5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday, November 16


S&P 500 futures are little changed as traders hope to build on November rally

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

1. Easing inflation?

Markets are cheering more encouraging inflation data. The Dow added more than 150 points on Wednesday, good for its fourth winning day in a row, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also ended the day positive. That comes as investors got another indication that the worst of the inflation surge may have passed. Wholesale prices in October posted their biggest decline in 3½ years, down 0.5% for the month, compared with expectations for a 0.1% increase from the Dow Jones consensus. There was some less positive news, as retail sales declined, but that didn’t stop the market momentum. Follow live market updates.

2. Big-box sales boost

People shop in a holiday section ahead of Black Friday at a Walmart Supercenter on November 14, 2023 in Burbank, California. 

Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Shoppers are visiting Walmart stores more often — and spending more money when they do. The big-box retailer said sales rose 5% in the fiscal third quarter thanks to grocery purchases and a growing e-commerce business. Customer transactions were up 3.4% while e-commerce sales grew 24% in the U.S. and 15% across the globe year over year. That helped Walmart to top Wall Street’s quarterly earnings and revenue expectations. But it’s not all rosy. Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey told CNBC’s Melissa Repko that “in the last couple of weeks of October, there were certainly some trends in the business that made us pause and kind of rethink the health of the consumer.”

3. Microsoft’s AI dreams

A custom-built rack for the Maia 100 AI Accelerator and its “sidekick” inside a thermal chamber at a Microsoft lab in Redmond, Washington. The sidekick acts like a car radiator, cycling liquid to and from the rack to cool the chips as they handle the computational demands of AI workloads.

John Brecher | Microsoft

Microsoft is coming for Nvidia. At a conference in Seattle on Wednesday, Microsoft announced that it’s introducing its first chip made for artificial intelligence, which could compete with Nvidia’s highly sought-after AI graphics processing units. It also said it will be releasing an Arm-based chip for general-purpose computing jobs. But that’s not the only way Microsoft is jumping on the AI trend. The tech giant also plans to enhance the Copilot AI add-on for Microsoft Office. For $30 a month, the technology aims to make meetings less painful through a slew of automation.

4. Red strike

A Starbucks logo at a location in New York on Aug. 17, 2023.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Starbucks workers are walking out in the largest strike the union has ever staged. Baristas at more than 200 locations nationwide are striking Thursday, coinciding with the company’s busy Red Cup promotion day (when the coffee giant gives out reusable red cups for the holidays). Workers represented under the union, Starbucks Worker United, say they’re protesting chronic understaffing, especially on promotion days. Meanwhile, workers based in New York City have filed 14 more complaints alleging that Starbucks has violated the city’s labor laws on scheduling, adding to the dozens they’ve filed since February.

5. Winning formula

Red Bull Racing celebrates after Max Verstappen of the Netherlands won the F1 Mexico GP, while teammate Sergio Perez of Mexico came in third on Oct. 30, 2022 in Mexico City.

Dan Istitene | Formula 1 | Getty Images

Red Bull is winning on the track and on the shelves. Red Bull Racing is dominating the Formula 1 races this year — coming on top at 19 of the 20 Grand Prix weekends so far — and it’s seeing that success translate directly to higher sales of its namesake energy drink, the team’s principal and CEO, Christian Horner, told CNBC. “They see it, they can measure it. It’s incredible the amount of consumption of Red Bull that is happening,” Horner told CNBC’s Sara Eisen in the documentary “The Inside Track: The Business of Formula 1,” debuting Thursday on CNBC at 8 p.m. ET. The energy drink market is getting crowded with new players, such as PepsiCo, jumping on board but Red Bull is the second-most popular energy drink brand in the world (behind only Monster Beverage) with a 13% market share.

CNBC’s Lisa Kailai Han, Melissa Repko, Jordan Novet, Amelia Lucas and Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

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