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5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

by WorldFinance
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1. The morning after

Investors were seeking longer-term clarity from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, but they didn’t like it when the central bank did just that. While raising its benchmark rate another three-quarters of a point, the Fed said it would keep going until it hits as much as 4.6%. Now, the federal funds rate is at 3% to 3.25%, the highest it’s been in a little more than 14 years. The announcement triggered a volatile afternoon, in which stocks fell at first, then surged back into positive territory before finishing the day with big losses. On Thursday morning, the three major indices looked set for a mixed open.

2. The bond king and the yield curve

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeff Gundlach, also known as the bond king, believes the Fed’s aggressive campaign to cool inflation is a case of too much, too late – and it’s pushing the U.S. economy toward a possible recession. “The Fed should’ve done more earlier,” Gundlach told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “I do think the Fed should be slowing down on these rate hikes.” He pointed to the differences in the yields between 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes, also known as the yield curve. Some analysts and market players see a higher yield on shorter-term debt as a sign a recession is coming. As of early Thursday, the gap between the yields grew even wider, with 2-year Treasury yield hovering around 4.1%. “I think the odds of a recession in 2023 are very high. I mean, I would put them at 75%,” Gundlach said Wednesday.

3. Salesforce’s new goal

Recent market woes, driven by the Fed’s push to stomp out inflation, haven’t been particularly kind to tech companies, forcing several of them to tighten their belts a bit. On Wednesday, cloud software company Salesforce, which owns the workplace messaging app Slack, unveiled its goal to reach an adjusted operating margin of 25% for the 2026 fiscal year. To get there, the company said it would aim to lower its rate of sales and marketing spending, relative to revenue. Salesforce had already said earlier this year that it would be more careful in how it adds to its headcount, and it is evaluating its real estate as hybrid work becomes more of a norm. Shares of the company hit a 52-week low Wednesday before bouncing back a little during off-hours trading.

4. Turmoil in Russia

Vladimir Putin’s decision to call up 300,000 reservists for his floundering invasion of Ukraine did not go over well with many people in Russia. Over 1,300 people were arrested in various cities after protests broke out following the Russian president’s announcement. Prices for flights out of Russia surged as well, and social media was full of images of people lining up at border crossings. Putin’s latest move came as other world leaders met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Western officials, including U.S. President Joe Biden, condemned Putin’s threats. In a virtual address to the UN, Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy called for a special tribunal that would punish Putin’s government. “Russia should pay for this war,” Zelenskyy said.

5. More problems for Trump

Wednesday didn’t start out so great for Donald Trump, as New York Attorney General Letitia James announced she would be suing the former president, his three oldest children and his company for damages of about $250 million. She said her civil probe uncovered “staggering” fraud, and that she had sent a criminal referral to federal investigators. The day ended on an arguably worse note for Trump, as an appeals court panel – comprised of two judges he appointed and one appointed by former President Barack Obama – unanimously decided to allow federal investigators to resume their review of highly sensitive documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in a criminal investigation.

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