Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Muddling through
The bulls are mucking through an inconclusive week. Retail sales came in hotter than expected Wednesday, which should, in theory, feed worries that the Federal Reserve will keep raising rates until morale, er, inflation improves. But stocks still finished the day higher, albeit not by large margins. Investors will chew over more economic data Thursday: the January producer price index report, which gauges wholesale inflation; weekly jobless claims; and housing starts. Follow live markets updates.
2. Electric worry
Ford workers produce the electric F-150 Lightning pickup on Dec. 13, 2022 at the automaker’s Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC).
Michael Wayland | CNBC
Ford halted production and shipments of its fully electric F-150 Lightning pickup after one of the vehicles caught fire earlier this month due to a battery issue, the company said late Wednesday. Ford said it believes engineers have determined the cause of the fire, and that it expects an investigation into the matter to wrap up by the end of next week. Then, Ford said, it would make adjustments to the battery production process, which “could take a few weeks.” The developments come at a difficult time for Ford, which is attempting to turn around its business after posting a net loss for 2022, all while making the transition to EVs.
3. Cisco comes through
A sign bearing the logo for communications and security tech giant Cisco Systems Inc is seen outside one of its offices in San Jose, California, August 11, 2022.
Paresh Dave | Reuters
Computer networking company Cisco‘s stock got a decent bump in off-hours trade after a strong earnings report. The company beat on the top and bottom lines, while also raising its forecast for the year. Cisco also said some of its logistics costs came down. Demand is also stable, according to Cisco, even as other tech companies contend with sliding demand for computers and pressures from a slumping ad market. But the company also reported some difficulties. For instance, its hardware and software backlogs are still much higher than usual, and it’s due to limited supply availability, according to CFO Scott Herren.
4. Here’s who helped SBF get out on bail
Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, leaves following a hearing at Manhattan federal court in New York City, January 3, 2023.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried secured his release on bond with the help of two academics at Stanford University. One of them, Stanford Law School dean emeritus Larry Kramer, said he’s close with SBF’s mother and father, who are professors at the law school. “Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried have been close friends of my wife and I since the mid-1990s,” Kramer told CNBC. Andreas Paepcke, a research scientist at the school was the other guarantor whose name was under seal until a federal judge decided otherwise, following a motion by several media outlets, including CNBC. Paepcke didn’t respond to a request for comment. SBF, who has been charged with sweeping fraud and conspiracy counts, was released on a $250 million bond in December. His parents also signed on as guarantors.
5. Sanders vs. Schultz
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Reuters (L) | Getty Images (R)
Howard Schultz will soon step down as Starbucks CEO – for the third time – but Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to haul him in front of lawmakers anyway after the executive turned down an invitation to testify next month. While Sanders didn’t outright say he would try to subpoena Schultz, he hinted that it could be in the works. “One way or another, he will be there,” the senator told reporters Wednesday. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who favors unions, chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The panel has scheduled a March 9 hearing on Starbucks’ labor practices. Schultz, who’s also a big shareholder in the coffee giant, has been leading Starbucks’ efforts to counter a unionization push among its baristas, even as the company touts progressive initiatives.
– CNBC’s Sarah Min, Michael Wayland, Jordan Novet, Rohan Goswami and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.
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