CNBC Daily Open: Far-right makes gains in EU elections

CNBC Daily Open: Far-right makes gains in EU elections

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., Feb. 23, 2024.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Far-right advance
French President Emmanuel Macron said he will
dissolve parliament and call for a new legislative vote after his Renaissance party suffered a major defeat at the EU elections.. Exit polls show Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally winning 31.5% of the vote, compared to 14.5% for Macron’s party. Victory for Le Pen in new elections would mean Macron has no control over domestic policy for the remainder of his presidency, which ends in 2027. The first round of the parliamentary election is set for June 30, with the second round on July 7. Populist, far-right parties also won record support in this year’s European Parliament elections, exit polls indicated late on Sunday. CNBC’s Karen Gilchrist has more on what the right-wing surge could mean for Europe and beyond.

Winning week
All three major Wall Street averages posted weekly gains, led by the Nasdaq Composite, which rose 2.38%, followed by the S&P 500‘s 1.32% increase, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average‘s 0.29% rise. On Friday, the S&P 500 ended flat after reaching a record intraday high. The Dow fell 87 points and the Nasdaq dipped 0.23%. Stocks rebounded from early session pressure following a stronger-than-expected jobs report, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield over 15 basis points higher. Oil prices posted a third weekly loss as OPEC+ plans to increase supplies.  

No way, Musk
Norway’s $1.7 trillion sovereign wealth fund, Tesla‘s eighth-largest shareholder, will vote against Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package. The fund previously opposed the package in 2018 and remains concerned about its size, structure, and lack of safeguards. Despite acknowledging Tesla’s success under Musk, the fund has criticized the excessive CEO pay and is seeking ongoing dialogue with the company. 

Roaring Kitty’s got game
Keith Gill, the internet personality known for his role in the GameStop meme stock frenzy, hosted his first livestream in three years, reiterating his bullish stance on the retailer despite its recent sales decline and stock offering. Gill, known as “Roaring Kitty” and “Deep——-Value on various social media platforms,” offered little reasoning behind his huge stake. The company’s stock was halted multiple times during the stream and ended the day down nearly 40%. GameStop’s shares were in freefall before the livestream after revealing disappointing earnings.

Aramco’s billions
Saudi Arabia will raise over $11.2 billion from a secondary public share offering in state-owned Aramco, pricing 1.545 billion shares at 27.25 Saudi riyals ($7.27) each, at the low end of the expected range. Despite a recent 2% drop in Aramco’s stock and pressures on global oil prices, the offering attracted strong international demand. Aramco remains attractive to investors due to its significant dividend payouts and the backing of the Saudi government and its sovereign wealth fund. The money will be used to fund Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic diversification ambitions. Aramco’s share rose on Sunday.

[PRO] Don’t miss out on AI
The AI revolution has driven the current bull market rally, led by Nvidia, whose shares have surged 142% this year after a 239% rise in 2023. Morgan Stanley suggests that investing in stocks with increasing AI exposure could yield strong returns later this year. For those who missed the AI surge, the Wall Street bank believes there’s still an opportunity. 

The bottom line

More than 600,000 viewers tuned in for Keith Gill’s hotly anticipated appearance after a three-year absence. A 50-minute livestream featured “Roaring Kitty,” as Gill is known on YouTube, with a greenscreen image of GameStop’s live chart as the backdrop. 

While Gill remains a “legend” to followers, Wall Street struggles to understand the phenomenon. 

In 2001, “you had an enemy, which was the short sellers,” Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers, told “Money Movers.” “This just feels more cynical there’s no obvious enemy in this case its more of a how do we ramp up the stock.”

 The enemy, however, remains Wall Street and its ecosystem. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating GameStop option trading and E*Trade, Gill’s trading platform, is considering removing him, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 To be clear, Gill hasn’t told his followers via social media to trade GameStop. As he drew the stream to a close, Gill asked his followers, with dramatic pauses in between, to “Watch this. I think for now we are going to end the stream.” A few moments later, GameStop’s shares fell an additional 1% and trading was halted, as Gill laughed along. 

 One X user explained, “Roaring Kitty showing how the algos dump the stock based on keywords.”  

There’s still that “us-versus-them” mentality three years on from the original meme craze. Robinhood Markets, where the meme trade took off three years ago, introduced 24-hour trading for retail investors, who have until recently been denied access to after-hours trading, many initial public offerings and high-frequency trading. CEO Vlad Tenev speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” said: “We believe that any product that’s available to institutional investors, retail should also have access to it.” 

In the meantime, Gill’s legend is only growing. “Being up 550 mill[ion] yesterday and now down 230 million the next day, and not breaking a sweat insane, this guy is absolute legend,” wrote @walkingpeepo on YouTube. Another wrote, “From 50k to 500 millions, you are a legend, a modern day’s [sic] Robinhood.” 

As for the end game, for now, Gill is still holding on to his GameStop options and shares.

 It’s the second most traded stock and options after Nvidia on Interactive Brokers trading platform, Sosnick said, adding, “It’s Nvidia‘s market and we’re all trading in it” Nvidia is responsible for a third of the S&P 500’s gains this year. 

CNBC’s Karen Gilchrist, Katrina Bishop, Jeff Cox, Brian Evans, Tanya Macheel, Spencer Kimball, Fred Imbert, Yun Li, Alex Harring and Kif Leswig contributed to this report.