Before the Bell: Alcoa Stock Hammered, Crypto Beef Between Genesis and Gemini Continues

Premarket action on Thursday had the three major U.S. indexes trading lower. The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.64%, the S&P 500 down 0.7% and the Nasdaq 0.82% lower.

All 11 market sectors closed lower Wednesday, with consumer staples (−2.65%) and utilities (−2.41%) posting the largest losses. Communications services (−0.93%) and technology (−1.28%) made the smallest losses. The Dow closed down 1.81%, the S&P 500 down 1.56% and the Nasdaq down 1.24%.

Wednesday’s trading volume was above the five-day average. New York Stock Exchange losers led winners by 2,041 to 1,077, while Nasdaq decliners led advancers by a margin of 2 to 1. Among S&P 500 stocks, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) added almost 5% following earnings that missed both on profits and revenue but came with an upbeat outlook. Kraft Heinz Co. (NYSE: KHC) stock dropped 6.3%, leading the tumble in the consumer staples sector. General Mills, Conagra, Hormel and Campbell Soup all closed around 4% lower.

Economic data out Thursday includes the weekly reports on new claims for unemployment benefits and petroleum inventories. New claims for benefits are forecast to rise by 212,000, above last week’s increase of 205,000. The American Petroleum Institute reported an addition of 7.6 million barrels to U.S. crude inventories last week. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 11 million barrels last week. The December report on monthly housing starts is expected to fall from 1.43 million (on an annualized basis) in November to 1.36 million. In addition to the weak economy, the winter months typically post low seasonal numbers.

Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) traded down about 6.5% Thursday morning following the company’s earnings report after markets closed on Wednesday. In its outlook, the company said it expects lower demand from Europe and an uncertain Chinese economy to reduce shipments this year.

Cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global Capital reportedly is preparing to file for bankruptcy. According to a report at Bloomberg, the crypto lender could file as early as this week. Its parent company Digital Currency Group’s (DGC) CEO, Barry Silbert, has been in a running feud with crypto exchange Gemini Trust, operated by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Cameron has demanded that Genesis cough up $900 million and boot Silbert. Neither is likely to happen.

Genesis suspended withdrawals in November, not long after FTX filed for bankruptcy, but the implosion of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital in June following the collapse of cryptocoins Luna and TerraUSD started investors sprinting to get away from crypto. And to show they hold no hard feelings, Three Arrows founders Su Zhu and Kyle Davies are trying to raise $25 million to start a crypto exchange called GTX that would focus on trading. You can’t make this stuff up.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit against both Gemini and Genesis for selling unregistered securities. The SEC is seeking permanent injunctive relief from the two firms, disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains with interest, and fines.

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