June 15, 2024

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5 things to know before the stock market opens on Thursday, May 23

5 things to know before the stock market opens on Thursday, May 23
  • Nvidia had another blast quarter.
  • Fed members are increasingly concerned about the lack of progress in fighting inflation.
  • Amazon is giving Alexa an AI upgrade.

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

Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors worried about persistent inflation following the recent release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting (more on that below). The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.95 points, or 0.51%, in its worst session this month. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 0.27% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.18%. But things were looking up Thursday morning as futures tied to the three indexes were higher, with Nasdaq-100 futures up 0.8% as Wall Street benefited from momentum from market leader Nvidia. Follow live market updates.

soba pictures | Rocket Lite | Getty Images

The wins keep coming for Nvidia. The chipmaker’s shares rose and surpassed $1,000 for the first time in extended trading after the company reported first-quarter financial results that beat analysts’ estimates. The chipmaker reported a massive 262% jump in sales and announced a 10-for-1 stock split. And it shows no signs of slowing down, as its revenue more than tripled during the quarter and its data center business grew more than 400% for the year the previous. Nvidia’s strong results suggest that demand remains strong for its AI chips — and for AI in general to rise.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announces that interest rates will remain unchanged during a press conference at the bank’s William McChesney Martin Building on May 01, 2024 in Washington, DC.

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Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials are increasingly concerned about the progress they have made – or lack thereof – on inflation. In the minutes of the Fed’s April 30-May 1 meeting, released on Wednesday, members indicated they lacked confidence in cutting interest rates. They voted unanimously to keep the benchmark interest rate on short-term borrowing within the 5.25%-5.5% range, where it has been since July 2023. Although participants noted a decline in inflation over the past year, there was ultimately “a lack of more measures.” The minutes summarized “progress” in recent months towards the 2% inflation target set by the committee. The minutes come after Fed Governor Christopher Waller said on Tuesday that he needs to see “several months” of progress before voting to cut interest rates.

This photo taken on June 14, 2023 shows the logo of US conglomerate Amazon at the Vivatech startup and technology innovation showcase at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris.

Alain Jockard | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon is giving Alexa an upgrade. The decade-old voice assistant will now be augmented with generative artificial intelligence in an effort by the company to make it more conversational, two sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. Amazon also plans to charge users a monthly subscription fee with the offer, which will not be included in Amazon Prime subscriptions. Such an upgrade — which is scheduled to come this year — could position the tech and retail giant to better compete with companies like Google and OpenAI, which launched AI-powered chatbots and have since announced similar AI-powered voice features.

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The Chevrolet Equinox EV will be displayed at the New York International Auto Show on March 28, 2024.

Danielle Defries | CNBC

General Motors has officially introduced an all-electric version of its popular Chevrolet Equinox — which has been part of the company’s lineup for two decades. The EV crossover has gone on sale with higher-priced models starting from approximately $43,000 to $51,100. The entry-level Equinox LT model is expected to launch later this year and will start at around $35,000. GM’s move comes at a time when demand for electric vehicles has been slower than expected, making this latest launch a test to see whether the company’s new “Ultium” electric technologies, and the adoption of electric vehicles in general in the mass market, will actually sustain the decline.

— CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Samantha Subin, Kev Leswing, Jeff Cox, Kate Rooney and Michael Wayland contributed to this report.

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