Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Staying in the green
Lackluster earnings? Economic indicators pointing toward a recession? No problem. At least not so far. U.S. stock markets are green so far in this short-lived year, picking up some momentum in recent days. The Nasdaq, in particular, has shown strength, although after it’s bouncing after a dismal 2022, which saw many big tech stocks hammered, as well. Several tech companies, including Dow component Microsoft (which reports earnings after the bell Tuesday), are cutting thousands of jobs after a pandemic-fueled hiring spree in a bid to show investors they’re serious about cost cuts. Other companies on the earnings docket Tuesday: Verizon, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson. Read live market updates here.
2. Microsoft strengthens bond with OpenAI
OpenAI logo displayed on a phone screen and ChatGPT website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on December 5, 2022.
Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Speaking of Microsoft, the legacy tech giant isn’t just in the news for job cuts and earnings. On Monday, it confirmed that it had indeed agreed to a multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, the laboratory behind ChatGPT, the viral artificial intelligence program. Microsoft previously invested in OpenAI in 2019 and 2021, and OpenAI works closely with the company on is Azure cloud system. ChatGPT has exploded in popularity in recent months, as its near-automatic ability to generate text based on prompts has excited – and rattled – people over the prospects for an AI-driven future, adding more fuel to the utopia vs. dystopia debate.
3. Google employees push for answers
Google and Alphabet finance chief Ruth Porat responded to a couple employee questions in Monday’s town hall that addressed its recent layoff.
Alphabet’s Google is facing numerous headaches, including questions about whether OpenAI’s ChatGPT has outflanked the company’s own AI initiatives. Google is also going through its biggest-ever wave of layoffs. CEO Sundar Pichai took a great deal of heat from employees during a companywide town hall Monday to discuss the challenges. Employees pressed for details about how Google leaders decided on whom to lay off and how. Pichai, CFO Ruth Porat and other executives also discussed bonus cuts for executives and where the company is targeting its hiring, among other issues. Read more from CNBC’s Jennifer Elias here.
4. The path forward for Covid vaccines
A woman receives a booster dose of the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium, February 1, 2022.
Johanna Geron | Reuters
Covid vaccines will likely need to be updated once a year, and most people will probably only need a shot a year, too, according to a proposed road map released by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s recommendation is similar to its process for selecting flu shots each year. According to the briefing document released Monday, the FDA would pick the Covid strain for the vaccine during the spring, in time for updated shots to roll out in September, when kids are back and school and ahead of the holidays and virus-friendly winter months. Some, including elderly people and people with compromised immune systems, may need two shots a year, the FDA said.
5. Holding off, for now
A person walks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during rainy weather, in Washington, U.S. January 17, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The Supreme Court delayed deciding whether to take up two cases that could end up altering how social networks police content on their platforms. In question are laws in Florida and Texas that were spearheaded by Republican lawmakers who have accused social media companies of censoring conservatives. Two tech industry groups are challenging the laws, saying they violate companies’ First Amendment right to determine which kind of speech they allow on their platforms. The respective laws are held up in courts, and it’ll be up to the nation’s highest court to decide how the debate will move forward.
– CNBC’s Jesse Pound, Ashley Capoot, Jennifer Elias, Spencer Kimball and Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.
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