5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday, December 14

Rate-sensitive tech stocks stage comeback despite high interest rates

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

1. Dow 37,000

2. Powell power

A trader works, as a screen displays a news conference by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell following the Fed rate announcement, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 13, 2023. 

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

This year, at least for stock investors, the role of Santa Claus is being played by Fed Chair Jerome Powell. His policy-setting central bankers indicated that they could cut their benchmark rate three times next year, which is closer to the dovish vibes on Wall Street than many had expected from the Fed. And even though the annual rate of inflation is still above the Fed’s target of 2%, Wednesday’s announcement and press conference were essentially a declaration of victory over hotter price increases. “Inflation has eased from its highs, and this has come without a significant increase in unemployment,” Powell said. “That’s very good news.”

3. Meh-dobe

A sign is displayed on the exterior of an Adobe office on December 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California. 

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Adobe shares have had a phenomenal year, climbing about 85% through Wednesday’s close, far outpacing the S&P 500’s solid gains. So the software maker was probably due for a hiccup. Adobe’s stock fell in extended trading after the company issued guidance for next year that came in below what the Street was looking for. Executives said they’re keeping a keen eye on spending while acknowledging they had probably put too much faith in price increases for some of its software. “We’re extremely confident about how that continues to be a growth business, and perhaps the pricing impact was overestimated,” CEO Shantanu Narayen said.

4. Scrooged

Rafael Henrique | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Etsy employees are the latest to feel the sting of layoffs during the holidays. The marketplace has more than doubled in size since 2019, as the Covid pandemic fueled an e-commerce boom. But Etsy said new economic pressures pushed it to cut 11% of its workforce, even as consumers increasingly turn to online shopping deals with inflation persisting despite recent cooling. The Etsy layoffs come just days after Hasbro said it would slash about 1,100 jobs, or more than 15% of its staff. Even though the economy is generally humming along, a toy company laying off that many people two weeks before Christmas reflects grim realities for the industry.

5. Budget blues

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy react during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2023. 

Leah Millis | Reuters

The battle on Capitol Hill over aid for Ukraine could end up dragging into next year, which could complicate a bigger fight over the government budget in the early days of a general election year. President Joe Biden is seeking $110 billion in further aid for Ukraine, which is still at war with Vladimir Putin’s invading Russian forces. Even a visit from Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy did little to sway Republicans who want more funding for border security in exchange for money to help Ukraine’s military. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking yet again on whether Congress can fund the government. A temporary measure that’s keeping agencies open is set to expire Jan. 19 for some and Feb. 2 for other departments.

– CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Jeff Cox, Jordan Novet, Sara Eisen, Gabrielle Fonrouge and Rebecca Picciotto contributed to this report.

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