5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

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

1. Economic worries bubble up

The Dow and the S&P 500 broke their four-day winning streak Monday. The Nasdaq also declined. The day of losses came as investors chewed over the latest data about the economy. Concerns of a slowdown are rising again after new data showed that job openings fell below 10 million for the first time in more than two years. There’s more jobs data due this week, too. Wednesday morning brings the ADP private payrolls report, while the March jobs report is due Friday. Markets are closed that day due to Good Friday. Follow live markets updates.

2. J&J agrees to pay billions over talc claims

A container of Johnson’s baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson sits on a table on October 18, 2019 in San Anselmo, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said it had agreed to pay $8.9 billion over 25 years to settle tens of thousands of claims that its talc-based baby powder caused cancer due to asbestos contamination. The company pulled the talc-based powder off shelves earlier this year. J&J committed to “fairly compensate” the people who made the claims, according to one of the plaintiff lawyers who negotiated the settlement. “Our job is to get our clients fairly paid for their injuries, and this settlement is the culmination of a job well done,” said the attorney, Mikal Watts. J&J, however, said it still believes the claims lack merit, despite its attempt to settle the matter.

3. There’s a new no. 2 in EVs

General Motors has pulled ahead in the race to be a distant second to Tesla in U.S. electric vehicle sales. In the first quarter of this year, GM sold more than 20,000 EVs, putting it ahead of Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen, each of which sold over 14,000 EVs. Last year’s no. 2, Ford Motor, sold more than 10,000 in the period. Tesla, however, still rules the roost, by a huge margin. The company doesn’t break out sales figures by region, but it reported more than 422,000 overall deliveries for the quarter. Of that, Motor Intelligence estimates Elon Musk’s company sold more than 160,000 EVs in the U.S. during that time frame.

4. Frank founder’s alleged fraud

Charlie Javice, Founder/CEO of Frank, which is a college financial aid start-up.

Source: JP Morgan

Charlie Javice looked like she had the world in the palm of her hands. She created a startup, Frank, that promised to shake up financial planning for college – which JPMorgan ended up buying for $175 million – and was once featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Now, at age 31, she’s facing four federal criminal counts for allegedly defrauding the Wall Street mainstay, not to mention lawsuits from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the big bank itself. Both JPMorgan and the feds are accusing her of inflating the number of users on Frank in a bid to defraud the bank. She countersued JPMorgan and, according to her lawyer’s spokesperson, denies the Justice Department’s alegations.

5. Bragg means business

New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks after former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared at Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, after his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, April 4, 2023.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Donald Trump’s career as a businessman was a key part of his pitch to voters in 2016, when he shocked the world and won the presidency. Now, that status has come back to haunt the former commander-in-chief in the Manhattan district attorney’s case against him. The DA, Alvin Bragg, argued in his remarks after Trump’s arraignment Tuesday that his prosecution of the real estate magnate, one-time steak salesman and former reality TV star was in part about maintaining the integrity of business in New York. The indictment charges Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in a bid to cover up other alleged crimes. “Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market,” Bragg said. “We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct.”

– CNBC’s Sarah Min, Annika Kim Constantino, Michael Wayland and Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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