- Fox agrees to pay $787.5 million to settle Dominion's defamation suit.
- Netflix plans to roll out its password-sharing crackdown in the U.S. this quarter.
- Apple starts opening stores in India.
Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. A slight stumble
The three major U.S. stock indices muddled through Tuesday, as the S&P 500 barely finished in positive territory while the Dow and the Nasdaq each slipped. Early Wednesday, it looked like stocks could end up in the red, as Treasury yields ticked higher. Investors will have a new slate of big earnings report to dig into, as well, after Netflix and United Airlines posted results Tuesday evening. Morgan Stanley is reporting before the bell Wednesday morning, while Tesla and IBM are set to deliver their numbers after the bell. Follow live market updates.
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2. Fox settles defamation suit
It went right down to the wire – jury selection had wrapped up and opening arguments were set to begin Tuesday afternoon – but Fox Corp. avoided a six-week trial by agreeing to a last-minute settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion sued Fox and its cable networks, Fox News and Fox Business, for defamation in the aftermath of the 2020 election. The Fox channels repeatedly aired false claims that Dominion had helped rigged the presidential vote in Joe Biden's favor against Donald Trump. Documents released in the run-up to this week's planned trial date showed that several Fox executives and hosts knew the claims were wrong, and a trial could have exposed more issues at the media company. Dominion had sought $1.6 billion from Fox (market cap: $18 billion), but ultimately settled for a smaller but nonetheless hefty sum of $787.5 million. Fox isn't out of the legal woods yet, though. Smartmatic, another voting tech company, is seeking $2.7 billion in its own defamation lawsuit.
3. Netflix's next chapter
Netflix triggered all kinds of sentimental warm-and-fuzzies Tuesday when it announced it would end its DVD-by-mail service. (People were still using that, really?) But the company got down to business in its earnings report after the bell by focusing on an issue that really matters to its customer base right now: password sharing. Netflix had sought to roll out broadly a paid-sharing policy during the first quarter. But after seeing how some non-U.S. markets responded to it, the company said it would now unveil it during the second quarter, including in the United States. The takeaway, according to Netflix: At first, subscribers dropped off, but eventually they returned and boosted revenue. "While this means that some of the expected membership growth and revenue benefit will fall in Q3 rather than Q2, we believe this will result in a better outcome from both our members and our business," the company said.
4. A new frontier for Apple
Apple began a new era Tuesday by opening its first store in India, a heavily populated market with a growing middle class. Indeed, India may well have surpassed China as the world's most populous country. And the expansion is so momentous for Apple that CEO Tim Cook is visiting India this week. CNBC reporters Kif Leswing, Seema Mody and Arjun Kharpal break down the significance:
- Why India is so important to Apple
- Apple looks for a new generation of iPhone users
- Apple CEO Tim Cook to meet with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi
5. Gensler's crypto clash
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler sat in the hot seat Tuesday on Capitol Hill, as House Republicans grilled him over his agency's regulation of the crypto industry. Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, accused Gensler of forcing crypto firms overseas, thus stifling innovation in the U.S. "Regulation by enforcement is not sufficient nor sustainable," McHenry told the SEC chief. "You're punishing digital asset firms for allegedly not adhering to the law when they don't know it will apply to them." Gensler stuck to his approach, however. "We have a whole field in crypto that understands the law, and if they are providing exchange services, broker dealer services, clearing services of crypto security tokens, they should come into compliance," Gensler said at another point in the four-hour hearing.
– CNBC's Brian Evans, Lillian Rizzo, Kevin Breuninger, Dan Mangan, Kif Leswing, Seema Mody, Arjun Kharpal and Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.
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