Stocks fought their way back after a weak open yesterday, with the S&P 500 ultimately hitting its 30th record high in 2024. Equities are subdued in the early going today, as are gold, silver, and the dollar, in the wake of a weaker-than-expected retail sales report for May. Treasuries are slightly higher.

Please Note: US markets will be closed tomorrow for the Juneteenth holiday, so there will be no Top Pros’ Top Picks newsletter. We will resume publication on Thursday.

European debt and equity markets remain on edge ahead of French parliamentary elections. One reason: French companies dominate European bond indices. Their bonds account for about 20% of the investment-grade debt market in Europe, and 18% of the benchmark high-yield (“junk”) index, according to Bloomberg.

If Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party wins a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections...and follows through on proposed policy actions that could worsen France’s debt and deficit will lead to more market turmoil. That, in turn, could lead to more days where US stocks come under early-morning pressure due to selling in Europe. French stocks have already lost about $210 billion in value, while the SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (FEZ) has shed just over 4% in the last month.

SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (FEZ)
Source: Yahoo Finance

Less than four years after going public via a $2.9 billion SPAC transaction, Fisker is going broke. The Electric Vehicle (EV) maker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after its Ocean SUV bombed in the crowded, slowing EV marketplace. It joins other companies like Lordstown and Electric Last Mile Solutions who have succumbed to weakening demand and a tougher operating and funding environment.

Finally, at least one company is temporarily throwing in the towel on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – when it comes to the drive-through lane, anyway. McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) had been testing an AI-driven, order-taking system from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) at more than 100 locations, but it just ended the two-year program. Many customers uploaded videos on social media of the system getting their orders wrong. But MCD said it got valuable information out of the tests and will “explore voice ordering solutions more broadly” in the future.