5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, Jan. 18, 2023.

Source: NYSE

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

1. Momentum stalls out

Wednesday was rough all around for stocks. The Dow had its worst day since mid-December, while the Nasdaq saw its seven-day winning streak snapped. Bank stocks weighed on markets, as did weak economic data: Holiday retail sales disappointed, and the producer price index, a measure of wholesale inflation, was softer than expected. On Thursday, investors will be listening to Fed speakers, including Vice Chair Lael Brainard, and parsing the latest wave of big earnings, including Procter and Gamble (before the bell) and Netflix (after the close). Read live markets updates here.

2. Why Apple is dodging layoffs

The world’s biggest iPhone factory, located in China and run by Foxconn, faced disruptions in 2022. That is likely to filter through to Apple’s December quarter results. Meanwhile, analysts questioned demand for the iPhone 14 from Chinese consumers.

Nic Coury | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tech companies have slashed tens of thousands of jobs over the past year. Amazon is in the process of laying off about 18,000 employees, while Microsoft said this week it would cut about 10,000 positions. Google parent Alphabet and Facebook owner Meta have also laid off workers. But Apple is bucking the trend. The iPhone maker, unlike others in Silicon Valley, didn’t ramp up hiring during the pandemic, and so far has avoided announcing major layoffs. CNBC’s Kif Leswing and Gabriel Cortes break down this phenomenon in a series of charts here.

3. Tech talk in Switzerland

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (3rdR) and Chinese vice-premier Liu He (3rdL) and their respective delegations wait ahead of their meeting in Zurich, on January 18, 2023.

Sebastien Bozon | AFP | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met in Zurich for high-level economic talks. “During the candid, substantive, and constructive conversation, they exchanged views on macroeconomic and financial developments,” said a readout from the Treasury Department. The Chinese government’s summation of the meeting offered a more specific point, saying Yellen and Liu discussed U.S. tech policy. The Biden administration has banned U.S. businesses from working with Chinese entities on higher-end semiconductors, while it has also continued the Trump-era tariffs on China. The Chinese government “hopes the U.S. side pays attention to the policies’ impact on both sides,” the Chinese readout said.

4. AmazonSmile is coming to an end

The Amazon logo is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, November 15, 2022.

Pascal Rossignol | Reuters

Amazon isn’t just cutting jobs these days. The e-retail and cloud computing giant said it would shut down its charity donation program, AmazonSmile, next month as part of its broader plan to lower costs. Additionally, Amazon said the program, which donated a percentage of eligible purchases to a shopper’s preferred charity, proved to be a letdown, with the average donation amounting to a mere $230. “After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped,” Amazon said. “With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

5. Mile High hopes for EVs

Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles at a Hertz airport location.

Photo by E.R. Davidson

Rental car giant Hertz has become one of the major players pushing for the expansion of electric vehicle usage. On Thursday, the company announced a broad partnership with Denver that will see it add about 5,000 EVs to its fleet in the city, while it will also install EV charging stations at the airport and around Denver, with an emphasis on underserved communities. “I’m always worried about equity and how communities are left behind,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CNBC. “Electrification is, I think, one advance in the move towards sustainability that’s going to move faster.” Hertz is hoping to expand the program to other cities, as well.

– CNBC’s Carmen Reinicke, Kif Leswing, Gabriel Cortes, Evelyn Cheng, Annie Palmer and John Rosevear contributed to this report.

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