesday's widespread internet outage, with the cloud computing company saying the incident was caused by a software bug that was triggered when a customer changed settings. Fastly rose 4% in the premarket after closing up nearly 11%.

Sherwin-Williams (SHW) raised its sales and profit guidance for the year, as the paint maker sees pandemic-induced demand for its products continuing even as the pandemic recedes. The company is also raising its prices to deal with higher costs for raw materials. Sherwin-Williams fell 1.3% in the premarket.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has hiked menu prices by roughly 4% to cover the cost of raising its workers' wages. In May, Chipotle said that it would raise hourly wages for its restaurant workers to reach an average of $15 an hour by the end of June.

Casey's General Stores (CASY) reported quarterly earnings of $1.12 per share, beating the consensus estimate of 88 cents a share. The convenience store chain's revenue exceeded estimates as well. Same-store sales, excluding gasoline purchases, rose 12.8% as customer traffic steadily increased.

Ferrari (RACE) named STMicroelectronics (STM) executive Benedetto Vigna as its new CEO, filling a position that had been vacant for six months since Louis Camilleri retired as the automaker's chief. Vigna, who runs chipmaker STMicro's biggest division, will begin his new duties at Ferrari on Sept. 1.

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