5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday, September 21


Trader on the floor of the NYSE, Sept. 20, 2022.

Source: NYSE

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

1. Decision day

Investors are bracing for the Federal Reserve’s rate announcement Wednesday. A three-quarter-point increase in the benchmark rate is baked in, but markets are seeking more clarity about what the Fed will do the remainder of the year and beyond as high inflation persists. The Fed will unveil its decision at 2 p.m. ET, while Chairman Jerome Powell will discuss the central bank’s rationale at 2:30 p.m. You can stream it live here at CNBC.com. U.S. stocks, meanwhile, looked headed for a flat-to-slightly-higher open Wednesday. All three major indices fell Tuesday, while yields on 2-year and 10-year Treasurys rose to their highest levels in more than 10 years.

2. Putin escalates

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to receive letters of credence from newly-appointed foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 20, 2022. 

Pavel Bednyakov| Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would call up some of the country’s reserves as his invasion of Ukraine runs into setback after setback. Putin’s announcement about a mobilization was vague on other points, but it effectively puts Russia’s people and businesses on notice that they could contribute more to the Kremlin’s operation in its former Soviet neighbor. Ukraine, backed by Western money and weaponry, has retaken territory through an aggressive counteroffensive that put Russian forces on the run in the country’s south and east. Putin’s speech, in which he claimed the West was trying to destroy Russia and apparently threatened nuclear retaliation, is a major escalation that sends a tough message to world leaders meeting this week in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

3. Mortgage demand somehow rises

Real estate listings

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Another week, another wacky turn in the housing market. Demand for mortgages actually grew even though rates surpassed 6%, effectively doubling where they were at the beginning of this year. Refinance applications, which tend to be more sensitive to big swings in rates than purchase applications, rose 10% for the week, although they were still down more than 80% than they were a year ago. While the data may come as a bit of a surprise, don’t bank on it indicating a larger trend. Homes are still expensive, even as sellers are negotiating more and some homebuilders are lower prices.

4. YouTube offers a bigger slice of the pie

A YouTube logo seen at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, United States October 21, 2015.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

TikTok continues to disrupt the former disruptors. YouTube, owned by Alphabet‘s Google, said Tuesday it will share revenue with creators of the platform’s Shorts videos as it competes with TikTok for the short-form viral video audience. In the second quarter, YouTube posted its slowest revenue growth since 2019, when Alphabet started breaking out the unit’s sales. The move comes as legacy social media platforms, including Meta‘s Facebook, have been contending with a loss of users to TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

5. Beyond Meat exec suspended over nose-bite arrest

Douglas Ramsey

Source: Washington County, Arkansas

Beyond Meat operating chief Doug Ramsey allegedly bit a man’s nose and punched through a Subaru’s back windshield during a road rage incident Saturday in an Arkansas parking garage. Now he’s suspended from his job at the vegan food producer as he waits for his court date in October. Ramsey, who joined Beyond Meat months ago after three decades at Tyson Foods, was also accused of threatening to kill the man. The alleged altercation, arrest and suspension come at a rough time for Beyond Meat. As the company’s sales have fallen, so has its stock price – which is down about 75% so far this year. Three years ago, the company was valued at $13.4 billion. Now its market cap is a little more than $1 billion.

– CNBC’s Patti Domm, Carmen Reinicke, Holly Ellyatt, Jennifer Elias, Diana Olick and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

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