5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday

Feb 26, 2024

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

1. The Fed vs. Nvidia

The week ahead will tell whether the Federal Reserve can damper investor enthusiasm. A rally fueled in large part by blowout Nvidia earnings pushed the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq all to 52-week highs on Friday. Stocks surged to end the week even as more Fed policymakers indicated they will move slowly to cut interest rates, as inflation eases but remains more stubborn than the central bank would have hoped. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index, is due Thursday and will help to determine the path of policy ahead. Earnings from companies including Lowe’s, Macy’s, TJX, Salesforce, Paramount and Best Buy will also offer a read into the health of the economy. Follow live market updates here.

2. Buffett’s blooming billions

3. Crumbling in Carolina

Nikki Haley’s campaign suffered a major financial blow after her crushing presidential primary loss in her home state of South Carolina. Americans for Prosperity Action, the deep-pocketed conservative interest group backed by billionaire Charles Koch, said it will stop spending in support of the Republican presidential hopeful. The move came after former President Donald Trump beat Haley by about 20 percentage points in the state where she served as governor. The result all but locked up the GOP nomination for Trump, who faces criminal charges in four separate federal, state and local cases. Haley has said she will stay in the race at least until Super Tuesday on March 5.

4. Don’t call it deflation

Though inflation has eased in recent months, consumers have still seen their budgets stretched by rising prices. Relief may not come as soon as shoppers would like. Walmart said late last year that it may soon see deflation in certain items, but the big-box retailer walked back that sentiment last week. Many companies either are still contending with rising prices — or downplaying areas where prices are falling because it could signal weakness about their businesses or the economy. While deflation may hit some segments like food later this year, it remains to be seen how it could affect the prices shoppers pay.

5. Claiming more for baggage

Airline passengers may soon have to pay more for baggage. Carriers including United, American and JetBlue have hiked prices for checked bags this year. The fees can depend on where customers are flying, or whether they check bags in advance or at the airport. Airlines are trying to drive profitability and see baggage charges as a key moneymaker, especially as they pay more for both labor and fuel.

– CNBC’s Tanaya Macheel, Sarah Min, Yun Li, Rebecca Picciotto, Melissa Repko, Amelia Lucas and Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.

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