Nikola Stock's Strange Gyrations, Bitcoin Comeback

John Divine
·2 min read

Stocks fell for a second straight day on Wednesday as Wall Street reckoned with the hard-to-ignore spike in virus cases -- a worrisome trend whether a "limited distribution" vaccine arrives in late December or not.

Compared with two weeks ago, the average number of new cases in the U.S.and territories is up 79%, according to data from the New York Times tracker - a gloomy indicator before Thanksgiving.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 344 points, or nearly 1.2%, to finish at 29,438.

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Nikola stock lights up -- but why? The stock market isn't always as rational as it's made out to be. Careers and fortunes are made by virtue of that fact alone.

The price movement in shares of the upstart electric vehicle (EV) company Nikola (ticker: NKLA) on Wednesday is a great example of that irrationality. The stock jumped about 15.4% on the day as General Motors ( GM) is expected to give an update on its plans in EVs on Thursday, and some traders are clearly hoping for a partnership with Nikola to be solidified.

That, however, is only a potential partnership, and it's been public knowledge since September. The two sides are still in discussions over a $2 billion deal for Nikola to use GM's batteries and fuel cells in future vehicles.

Bitcoin goes bonkers. The leading cryptocurrency by market cap, Bitcoin, is trading back near 2017 levels as it fluctuates around the $18,000 level. Low interest rates and the prospect of a continued increase in the money supply makes piles of cash an unattractive investment option these days, and the scarcity of leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, of which there will only ever be 21 million, is a factor that will always separate it from traditional currencies.

Apple slashing fees for small developers. Responding to widespread criticism, and legal challenges, over the monopoly power of its App Store business, Apple ( AAPL) announced it would be cutting its commission from 30% to 15% for developers with who earn less than $1 million in annual revenue from their app.

With the vast majority of its commissions coming from larger developers, this won't impact Apple's revenue much but looks like a savvy PR move.