Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. The earnings feast continues
Even as investors chew over the latest remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (more below), they’re digging into the next course in the earnings season menu. Yum Brands reported Wednesday morning, following Chipotle’s lackluster report after the bell Tuesday. Under Armour, Uber and CVS Health also posted results. The main course Wednesday, though, will be Disney after the bell. Markets are particularly looking for clues about CEO Bob Iger’s plans to stem streaming losses and perhaps cut jobs. Mattel also reports after the bell. Read live markets updates.
2. ‘Disinflationary’ returns
The Fed chair again rolled out the word “disinflationary” during his remarks Tuesday at the Economic Club of Washington, as he acknowledged that price increases were starting to cool off. But his speech wasn’t so dovish. Knowing full well that markets were his primary audience, Powell said it’s going to take some time before things normalize – and that the Fed could keep raising rates if the data doesn’t show continued “disinflationary” trends. “These are the very early stages,” he said.
3. Microsoft’s big plans for ChatGPT
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it would use ChatGPT, OpenAI’s buzzy artificially intelligent chatbot, to boost its Bing search engine and Edge internet browser. The announcement came on the heels of Google’s own announcement about deploying its AI-powered chatbot, Bard, this year. CNBC learned more about Microsoft’s plans, too. The company plans to release software that will let other companies and organizations create their own custom chatbots using ChatGPT, a source told CNBC. Among the potential uses for these custom chatbots: suggesting answers for customer service call center employees. The Microsoft tech could also be used by governments and schools, the source told CNBC.
4. State of the economic union
President Joe Biden, in a feisty State of the Union address, urged Republicans to work with Democrats to help realize his economic vision. While that’s doubtful – House Republicans, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are dead set on opposing the Biden agenda – Biden nonetheless laid out his vision for the economy and a likely run for re-election next year. Five key points stood out, according to CNBC’s Emma Kinery: A renewed push for a “billionaire’s tax,” a war on “junk fees,” a tougher antitrust posture, boosting labor unions and broadening a price cap on insulin.
5. Zelenskyy visits London
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday made a surprise visit to London. He was greeted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and the two made their way to 10 Downing Street for meetings. “The United Kingdom was one of the first to come to Ukraine’s aid. And today I’m in London to personally thank the British people for their support and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his leadership,” Zelenskyy said. His visit also comes ahead of an expected major offensive by Russian forces as Vladimir Putin looks to seize back momentum in his nearly yearlong invasion of Ukraine. Read live war updates.
– CNBC’s Sarah Min, Jeff Cox, Jordan Novet, Emma Kinery and Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.
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