5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

  • Nvidia gets a boost from the AI boom.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk meets with California Gov. Gavin Newsom
  • Google tells its cloud employees to share desks.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on February 22, 2023 in New York City.

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

1. Slumping

The S&P 500 has posted four straight losing days, as investors try to get a grip on the state of the consumer – and consumer-driven companies – with the retail-led portion of earnings season under way. Market players are also chewing over the minutes, released Wednesday, from the Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting that concluded at the beginning of this month. The release showed that several Fed members are prepapred to stay firm in their fight against inflation as the job market and wages feed more price increases. Updated GDP figures and weekly jobless claims data are due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Follow live markets updates.

2. AI gives Nvidia a boost

NVIDIA beats on EPS, says A.I. is at an inflection point

What to watch next

Shares of chipmaker Nvidia jumped after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Nvidia had already been riding high as investors see it as well-positioned to weather an economic downturn and a decline in PC sales. The stock was already up more than 40% this year going into Wednesday evening’s earnings announcement. Nvidia is also in a good spot when it comes to blossoming artificial intelligence demand. Its data center segment, which includes AI chips, showed continued growth in the most recent period. “Generative AI’s versatility and capability has triggered a sense of urgency at enterprises around the world to develop and deploy AI strategies,” CEO Jensen Huang said in an earnings call Wednesday.

3. California teamin’ on such a winter’s day

Tesla increases California footprint with new engineering headquarters

What to watch next

Elon Musk and California are friends again, apparently. The Tesla CEO met with California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to tour the company’s new engineering headquarters in Palo Alto. The EV maker, which is looking to expand its AI and robot technology, is taking over a lease for office space that was previously occupied by Hewlett-Packard. “This was HP’s original headquarters, and so I think it’s a poetic transition from the founders of Silicon Valley to Tesla and we’re very excited to make this our global engineering headquarters,” said Musk, an outspoken critic of California’s policies and Democratic politics. “And we’re a California-Texas company.” Indeed, the surprising meetup between Newsom, a Democrat, and Musk comes amid numerous regulatory battles between California and Tesla, and not long after the company’s 2021 relocation of its headquarters to Texas.

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4. Sharing desks at Google

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Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, US, on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. Alphabet Inc. is expected to release earnings figures on February 2.

Alphabet’s Google is telling cloud employees to start sharing desks at the company’s five biggest locations in the United States, including San Francisco, Seattle and New York, CNBC’s Jennifer Elias reported. Google’s cloud business is growing rapidly, pulling in billions in revenue each quarter, but is still losing several hundred million dollars each period. Overall, Alphabet pulled in nearly $60 billion in profit last year. Company leaders are calling the new seating plan “Cloud Office Evolution” or “CLOE.” Some Google employees mocked the corporate messaging surrounding the change. “Not every cost-cutting measure needs to be word mangled into sounding good for employees,” said one message generated using the company’s internal meme generator. “A simple ‘We are cutting office space to reduce costs’ would make leadership sound more believable.”

5. ‘The path of the murderer’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert dedicated to Russian service members involved in the country’s military campaign in Ukraine, on the eve of the Defender of the Fatherland Day at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia February 22, 2023.

Both Ukraine and Russia are ramping up their rhetoric as Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the former Soviet state approaches the one-year mark Friday. “Russia has chosen the path of the murderer. The path of the terrorist. The path of the torturer. The path of the looter. This is the state choice of Russia, and there will be state responsibility for the terror committed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post ahead of the grim anniversary. Putin, meanwhile, has condemned U.S. and overall Western support for Ukraine, while preparing for a potential visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping this spring. Follow live war updates.

– CNBC’s Tanaya Macheel, Kif Leswing, Yasmin Khorram, Jennifer Elias and Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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