May 18, 2024

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Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Winning streak into shortened week

Stocks enter the holiday-shortened trading week on an upswing. The major U.S. indexes have all notched three-week winning streaks for the first time since the summer. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.9%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose 2.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Equities got a boost after inflation came in cooler than expected in October, lifting hopes that the Federal Reserve may not need to hike rates more to tame stubbornly high prices. The stock market will close on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and then shutter early at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. Follow live market updates here.

2. Altman goes to Microsoft

Two days after OpenAI stunned the tech world by firing CEO Sam Altman, the human face of the AI boom has a new home. Altman will lead an advanced AI team at Microsoft, the tech giant’s CEO Satya Nadella announced on the social media platform X. Meanwhile, OpenAI said it hired former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear to run the company on an interim basis. The news capped a chaotic stretch during which OpenAI investors pushed for the business to rehire Altman. Now he lands at Microsoft, where Nadella said the company will provide Altman, former OpenAI executive Greg Brockman and other new hires with “the resources needed for their success.” Altman confirmed the move in a post on X, writing: “The mission continues.”

3. Earnings winding down

Nearly all S&P 500 companies have posted third-quarter earnings, but a handful of businesses set to report this week will have a lot to say about the state of the economy and U.S. consumers. Nvidia, already closely watched this year as its stock roars on the back of the AI boom, will have even more eyes on its results Tuesday after the bell in the wake of Altman’s ouster. Major retailers like Lowe’s, Best Buy and Abercrombie & Fitch will pack their earnings in on Tuesday morning, and may offer commentary on how companies are faring during the critical holiday quarter. Third-quarter earnings for S&P companies had climbed 6.6% compared with the year-ago quarter as of Friday, but revenue had only increased by 1.4%. Here are the key companies reporting this week:

4. Black Friday for days

The Friday after Thanksgiving always brings discounts for savvy holiday shoppers. But that date means a little less than it used to for consumers hunting for deals. Retailers offered more early Black Friday promotions this October than they did in prior years, according to Adobe Analytics data. Discounts on categories like apparel, appliances, computers, furniture and televisions were higher this October than in 2022 and 2021, while discounts on electronics and toys were lower. The earlier promotions could signal that retailers have concerns about demand this holiday season, in part because inflation-weary shoppers have become used to deals.

5. Cruise CEO resigns

The CEO of Cruise, a robotaxi business owned by General Motors, has resigned. Kyle Vogt did not offer a reason for stepping down, but said he expects to “spend time with [his] family and explore some new ideas.” His resignation follows a tumultuous period for the company. It issued a voluntary recall for nearly 1,000 vehicles and had to suspend operations on public roads. Incidents including a Cruise car’s collision with a pedestrian sparked more regulator scrutiny of the company.

– CNBC’s Pia Singh, Matt Clinch, Jordan Novet, Sophie Kiderlin, Robert Hum, Gabrielle Fonrouge, Lora Kolodny and Michael Wayland contributed to this report.

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