5 things you need to know before the fair opens on Thursday, August 18

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), August 17, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Here are the key news items investors need to start their trading day:

1. Stocks seem to bounce back

Stock futures rose Thursday morning as markets tried to shake off Wednesday’s declines. The down day also ended the Dow’s five-session gains streak, and the S&P 500 looks like it won’t be a fifth consecutive winning week. Investors are processing a few days’ worth of large retail earnings, most notably from Walmart, which showed resilience as inflation-weary shoppers fell, and Target, which took a major blow to earnings as it worked through a lot of unwanted inventory. The Fed minutes also factored in (more on that below). Market watchers on Thursday will also be chewing on new existing home sales and weekly unemployment claims.

2. Get used to judging increases

Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell arrives for a news conference after a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, July 27, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Federal Reserve is prepared to hold interest rate hikes until inflation falls sharply, according to minutes released Wednesday by the central bank’s policy-making committee. The Fed raised rates three-quarters of a point in June and July, and another hike is expected when Federal Open Market Committee chairman Jerome Powell and others meet again in September. However, the minutes indicated that the Fed could moderate rate hikes if central bankers see that their tighter policies can successfully combat the four decades of high inflation that consumers are grappling with. Gas prices have fallen a bit, bringing inflation down, but both the Fed and markets are looking for signs that inflation will continue to fall.

3. No joy in meme-ville

A security guard stands next to a Bed Bath & Beyond sign at the entrance to a retail location in New York City.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Bed Bath and Beyond shares plunged in double digits after hours when it became clear that Ryan Cohen, the activist investor and meme stock mogul, had filed paperwork proposing to sell his entire stake in the troubled retailer. It’s not clear whether Cohen, who recently owned more than 11% of Bed Bath shares, actually sold anything. The filing went public late Wednesday, and it followed a filing Tuesday stating that Cohen’s firm, RC Ventures, owned more than 9.4 million shares of Bed Bath. The news caused a furore on the Wall Street Bets Reddit bulletin board, where Bed Bath has become a favorite of the meme stock. “Of course he didn’t sell,” said one user. “He’s a monkey like us.” The company’s stock is up more than 300% this month.

4. CDC Agents Against Covid Failures

dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies at a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing to examine the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and new emerging variants on Washington’s Capitol Hill, DC, USA January 11, 2022.

Shawn Thew | Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted after an internal review that it was not responding quickly enough to the spread of Covid. So, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said she would reorganize the agency to address the failures. One of the goals: to improve the speed of data sharing and make guidelines simpler and less confusing for the general public. “For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for Covid-19, and at our big moment, our performance has not reliably lived up to expectations,” the CDC director said in a statement.

5. An EV packed with Detroit muscle

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept car


Meet the Charger Daytona SRT. It’s not really a car. It is a concept. But Dodge wants fans of its soon-discontinued Challenger and Charger muscle cars to know that an electric replacement is on the way in 2024. As the auto market moves from gas-powered engines to battery-powered electric vehicles, companies, especially the Detroit Big Three, are looking for ways to preserve their legacy as makers of high-performance cars that drive both fast and powerful. Think of Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang GT in “Bullitt”, the 1971 Dodge Challenger cult classic “Vanishing Point” and, more recently, the nitrous oxide-enhanced street racers in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. EVs, on the other hand, are quiet and can go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.

— Pippa Stevens, Jeff Cox, Lauren Thomas, Jesse Pound, Spencer Kimball and Michael Wayland of CNBC contributed to this report.

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