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CNBC Daily Open: Presidential debate

WorldCNBC Daily Open: Presidential debate

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on Jan. 17, 2024 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Presidential debate
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump 
faced off in Atlanta for their first debate of the 2024 White House race. Hosted by CNN, the debate occurred as Trump faces two criminal prosecutions related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Biden, battling a cold, was under pressure to defend his administration’s record. Addressing high inflation, Biden blamed Trump’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic for the damaged economy, emphasizing his administration’s efforts to stabilize it and promising further actions to reduce everyday costs for Americans.

Bracing for inflation data 
The S&P 500 eked out a gain as investors gear up for key inflation data, looking for any signs the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 36 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.3%. Micron slipped more than 7% after the memory chip maker issued disappointing fourth-quarter revenue guidance. Nvidia also dropped 1.9%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury inched lower, while U.S. oil prices rose 1% amid continued Israel-Lebanon tensions.

Nike warning
Shares of Nike plunged 12% in extended trading after the sneaker giant slashed its full-year guidance, anticipating a 10% drop in sales for the current quarter. The company cut its guidance as it contends with slower online sales, planned declines in classic footwear franchises, “increased macro uncertainty” in Greater China and “uneven consumer trends” across Nike’s markets, finance chief Matthew Friend said on a call with analysts. Nike’s fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations but the company missed revenue estimates.

Roaring Kitty, back again
Chewy shares experienced a rollercoaster ride on Thursday, soaring as much as 34% following a cryptic post by meme stock influencer Roaring Kitty, before falling back into negative territory. The post of a cartoon dog resembling Chewy’s logo fueled speculation among retail investors. However, the gains were short-lived with the stock ultimately ending the session 0.3% lower.

Asian stocks rise, yen weakens
Japan’s export-heavy Nikkei 225 rose and the broad-based Topix neared a record high, up 0.4%. The yen weakened to 161 against the U.S. dollar to a fresh 38-year low. Japan replaced Masato Kanda with Atsushi Mimura as its top currency diplomat, per Nikkei. Investors also assessed economic releases, including Tokyo’s inflation, Japan’s industrial production and South Korea’s retail sales. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and mainland China’s CSI 300 all traded higher

[PRO] Skip Nvidia
Value investor David Katz of Matrix Asset Advisors is wary of Nvidia’s lofty valuation despite the company’s strong short-term prospects. He anticipates increased competition in the coming years and sees better opportunities elsewhere with lower risk

The bottom line

“The consumer is absolutely stunned,” Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth told CNBC as the drug store operator posted disappointing earnings. Levi Strauss CFO Harmit Singh also warned consumers are “cautious.” While it’s easy to blame inflation for consumers’ struggles, both companies face their own challenges.

Walgreens was booted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in February and over the past two years its stock has plunged 70%. The company is closing underperforming stores in a “challenging” environment for U.S. pharmacies. Levi’s, despite denim being back in fashion, is reducing its reliance on department stores.

That being said, will the Fed come to the aid of struggling consumers and households? Investors will be watching today’s release of May’s core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure. Any weakness could increase the likelihood of an interest rate cut this year. 

CNBC’s Jeff Cox has more on what to expect from Fed’s favored inflation print.

Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz chief economic advisor, told CNBC the Fed should consider cutting rates in July. “This economy is slowing much faster,” El-Erian said. “The household sector no longer has excessive savings or much debt capacity… This is about an economy that no longer has buffers.” He believes the Fed’s 2% inflation target is wrong and that equilibrium inflation is closer to 3%.

Fundstrat head of research Tom Lee expects inflation to fall “like a rock,” boosting stocks. He highlights the auto market, where he sees potential for new car prices to drop, helping to lower goods inflation.

As many strategist predict the broader market to plummet over the summer, Lee downplayed comparisons to the dot-com boom, noting that investor sentiment doesn’t feel like a bubble. “There was a lot more ebullience back then. Today, there are many top-callers,” Lee said on “Squawk Box.”

— CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Brian Evans, Sarah Min, Gabrielle Fonrouge, Michelle Fox, Michael Wayland, Annika Kim Constantino, Spencer Kimball and Lim Hui Jie contributed to this report.

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