What Did the Stock Market Do Today? 3 Big Stories to Catch Up On.

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Monday trading is over and investors are gearing up for another busy week. On the agenda? More short squeezes, meme token audits and special events for high-profile SPAC stocks. So with that all in mind, what did the stock market do today?

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  • The S&P 500 closed up by 0.35%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up by 0.36%
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed up by 0.21%

So what else did the stock market do today? Here are some of the top stories.

What Did the Stock Market Do Today? Sell SPCE Stock.

What goes up must come down, and today the stock market proved that old saying true.

As we wrote this morning, Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) was an early winner. Investors were bidding up shares after Richard Branson joined his company in suborbital space for the first time — setting a milestone in terms of crewed test flights. Not only did Branson beat rival Jeff Bezos in this battle, he also moved Virgin closer to commercial launch. The company has two fully crewed test flights remaining, and hopes to take paying passengers to space in the next year.

For investors, this test flight was more than good news. It was a reason to believe in space stocks in general. When Virgin first came public through a blank-check company, investors bought in on the concept of commercial space flight. Since then, we have seen a wave of other space startups choose to come public through the same path.

Importantly then, we also saw those space stocks gain this morning. Other early winners included AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ:ASTS) and Astra Space (NASDAQ:ASTR).

However, those gains were short-lived. Virgin Galactic closed lower today by 17.3% after announcing its plans to offer another $500 million in stock. While an unsurprising mover to leverage sky-high investor interest, the news quickly sparked fears of shareholder dilution.

So what is the bottom line? According to InvestorPlace analyst Luke Lango, the dilution concerns are not insignificant. However, for believers in space flight, there is a silver lining. As Lango puts it, this stock sale will give Virgin Galactic the firepower it needs to really deliver.

Vaccine News Isn’t Over

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) stock closed down slightly lower on Friday following news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will add a new warning to its Covid-19 vaccine. This warning will state that there is a link to a rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Importantly, the FDA will also emphasize that the rewards outweigh the possible risks.

Analyzing available data, health officials have tracked 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome. These cases follow the administration of more than 12.8 million doses of the single-shot vaccine, prompting the FDA to call this link “serious but rare.” So far, these preliminary cases have mostly been in men aged 50 years or older.

So what does this mean for investors?

To start, the Washington Post reports that this is yet another stroke of bad luck for the vaccine maker. Johnson & Johnson previously faced a temporary pause in its rollout following reports of a rare blood-clotting disorder in recipients. Its U.S. manufacturing partner, Emergent BioSolutions, saw its Baltimore plant shut down in April due to dose contamination. This comes as a real blow for the company, especially as it markets its vaccine as the most accessible. Its appeal is in its single-shot nature, and its lesser logistics requirements for transportation and storage.

However, according to the same Washington Post report, data from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) do not yet show a link between their vaccines and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The second takeaway is that this is a tricky time to be a vaccine maker. As InvestorPlace Assistant News Writer Brenden Rearick wrote last week, Pfizer wants to move ahead with booster shots and a vaccine specific to the delta variant. However, health officials are meeting Pfizer and its peers with pushback.

These three companies became household names for their role in developing Covid-19 vaccines, and unsurprisingly, they will want to capitalize on that. However, safety scares like this and a changing relationship with regulators will cloud that narrative.

What Else We’re Watching

  • Experts think this week — and weeks ahead — will be big for stablecoins. These cryptocurrencies are pegged to other cryptos, a fiat currency or an exchange-traded commodity. Importantly, they have also made the news quite a bit in recent days. That is because Circle has announced its SPAC merger with Concord Acquisition (NYSE:CND). Visa (NYSE:V) is also putting its weight behind stablecoins as part of its future.
  • This week Nifty’s also launched the first NFT-focused social media platform.
  • Outside of the crypto world, investors are busy cheering on Churchill Capital (NYSE:CCIV). That is because merger target Lucid Motors will host its own shareholder call tomorrow. There, investors anticipate positive updates from Lucid ahead of a merger vote.
  • Investors also spent Monday rooting for AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) despite a selloff. #AMCUndefeated took over Twitter as investors drew attention to the box office success of Black Widow.

On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Sarah Smith is the Editor of Today’s Market with InvestorPlace.com.