Wall Street rose as Treasury yields fell
The U.S. stock market rose Friday as Treasury yields retreated from key levels.
The Dow Jones index rose 140 points, or 0.4 percent; the S&P 500 index rose 0.8 percent, and the NASDAQ Composite index rose 1.1 percent.
10-year bond yields returned below 4% after hitting a 4-month high a day earlier in a rally fueled by investor worries that the Federal Reserve will keep rates high longer. The 2-year bond yield was at 4.855% after hitting highs not seen since 2007.
Wall Street rose
Economic data continues to show tightness in the labor market and rising costs for businesses, adding to fears that the Fed will have to keep raising rates. On Thursday, Fed Governor Chris Waller and Atlanta Fed Chairman Rafael Bostic said they were ready to raise the rate by more than they had previously thought necessary.
The market is now betting that the prime rate will get closer to 5.5% and stay higher longer.
“Hawkish” comments from Fed officials have also led market watchers to believe at least 3 more rate hikes of a quarter percentage point each are possible, starting this month.
Shares of Marvell Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MRVL) fell 7.7% after the semiconductor maker reported first-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts that fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) fell 3.2% after the major retailer released disappointing data for the quarter. Inflation is forcing consumers to cut back on discretionary spending.
Oil fell in price. WTI futures fell 0.7% to $77.61 a barrel and Brent futures fell 0.8% to $83.98 a barrel. Gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,848.
Earlier, we reported that Asian stock markets were trading unchanged.
Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter target of EU crypto advertising complaint
Meta Platforms’ Instagram, Alphabet’s YouTube, TikTok and Twitter could face regulatory action after European consumer group BEUC complained to the European Commission and consumer authorities that the online platforms allegedly facilitate the misleading promotion of crypto assets.
U.S. regulators suing crypto platforms Coinbase and Binance, along with last year’s collapse of FTX, have sparked concerns over consumer protection related to crypto assets such as bitcoin and ether.
The European Union last month adopted the world’s first comprehensive set of rules for cryptoasset regulation (MiCa).
BEUC in its complaint filed on Thursday said the proliferation of misleading advertisements of crypto assets on the social media platforms is an unfair commercial practice as it exposes consumers to serious harm such as the loss of significant amounts of money.
It said this was happening through advertising and influencers.
It urged the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to require the online platforms to adopt stricter advertising policies on crypto and take measures to prevent influencers from misleading consumers.
The Network should subsequently inform the European Commission about the effectiveness of these measures, BEUC said in its joint complaint with nine of its members.
The group called on European consumer authorities to cooperate with European Supervisory Authorities for financial services to ensure the platforms adapt their advertising policies to prevent the misleading promotion of crypto.
“Crypto will be regulated soon with the new Market in Crypto Assets Regulation but this legislation does not apply to the social media companies benefiting from the advertising of crypto at the expense of consumers,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.
“This is why we are turning to the authorities in charge of protecting consumers to ensure Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter fulfil their duty to protect consumers against crypto scams and false promises,” she said.
Consumer groups in Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain also signed up to the complaint.
GM embraces Tesla’s EV charging system, Wall Street cheers
General Motors will join Ford in adopting Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s North American charging plug standard and give GM electric-vehicle buyers access to the Tesla Supercharger network under an agreement announced on Thursday.
GM’s move, which follows a similar decision by Ford to embrace Tesla’s charging plug standard, means three of the top EV sellers in the North American market have now agreed on a standard for charging hardware. The agreement was announced by GM CEO Mary Barra and Tesla chief Elon Musk in a Twitter Spaces event.
Investors applauded the deal, and the prospect of one charging hardware standard for the North American market. GM shares rose more than 4% after the bell and Tesla shares rose 4%.
The alliance among the three leading rival U.S. EV manufacturers has significant commercial and public policy implications.
The Biden administration made adoption of a rival “combined charging system” (CCS) standard a requirement in order for companies to be eligible for billions of dollars of federal subsidies for new charging stations on some 7,500 miles (12,070 km) of the nation’s busiest roadways. The alliance among Tesla, Ford and GM challenges the White House’s direction.
