5 things to know before the stock market opens on Friday August 19

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), August 17, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Here are the most important information investors need to start their trading day:

1. Difficult morning for equities

All three major U.S. indexes were poised to open in negative territory on Friday morning, dampening hopes of a fifth straight week of victories for the S&P 500. Stocks have held up fairly well since the sharp end to the first half, but investors are still looking for certainty despite some recent slowdown in price increases. The Fed seems hawkish about raising rates to whip inflation now, or in the near future, at least. There are also other problems in the economy. Although talk of a broader recession has somewhat died down, housing is facing a real downturn, especially on the builder side. Yet home prices remain high and people are still paying contractors to do work, according to home improvement giants Home Depot and Lowe’s.

2. Meme King cashes in

People walk out of a Bed Bath & Beyond store amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York, January 27, 2021.

Carlos Allegri | Reuters

Activist investor Ryan Cohen, a meme crowd favorite on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, is after all out of Bed Bath & Beyond. In a filing on Thursday, Cohen’s RC Ventures said it had unloaded its entire position in the struggling home goods retailer. Meme investors this week had pushed the stock to highs it hadn’t seen since the spring, but shares tumbled as it became clear over the past two days that Cohen would bail out the company after several big moves, including a CEO change in June and a strategic review of the retailer’s Buybuy Baby business. Cohen, who also chairs stock company GameStop, had been pushing for a spin-off or sale of that unit.

3. Remember crypto?

After a Great Extinction that resulted in several bankruptcies and liquidity crises, some interesting things are happening in the crypto markets. Early Friday saw a rapid decline in crypto markets, which sent bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, below $22,000 after recently surging above $25,000 on a rally. Ether has also staged a comeback, much larger than bitcoin’s, since hitting lows in June. The big change in ether comes ahead of a planned Ethereum blockchain upgrade next month. Ether and bitcoin are still far from their highs, which they reached in November.

4. Shift at Starbucks

People walk past a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York on December 7, 2021.

Lindsay De Dario | Reuters

Big changes are afoot at Starbucks. The coffee chain said Thursday that its chief operating officer, John Culver, will leave the company in October after 20 years. He also said he was doing away with the role of chief operating officer altogether. Culver had been considered a possible candidate for the job of CEO, which Howard Schultz slipped into earlier this year on an interim basis following the retirement of Kevin Johnson. This is Schultz’s third term as chief executive of Starbucks, although many on Wall Street expect the company to name a successor next month at its Investor Day. The next CEO will have to deal with a growing unionization campaign in the company’s cafes.

5. Xi and Putin plan to be at the G-20

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China February 4, 2022.

Alexei Druzhinin | sputnik | Kremlin | via Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are both planning to be at the Group of 20 meeting in November in Indonesia, according to Reuters. It would mark Xi’s first trip outside of China since January 2020, before Covid, which originated in China, became a pandemic. The development comes as Putin continues to wage war in Ukraine after his army launched an unprovoked invasion of Russia’s former Soviet neighbor earlier this year. Xi’s and Putin’s governments have been accused of human rights abuses, which they have denied. President Joe Biden, whose administration supports Ukraine’s defense, is also expected to attend the G-20 summit, and a meeting between him and Xi is also reportedly in the works. Read live updates on Ukraine here.

– CNBC’s Jesse Pound, Diana Olick, Jack Stebbins, Amelia Lucas, Jenni Reid and Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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