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5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Reality bytes

We knew this was going to be a pivotal week for stocks, with so many Big Tech names reporting earnings. Now that we’re through those reports, we have a good sense of where things stand as we venture deeper into the fourth quarter. After Alphabet disappointed investors with soft ad revenue and Microsoft issued underwhelming guidance, Facebook cratered as it became clear it would continue losing money on its increasingly dire metaverse venture. Then came Amazon and Apple earnings after the bell Thursday. Amazonrevenue that missed Wall Street’s projections and issued weak guidance for the fourth quarter. Applethat’s not saying much: Sales of iPhones and services came in below expectations. Read live market updates here.

Read more: Amazon quietly donated to conservative group fighting antitrust legislation

2. ‘the bird is freed’

Tesla founder Elon Musk attends Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022.
Carina Johansen | NTB | via Reuters

Twitter now belongs to Elon Musk. Thursday night, CNBC’s David Faber broke the news that the eccentric billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX finally completed his $44 billion acquisition of the social media company after months of stunts, insults, walkbacks, insinuations, press leaks, legal maneuvers and and elaborate puns. Musk already put his stamp on the company, dismissing several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal. After the news broke, Musk, the self-described “Chief Twit,” tweeted: “the bird is freed.” The story isn’t over yet. Now we’re all waiting to see if and when Musk will revive the account of Donald Trump, who was booted from Twitter for inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

3. Putin’s shifty nuke rhetoric

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses heads of security and intelligence agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states via a video link in Moscow, Russia October 26, 2022.
Sputnik | Via Reuters

After threatening several times that Russia would use any means to protect its territory, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he doesn’t think it would be necessary to use nuclear weapons. “We see no need for that,” Putin said. “There is no point in that, neither political, nor military.” President Joe Biden, however, declined to take Putin at his word. “If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it? Why is he talking about the ability to use a tactical nuclear weapon?” Biden said during an interview with NewsNation. The exchange comes as Russia suggests that Ukraine would use a so-called dirty bomb, a traditional explosive device equipped with radioactive material, in its fight against the Kremlin’s invaders. Ukrainian and Western officials have dismissed the claim as a potential pretext for escalation. Read live war updates here.

4. Wheeling and dealing

Vehicles are displayed for sale at an AutoNation car dealership on April 21, 2022 in Valencia, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

With supply chain issues easing somewhat, auto dealer stocks rallied Thursday. They defied, at least for now, Wall Street’s expectations for what some analysts called “demand destruction” driven by inflation, recession fears and higher interest rates. Companies such as AutoNation and Group 1 Automotive came through with strong earnings and positive guidance. Group 1 CEO Earl Hesterberg told investors this week that the company doesn’t have “any big trepidation about next year … our core businesses such as aftersales and new vehicle sales are moving to remain strong in the near-term.”

5. Short order

Another way restaurants haven’t recovered from the early, shutdown-heavy days of the Covid pandemic? Operating hours. Despite restrictions being lifted nationwide, eateries are open an average of 6.4 hours less than they were in October 2019, according to a Datassential study. There are a few key reasons, the study says. Among them: Restaurants are having trouble staffing for longer hours, and workers are returning to offices on hybrid schedules, meaning more time at home and less time out. It’s even worse for independently owned restaurants, which have lost 7.5 hours weekly, compared to chains that have more than 501 locations, which cut hours by an average of 4 hours a week.

Read more: Beer is rapidly losing market share in the U.S. as canned cocktails thrive

– CNBC’s Tanaya Macheel, Annie Palmer, Kif Leswing, David Faber, Jonathan Vanian, Natasha Turak, Michael Wayland and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

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