Stock Market Today: Markets Churn Even as Meme Stocks Swing Higher

AMC led a rally in meme stocks, while the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq barely budged.

amc movie theater
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the broader markets failed to make any big moves for a second straight day, the same can't be said for meme stocks.

AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC (opens in new tab), +95.2%) – which got caught up in GameStop's (GME (opens in new tab), +13.3%) massive short squeeze earlier this year – has been the one to watch recently, and hit a record high today after the movie theater chain said it will offer free popcorn and other perks to retail investors.

"The meme stocks accelerated to the upside today," says David Keller, chief market strategist at StockCharts.com, with AMC, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY (opens in new tab), +62.1%), Koss (KOSS (opens in new tab), +68.6%) and BlackBerry (BB (opens in new tab),+31.9%) among those that were notably higher.

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"Once again, we see the direct impact that a large group of individual investors can have on individual stocks. This also confirms the speculative nature of these names, as the meteoric rise in recent days is driven less by any legitimate fundamental factors and more due to pure speculation."

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Also making noise was Dogecoin, which surged 25% after Coinbase Global (COIN (opens in new tab), +0.7%) said it will allow trading of the cryptocurrency on its free professional platform as early as tomorrow.

As far as the blue-chip indexes, though, the action was muted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1% to 34,600, the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1% to 13,756 and the S&P 500 Index tacked on 0.1% to 4,208.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Russell 2000 rose 0.1% to 2,297.
  • Etsy (ETSY (opens in new tab), +7.2%) was a notable gainer in today's session thanks to some M&A news. The online marketplace said it was buying fashion resale app Depop in a mostly cash deal valued at $1.62 billion.
  • Lands' End (LE (opens in new tab), +6.5%) popped on a strong earnings report. In its first quarter, the retailer reported an unexpected profit of 8 cents per share, while revenue surged 48% year-over-year to $321.3 million – smashing expectations.
  • U.S. crude oil futures jumped 1.6% to settle at $68.83 per barrel.
  • Gold futures tacked on 0.3% to end at $1,909.90 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 2.4% to 17.48.
  • Bitcoin prices spiked 5.3% to $37,879.46. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock price chart 060221

(Image credit: YCharts)

Time to Prepare for a June Swoon?

Who said "Sell in May"?

The S&P 500 Index finished the month with a modest 0.5% gain, marking the eighth time in nine years the broad-market barometer has finished higher for the month.

However, "after a nearly 90% rally off the [March 2020] lows, stocks could be ripe for a pullback, especially during the historically weak month of June," says LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick. "But with the improving economy, coupled with historic fiscal and monetary stimulus, we expect any weakness to be short-lived."

Here at Kiplinger, we typically suggest income-building names – including these monthly dividend stocks and funds – as a way to cushion your portfolio against any market pullbacks.

Of course, another tactic to make the most of dips is to scoop up stocks that suddenly have a more attractive valuation – like this list of Dividend Aristocrats you can buy at a discount or this group of idling electric vehicle stocks. Following a red-hot 2020, these EV plays cooled off to start this year and now trade at more reasonable levels. Take a closer look.

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at Kiplinger.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.