But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC in May after the Ford-Tesla deal that the industry will eventually converge on one system but that adapters would allow cross- usage.
Tesla, GM and Ford together account for about 70% of current U.S. EV sales. Industry executives see differing EV charging connectors as a barrier to wider consumer adoption of electric vehicles.
“I think this is just going to be a fundamentally great thing for the advancement of electric vehicles,” Musk said during the Twitter Spaces conversation with Barra.
“I think it all just got a little better,” Barra said.
GM could save $400 million from the agreement, Barra told CNBC in an interview Thursday.
From a consumer standpoint, the deals with the Detroit automakers look like a win for Tesla, which invested heavily to deploy its distinctive fast-charging stations across North America when most other automakers delegated charging to third parties.
Tesla Superchargers account for about 60% of the total fast chargers in the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.
“This is pretty huge,” Consumer Reports senior policy analyst Chris Harto said. “I could see this being kind of a snowball effect of more and more automakers jumping on board and shifting towards the Tesla standard.”
For GM and Ford, the deals are a wager that the benefits of giving their customers access to Tesla’s extensive rapid charging network outweigh the risks that their customers will like what they see and choose Tesla for their next purchase.
The alliance among Tesla, GM and Ford puts pressure on other automakers and independent charging network operators that had adopted the CCS standard. A U.S. move to Tesla’s standard could be difficult for rival charging station manufacturers that are already setting up shop in the United States to make equipment that conforms to CCS standards.
“It does make it much more likely that NACS will win out in North America over CCS,” said David Whiston of Morningstar Research, referring to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard. Other charging providers could still use the CCS standard and rely on adapters to serve Tesla, Ford and GM vehicles, he added.
Shares of charging companies ChargePoint and EVgo were both down more than 4% in after-hours trading on Thursday.
GM said it will equip EVs with connectors based on the Tesla North American Charging Standard design starting in 2025. Next year, current owners of GM EVs will be able to use 12,000 Tesla fast chargers in North America, and adapters will be made available.
Musk said Tesla “is not going to do anything to prefer Teslas” as more rival brands access the Supercharger network. “It will be an even playing field … The most important thing is we advance the electric vehicle revolution.”
Ford CEO Jim Farley held a similar discussion with Musk on Twitter last month announcing the No. 2 U.S. automaker had reached agreement with Tesla to allow its electric vehicle owners to gain access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in North America in early 2024.
Binance.US to halt dollar deposits after SEC crackdown
Crypto exchange Binance.US said on Thursday it is stopping U.S. dollar deposits and users will soon not be able to withdraw dollars from the exchange, after U.S. financial regulators said they supported freezing Binance’s assets.
The purportedly independent U.S. affiliate of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, said in a tweet late on Thursday that its banking partners are preparing to stop dollar withdrawal channels as early as June 13.
Binance.US said in the customer notice that it would no longer accept dollar deposits as part of plans to change to a “crypto-only exchange”. It did not give details of who its banking partners are.
On Monday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance, its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, and the operator of its U.S. exchange. The lawsuit marked a dramatic escalation of a crackdown on the industry by U.S. regulators, with the SEC suing major U.S. exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) a day later.
The SEC alleged in 13 charges that Binance artificially inflated its trading volumes, diverted customer funds, failed to restrict U.S. customers from its platform and misled investors about its market surveillance controls.
The SEC on Tuesday asked a federal court to freeze Binance’s U.S. assets. Binance.US called the motion “unwarranted,” saying it had addressed SEC concerns over the safety of customer assets.
In its tweet on Thursday, Binance.US said crypto-denominated trading, deposits, withdrawals and “staking” – where users deposit cryptocurrencies for use in blockchain transactions – would remain fully operational.
“Halting of withdrawals is obviously going to create or spur quite a bit of worry and panic,” said Matthew Dibb, COO of Singapore crypto platform Stack Funds.
Crypto prices barely reacted to the news, with bitcoin last trading flat at $26,512. It was headed for a weekly loss of about 2.3%, after having dipped to an over two-month low of $25,350 earlier in the week as the SEC crackdown stoked nerves.
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