Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. One day more
Friday is the final trading day of 2023, and the S&P 500 is within 0.28% of the all-time closing high it’s been chasing this week. The broad market index was little changed on Thursday, for year-to-date gains of more than 24% with just one session to go. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, already at a record, advanced 0.14% Thursday and is up almost 14% on the year, while the Nasdaq Composite held steady for year-to-date gains of 44%. Follow live market updates.
2. Powering down
Shoppers converge in a Target store ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and traditional Black Friday sales in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 21, 2023.
Vincent Alban | Reuters
The boom times of consumer spending may be winding down, as some companies start to lose their pricing power. The Covid pandemic ushered in a lengthy period of big spending on everything from home improvement to travel to restaurants. And inflation only helped to prop up prices. But with prices cooling, demand waning and supply improving, the era of price-resistant spending may be over for some. FedEx, Nike and Target have all cut sales forecasts, and Spirit Airlines, Hasbro and others have turned to cost-cutting to maintain earnings in the face of slowing revenue.
3. Bubble burst
Adam Neumann of WeWork and Victor Fung Kwok-king, right, chairman of Fung Group, attend a signing ceremony at WeWork’s Weihai Road location on April 12, 2018 in Shanghai, China.
Jackal Pan | Visual China Group | Getty Images
This year saw the end of cheap money for tech startups as venture investors reeled in the record-high levels of financing they had poured into new businesses. That lack of easy money led to several high-profile failures. WeWork and Bird filed for bankruptcy, while fads like Hyperloop One, videoconferencing startup Hopin and social audio company Clubhouse faded away. It’s likely that more startup bubbles will pop in 2024 as cash continues to dry up for unsustainable businesses. Nonetheless, some venture capitalists say there’s still money for good companies.
4. Year-end affirmations
Amazon customer with access to a buy now, pay later option at checkout from Affirm.
Courtesy: Amazon Inc.
Affirm has had quite the turnaround this year. Its stock is up 430% so far in 2023 as of Thursday’s close, beating all other U.S. tech companies worth $5 billion or more. That’s a drastic reversal from last year, when it ended 2022 down 90%, wiping out billions of dollars in market value. Investors are feeling bullish after Affirm inked partnerships with Amazon, Walmart and other retailers. Strategists note that Affirm faces challenges ahead but, for now, it’s leading the buy now, pay later boom.
5. Jet inspection
Exterior of a long-range Boeing 737 MAX 10 at the Farnborough Airshow, on 18th July 2022, at Farnborough, England.
Richard Baker | In Pictures | Getty Images
The notorious 737 Max plane might have another problem. Boeing is urging airlines to inspect the aircraft to look for a “possible loose bolt” in the rudder control system. It’s just the latest quality issue to hit Boeing’s bestseller. The company said inspections will take about two hours per plane and all new planes will be checked before they’re delivered. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines, among the biggest 737 Max customers, all said they didn’t expect the checks to cause any operational impacts.
— CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Leslie Josephs, Rohan Goswami and Annie Palmer contributed to this report.
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