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Tesla Soars as China Greenlights Self-Driving

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Key Takeaways

  • The S&P 500 advanced 0.3% on Monday, April 29, 2024, ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting, jobs data, and big-name earnings reports.
  • Tesla stock soared after CEO Elon Musk secured tentative approval to launch the company’s full self-driving system in China.
  • Shares of Franklin Resources fell after the investment manager missed profit estimates, reflecting the impact of higher costs.

Major U.S. equities edged higher to kick off a new trading week that will feature several consequential developments.

In addition to earnings reports from key companies set to be released throughout the week, the Federal Open Market Committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. While markets widely expect policymakers to hold interest rates steady, investors will be monitoring the Fed’s statements for indications of the potential path forward. The eventful week wraps up with a key gauge of economic strength in the form of Friday’s jobs report.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% on Monday. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq were up approximately 0.4%.

Tesla (TSLA) shares skyrocketed 15.3%, logging the S&P 500’s top performance, after China’s government said it would tentatively support a rollout of the carmaker’s “self-driving” advanced assistance technology in the country. The approval could help boost Tesla’s outlook in China, its second-largest market, where the company has seen slumping sales and faces stiff competition from local manufacturers. Tesla will reportedly expand its partnership with Chinese tech giant Baidu (BIDU) to collaborate on mapping and navigation.

Shares of Albemarle (ALB) jumped 7.6% ahead of the firm’s earnings report, set to be released on Wednesday. As the world’s largest lithium producer, Albemarle could benefit from a potential stabilization in the price of the metal.

Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) shares gained 5.6% after the world’s largest pizza chain posted better-than-expected profit, revenue, and same-store sales for the first quarter. The company’s loyalty program and an agreement with Uber Eats contributed to the strong results.

Franklin Resources (BEN) shares tumbled 6.4%, suffering the heaviest losses of any S&P 500 stock, after the investment management firm released financial results for its fiscal second quarter. Although revenue topped estimates, driven by higher assets under management (AUM), profits fell short of forecasts as higher expenses dragged on the company’s performance.

Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) slipped 3.4% following reports that the Google parent company has laid off the entire team working on the high-level programming language Python. Google will reportedly establish a new Python team in Munich, Germany, as part of a restructuring effort designed to cut costs. Alphabet Class C (GOOG) shares were down 3.3%.

Alphabet was not the only tech giant pressured by news of job cuts. Shares of Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms (META) sank 2.4% amid reports of impending layoffs at its Oversight Board—the team responsible for monitoring content across the social media giant’s platforms. The reduced workforce could make it even more difficult for Meta to strike the delicate balance between promoting free speech and protecting users from harmful content.

Dollar Tree (DLTR) shares dropped 2.4% after tornados that swept through Oklahoma over the weekend caused major damage to the discount retailer’s warehouse in the area.

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