5 things to know before the stock market opens on Wednesday, August 31st

Traders on the NYSE floor, August 30, 2022.

Source: New York SE

Here is the key news investors need to start their trading day:

1. Last breath for August

Stocks limped into the final session in August, a month that dashed promises of a summer rally after an absolutely brutal first half. The three major US indices were set for a slightly higher open on Wednesday after three straight days of losses stretching back to Friday, when Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would continue its aggressive fight against inflation. Still, some observers believe we’ve seen the worst for stocks this year given how they’ve rallied. The S&P 500 rose 17% from its June low to its August high, pointed out Charles Schwab’s Randy Frederick. “It’s quite an impressive rally,” he said. “It would be very rare to give all that back because it just doesn’t happen often.”

2. The Bed Bath & Beyond big reveal

A security guard stands next to a Bed Bath & Beyond sign at the entrance of a store in New York City.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Bed Bath & Beyond unveiled its new business plan on Wednesday. It includes $500 million in new financing, as well as plans for layoffs and store closures. The announcement was heavily telegraphed. Multiple reports had previously said the troubled homewares retailer was on the verge of securing a loan to pay suppliers and keep the lights on. The company also announced a stock offering Wednesday morning that caused shares to fall. Bed Bath’s confusion extends from his unpopular new in-store merchandising strategy to his board offices (several top executives, including CEO Mark Tritton, left earlier this year) to the markets, where the activist investor and meme stock maven Ryan Cohen cashed out his share this month.

3. Eurozone inflation is running hot

View of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the Baltic Sea connection in the Lubmin industrial area, Germany, August 30, 2022.

Lisa Niesner | Reuters

According to the European statistics agency, price increases in the euro zone hit a new record this month. Inflation rose at a rate of 9.1%, slightly beating economists’ forecast of 9%. It is the ninth consecutive month of record consumer price increases. The main culprit is energy prices, a consequence of Russia’s war against Ukraine. In addition, there is a planned maintenance time from Wednesday to Sunday for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany. Russia has gradually cut off gas supplies in recent weeks, in what Germany sees as a political move as European nations support Ukraine in the war and prepare for the coming winter.

4. NASA postpones Artemis launch

NASA’s next-generation lunar rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with its Orion crew capsule on top, stands on launch pad 39B in preparation for the Artemis 1 unmanned mission in Cape Canaveral, Fla. August 27 2022.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

We’ll have to wait a little longer for NASA to launch its much-anticipated Artemis-1 mission to the moon. Originally scheduled for Monday, the launch has been pushed back to Saturday from Wednesday night. But even that attempt may not be made if the weather is bad or if the engine problem is so stuck that the rocket would have to be removed from the launch pad for major repairs. That could mean weeks or months more waiting for the already badly delayed mission to launch, according to CNBC’s space business reporter Michael Sheetz.

5. FBI agents say Mar-a-Lago documents were likely misplaced and hidden

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his home in Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach in New York City, the United States, August 9, 2022.

David Dee Delgado | Reuters

The Justice Department late Tuesday released its latest filing in its national security investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents at his private residence in Mar-a-Lago in South Florida. The filing said records were likely moved and hidden and “efforts were likely to have been made to obstruct the government’s investigation”. It added: “The fact that the FBI recovered in a few hours twice as many documents with classification marks as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s attorney and other officials had to conduct for weeks seriously calls into question the claims made in June 3- certification and casts doubt on the level of cooperation on this matter.” Trump has accused the FBI of being corrupt and dismissed the investigation, one of several he faces, as a witch hunt.

– CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Melissa Repko, Hannah Ward-Glenton, Sam Meredith, Michael Sheetz, Dan Mangan, and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

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