Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Is this week over yet?
U.S. stock futures fell Friday, putting markets on course for a losing week. The Nasdaq, in particular, has had a brutal time, since risk-heavy tech stocks are more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The three major indices tumbled again Thursday, a day after the Fed announced its decision to raise its benchmark rate by yet another three-quarters of a point to the highest mark in over 14 years. Yet the central bank's warning that it could jack rates up to 4.6%, from the current 3% to 3.25%, prompted fears that policy makers might be doing too much, too late. Bond yields have also popped, triggering fears that a recession is on the way in 2023.
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2. FedEx tries to stop the bleeding
Speaking of recession fears, FedEx's CEO rattled investors last week, when he told CNBC's Jim Cramer that he believes we're on the cusp of a global recession, after the delivery company withdrew its guidance and cited waning demand. Its stock tanked on the news. FedEx's issues made investors and analysts wonder just how much they stem from economic pressures versus the company's own shortcomings. On Thursday, FedEx released its full earnings report – inadvertently before the market close – and unveiled a plan to cut between $2.2 billion and $2.7 billion in costs during its 2023 fiscal year. The company also said it would increase shipping rates, as well.
3. Putin's growing nuclear threat
The Russian government is sticking by President Vladimir Putin's warning that he could use "all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people" as Western weapons and money fuel Ukraine's increasingly successful defense. Leaders and experts saw a nuclear threat in Putin's words. Indeed, Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president who is a key figure in Putin's government, followed by saying the country would use any weapons to defend itself, including strategic nukes. "Coming from the person who has the sole decision-making power regarding Russian nuclear weapons this will have to be taken seriously," said Andrey Baklitskiy, a senior researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, referring to Putin.
- Read more: CNBC's live blog covering the Ukraine war
4. Live from the Big Apple, it's ... Apple
Apple's latest big move into sports involves arguably the most heated rivalry in professional sports and a slugger's quest for glory. Apple TV+ has exclusive rights to Friday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in the Bronx. While the Yankees are one of the best teams in baseball and the Sox have a losing record, the two clubs' mutual hatred make all of their matchups worth watching. New York outfielder Aaron Judge could also hit his 61st home run of the season, which would tie him for late Yankee Roger Maris' American League record. (Also, the non-steroid home run record for all of baseball, if you're an old-fashioned purist.) Such an event would be a bonanza for Apple. The top-tier gadget maker, like fellow tech giant Amazon, is making a big play for sports dominance against Disney and its ESPN brand, as well as legacy broadcast networks. (By the way, Apple will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show, starting in February.)
5. Will Bed Bath & Beyond survive?
Bed Bath & Beyond is pushing ahead with a drastic turnaround plan as its share price and sales slide, but it'll be hard for the retailer to get out of the mess it's in. Bed Bath is drowning in debt and has dicey relationships with the companies that supply the kinds or products the home goods chain will need to sell if it wants to avoid bankruptcy. The company says its new plan, which relies on a new loan and national brands, has been well-received. But former executives, who left the company recently, told CNBC that the company has alienated suppliers by making late payments and prioritizing its own brands. Read about what's at stake for Bed Bath & Beyond here.
– CNBC's Alex Harring, Sam Meredith, Jack Stebbins, Kif Leswing, Melissa Repko and Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.