U.S. stock futures are moving well into the red in early morning trading. For the most part, this mid-week slump for stocks comes as concerns over the Fed’s intentions rise once again. For those unaware, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is preparing to “take stronger action.” She notes that this could result in aggressive interest rate hikes and a quicker downsizing of the Fed’s balance sheet. The latter of which is already up to nearly $9 trillion. As a result of all this, investors are understandably looking to play things on the safe side.
Weighing in on the latest Fed commentary is LPL Financial’s (NASDAQ: LPLA) chief equity strategist, Quincy Krosby. She begins by stating, “The fact is, the Fed has made it very clear … it’s paramount that they go after inflation and do whatever it takes to staunch the rise in inflation.” Krosby continues, “The Fed may go until it breaks something … but it’s clear that this is their mission, and they are going to go ahead with it, full steam – more than 2017, more than 2018.” As investors await further insights into the Fed’s monetary policy strategy moving forward, markets could be looking at further volatility ahead. As of 6:32 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.52%, 0.66%, and 1.01% respectively.
Apple To Host Annual WWDC Conference On June 6, Possible Software Update For Flagship Devices
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is gearing up to reveal more of its latest work later this year. Namely, the company revealed the official date for its annual developer’s conference, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). In detail, Apple will host the launch event for WWDC on June 6. For the third consecutive year, it will be a virtual conference that Apple plans to stream on its website. Additionally, WWDC will run from June 6 through June 10. All this is important as Apple usually unveils its next-generation software offerings at WWDC. The likes of which include the latest iOS version for its iPhone and Mac product lines among others. Also, as usual, CEO Tim Cook will be giving a feature presentation on the first day.
Overall, this could serve to highlight Apple’s commendable efforts on the software front as well. Sure, while supply chain pressures continue to impact its production line, Apple continues to press forward. This would be where WWDC shines as it gives both Apple’s developers and external developers the chance to learn from one another. In particular, app developers also get access to coaching and tips from Apple employees on how to optimize their apps. Through the software launches at WWDC, the beta form of this year’s iOS will be available during the summer. With all this in mind, AAPL stock could be worth considering ahead of the event.
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Twitter Testing Out Edit Button Feature Following Elon Musk-led Poll On Topic
In other news, Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), a social media platform operator, continues to turn heads in the stock market now. This comes as the overall hype around Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s growing involvement in the company grows. As of earlier today, Twitter officially notes that it is testing out an edit feature for tweets on its platform. At face value, this has been and remains a highly requested feature from users. The current move would be timely seeing as Musk recently polled his over 80 million Twitter followers about the topic. To which 74% agree with the feature addition.
By and large, this move comes as Musk takes up a position on Twitter’s board of directors. For those behind the curve, the Tesla CEO now owns a 9.1% stake in the company. Not to mention, his current stake is worth about $2.64 billion by the latest estimates. In fact, according to Twitter’s latest SEC filing, Musk has been buying TWTR stock on an almost daily basis since the end of January. Generally, it seems that the billionaire investor is keen on taking an active role in the company and is already bringing ideas to the table. The real question now is if this can translate to further growth for TWTR stock moving forward.
General Motors Teams Up With Honda To Make Affordable EVs
At the same time, General Motors (NYSE: GM) continues to advance its electric vehicle (EV) strategy now. Notably, this automotive titan is now working together with Japanese automobile maker Honda (NYSE: HMC). Through this collaboration, the duo are working to develop a series of affordable EVs. According to GM, the new EVs will be made based on a new global platform. In essence, both companies are looking to create EVs that go for less than $30,000. Should they succeed in doing so, it would mark a massive stride forward for global EV adoptions, lowering the barrier to entry.
Going into the specifics, GM’s Ultium battery tech will play a crucial part in powering these low-cost EVs. By the company’s estimates, production for the vehicles could start as early as 2027. Commenting on this is GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. She writes, “GM and Honda will share our best technology, design, and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, including our key markets in North America, South America, and China.” At the end of the current deal, both GM and Honda will have new affordable EVs under their respective brands. Furthermore, the duo are also open to talks about “EV battery tech collaboration opportunities” to further reduce manufacturing costs. As such, auto investors could be eyeing GM stock and HMC stock now.
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Rivian Automotive Announces Q1 Vehicle Production Figures
Another notable piece of news from the automotive industry now would be from Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ: RIVN). As of yesterday, the company’s latest quarterly vehicle production tally is in. Throughout the quarter, Rivian produced 2,553 vehicles; of which, it delivered 1,227. This represents significant year-over-year increases of about 51% and 33% respectively. Accordingly, this increase in overall performance coincides with the commencement of its R1T pickup truck deliveries late last year. More importantly, Rivian now believes it is on track to achieve its production target of 25,000 vehicles for 2022.
Also worth mentioning, Rivian’s R1T pickup truck serves as a delivery van for one of its key customers, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). The company is actively working to ramp up production of this vehicle in its facility at Normal, Illinois. As it stands, the Normal manufacturing plant currently boasts an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles by Rivian’s estimates. The company adds that it intends to grow this figure to 200,000 by 2023 with the addition of new vehicle models. All in all, it seems like Rivian is steadily working to overcome its prior supply-chain issues. As investors consider this, RIVN stock could be worth looking out for.