Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Short day for stocks
We hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving. If you’re scheduled to work today, please don’t work too hard. U.S. stock markets are knocking off early, anyway, at 1 p.m. ET. (Bond markets close at 2 p.m.) Despite it being a short week with somewhat low trading volumes, equities are on pace to finish the frame in positive territory. The Fed minutes released Wednesday put a little extra pep in traders’ steps. The central bank’s policy makers indicated they are ready to slow down the pace of rate hikes given evidence of some progress in the fight against inflation. Read live market updates here.
2. Black Friday stakes
The pressure is on for retailers to pull off a strong holiday season, which kicks off in earnest with Black Friday sales. But retailers have also largely painted themselves into a corner with a steady stream of promotions and clearance sales dating back months now as they’ve sought to clear out excess inventory that piled up because of supply chain problems or mere changes in what customers want. The National Retail Federation said 166.3 million people are expected to shop over the weekend. That would be a record. But will they spend enough to get stores where they need to be? CNBC’s Melissa Repko explains what’s at stake for the retail industry in its most important time of the year.
3. Zelenskyy urges unity
Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy gave European governments a pep talk Friday, urging them to stick together as Russia’s war in his country drags on. “There is no split, there is no schism among Europeans and we have to preserve this. This is our mission number one this year,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to a conference in Lithuania. Zelenskyy’s remarks came as Ukraine struggles with widespread blackouts and infrastructure failures following a barrage of Russian missile attacks. Read live war updates here.
4. Musk’s latest Twitter tweak
Elon Musk is going to throw some more spaghetti at the wall at Twitter HQ. The billionaire electric car and rocket ship mogul said Friday his social network will roll out a series of different-colored verified check marks next week. “Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “Painful, but necessary.” Musk said more details will be coming next week. The latest change comes after he was forced to pause the $8 per month Twitter Blue service, after many users impersonated brands and celebrities.
5. Binance flexes
Crypto exchange Binance said it opened a $1 billion recovery fund for the industry as it reels from the bankruptcy of FTX and the widening scandal surrounding founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Binance, run by CEO Changpeng Zhao, said the fund is intended to help firms which “through no fault of their own, are facing significant, short term, financial difficulties.” About 150 companies have already applied for help from the fund, said Binance, which added that it may boost the money available to $2 billion, “if the need arises.”
– CNBC’s Carmen Reinicke, Sarah Min, Melissa Repko, Karen Gilchrist, Arjun Kharpal and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.