Before the Bell: No Holiday Joy for Tesla; AMC’s Stocking Only Half-Full

Premarket action Tuesday morning had all three major U.S. indexes trading higher: the Dow Jones industrials were up 0.54%, the S&P 500 up 0.45% and the Nasdaq 0.20% higher.

All 11 market sectors closed higher on Friday, with energy (3.16%) and communication services (1.08%) adding the most. Technology (0.12%) and health care (0.08%) posted the day’s smallest gains. The Dow closed up 0.53%, the S&P 500 up 0.59% and the Nasdaq up 0.21% ahead of the three-day weekend. U.S. markets were closed Monday.

Friday trading got off to a slow start following the report on personal consumption expenditures (PCE). A lack of spending growth and still-high PCE and PCE core inflation rates caused the major indexes to sink.

Later in the morning, new home sales came in higher than expected, as did the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. That led to an uptick in buying and, according to some observers, a tentative beginning to the Santa Clause rally that comprises the final five trading days of the year and the first two days of trading for the new year.

High-impact market data slows to a trickle this week. The weekly report on new claims for jobless benefits comes out Thursday, as do the weekly inventory reports on petroleum and natural gas. New claims for unemployment benefits are expected to rise slightly week over week, while fossil fuel inventories are expected to decline.

Shares of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) closed down about 1.8% Friday after posting another new 52-week low at $121.02. The stock traded 3.6% lower in Tuesday’s premarket, dropping below $120 for the first time in more than two years.

In an exclusive report Tuesday morning, Reuters said that the EV maker plans to run its Shanghai plant on a reduced schedule for the month of January. Tesla suspended production at the plant on Christmas Eve and had already planned to suspend production for the current week. According to Reuters, Tesla will produce new vehicles in the first two weeks of January and then halt production for an extended Chinese New Year break beginning January 20, two days before the holiday. Tesla had no comment on the report.

In a separate report, Reuters cited data from Edmunds showing that the price of a used Tesla has fallen from an average of $67,297 in July to $55,754 in November. Used vehicle inventory is not flowing from dealer lots, and prospective buyers of new Tesla vehicles who could once flip their place in line for a premium are no longer able to do so.

Tesla also has cut the price of its Model Y by $7,500 to boost December sales that were lagging as buyers wait for the new federal incentives on EVs to kick in on January 1. Then, of course, there is the CEO’s sale of Tesla stock to finance his acquisition of Twitter. Tesla badly needs some good news.

AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC) last Friday announced a blizzard of measures and proposals to shore up its finances. The company sold a truckload of its preferred shares (NYSE: APE) to Antara Capital for $110 million in fresh capital. AMC has also proposed a 1-for-10 reverse stock split and a plan to convert its APE stock into AMC common shares.

APE stock closed up 44% on Friday and traded up almost 16% at $2.00 in Tuesday’s premarket. AMC common stock dropped more than 10% last Friday and traded down almost 8% Tuesday morning at around $4.06, a new 52-week low if that price holds until the opening bell.

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