5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens (2024)

Microsoft (MSFT) made its latest artificial intelligence (AI) push with an investment of $1.5 billion in United Arab Emirates-based AI firm G42; China’s economy grew 5.3% in the first three months of 2024 on the back of a manufacturing and export boom; UnitedHealth Group (UNH) shares are surging and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)shares are slipping in premarket trading after first-quarter results; shares of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) are falling on a report that the Ticketmaster parent is facing an antitrust lawsuit; and Bank of America (BAC) posted a quarterly revenue and earnings beat. U.S. stock futures are pointing lower, safe-haven asset gold is near record highs and Treasury yields are gaining as recent signs of a strong economy reinforce the message of Federal Reserve officials including ChairJerome Powell that interest rate cuts likely won't be soon. In focus for investors will be views from Powell in his virtual “fireside chat” conversation with Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem today. Here’s what investors need to know today.

1.Microsoft Makes $1.5B Bet on UAE-Based Firm in Latest AI Push

Microsoft (MSFT) is investing $1.5 billion in United Arab Emirates-based artificial intelligence firm G42, in the tech giant’s latest push into the technology, signaling closer ties between the U.S. and the Gulf state. The deal between the two companies "is backed by assurances to both governments through a first of its kind agreement to apply world-class best practices to ensure the secure, trusted, and responsible development and deployment of AI,” Microsoft said. The agreement gives Microsoft a minority stake in G42, and its vice chair and president Brad Smith will have a seat on its board. G42 would use Microsoft cloud services to run its AI applications. Microsoft’s forays into AI has vaulted its stock, although the tech firm’s push has also drawn regulatory scrutiny on competition grounds, with theEuropean Union (EU)probing its recent investment in French startup Mistral AI.Microsoft shares were little changed in premarket trading but are more than 40% higher in the past year.

2.China Q1 GDP Grows 5.3% as Manufacturing Boom Offsets Real Estate Slump

China’s economy picked up in the first three months of the year, driven in large part by Beijing’s push to turbocharge manufacturing. China’s economy grew 5.3% in the first quarter compared with the same three months a year earlier, faster than the 5.2% it notched in the final quarter of 2023, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, and higher than the “around 5%" target it has for 2024. China’s all-important real estate sector remains mired in a downturn, while a consumption boom after Beijing abandoned strict Covid-19 controls petered out after only a few months but exports have been gaining. Foreign governments, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have recently accused Beijing of creating excess capacity and cut-price goods on the back of the country's strategy of pumping exports.

3.Live Nation Slumps as Ticketmaster Parent Reportedly Faces Antitrust Lawsuit

Shares of Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) fell more than 8% in premarket trading after The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company as soon as next month, potentially leading to significant changes to how concert promotions and ticketing are managed. The DOJ will allege that the ticket seller has used its dominance in the marketplace to undermine competition for ticketing live events, the report said. Since the DOJ conditionally approved the Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger in 2010, lawmakers have accused the ticketing giant of high prices, insufficient customer service, and anti-competitive tactics, prompting calls for the company to be broken up.

4.UnitedHealth Surges, Johnson & Johnson Slips After Q1 Results

UnitedHealth Group's (UNH) shares are surging 7% in premarket trading, after the nation’s largest managed care firm posted better-than-expected earnings and revenue. Both its adjusted earnings per share of $6.91 and revenue of $99.8 billion exceeded analysts' forecasts, and the results also showed a less-than-feared damage from a cyberattack earlier this year on its Change Healthcare division, which operates the largest clearinghouse for medical claims in the U.S. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)shares were down 0.5% in premarket trading after thehealthcare giant posted revenue for the first quarter roughly in line with estimates, although earnings beat analysts' expectations.

5.Bank of America Posts Q1 Revenue, Profit Beat

Shares of Bank of America (BAC) were up inching higher in premarket trading after the banking giant posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Adjusted net income fell to $7.2 billion, or 83 cents per share, above expectations from consensus projections compiled by Visible Alpha. Revenue fell 2% to $25.8 billion for the quarter but was also above expectations. Net interest income decreased 3% to $14.03 billion from the same period last year.

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5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens (2024)

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