5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday, November 21

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addresses the OpenAI controversy.
  • Retailers including Lowe’s and Best Buy report earnings.
  • Nvidia will report earnings after the closing bell.

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

Stocks are still rocking and rolling in what’s been a strong month so far. The Dow closed about 200 points higher Monday, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are on five-day winning streaks. Treasury yields have come down a bit, with hopes that the Federal Reserve is easing off its inflation-fighting rate-hiking initiative. We’ll hear more about what the Fed’s thinking about inflation and the state of the economy with the central bank set to release the minutes from its last policy-setting meeting. Follow live market updates.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wants changes at OpenAI, the red-hot startup that threw itself into turmoil over the weekend by booting co-founder and chief executive Sam Altman. “At this point, I think it’s very clear that something has to change around the governance,” Nadella told CNBC’s Jon Fortt. Microsoft has invested about $13 billion in OpenAI, which makes the popular ChatGPT app that has altered the course of tech over the past year. Microsoft quickly snapped up Altman to lead a new AI team, while hundreds of OpenAI employees threatened to follow him unless he were reinstated to lead the startup (of which Microsoft owns 49%). Nadella said it’s up to them whether to stay or hop over. “I’m open to both options,” he said.

LoweÍs store entrance with logo sign above main entry doors, Spokane Valley, Washington with stores in the USA and Canada, headquartered in Mooresville North Carolina. 

Ucg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

A whole slew of retailers on are the earnings schedule Tuesday, giving investors one last taste of the companies’ expectations for the holiday quarter before Thanksgiving. So far they’ve been ho-hum. The day after Thanksgiving, known widely as Black Friday, isn’t what it once was, with discounts starting earlier and e-commerce drawing increasingly more dollars. But it is the start of the homestretch. Tuesday morning, we’re hearing from Best Buy, Lowe’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and mall apparel sellers American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie and Fitch. Nordstrom will report after the closing bell.

Jensen Huang, President of NVIDIA holding the Grace hopper superchip CPU used for generative AI at supermicro keynote presentation during the COMPUTEX 2023.

Walid Berrazeg | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Tuesday isn’t just for retail earnings. Nvidia, one of the darlings of the artificial intelligence boom, is due to report after the bell. Wall Street is hyped, too. The stock closed at an all-time high Monday in advance of the quarterly report, having surged 245% this year, setting the pace and then some in the S&P 500. Analysts expect the company to post revenue growth of 170%. Beyond the numbers, investors will be keen to hear what Nvidia executives think of the fallout surrounding OpenAI following its ouster of Sam Altman.

A nozzle is replaced on a fuel dispenser at a gas station in La Puente, California, on September 7, 2023. 

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Gas prices are on track to be the cheapest they’ve been on Thanksgiving since 2020, when Covid restrictions put a damper on travel. In general, gas prices have been sliding for over two months at this point. The average cost of a gallon on Monday was $3.31, 25 cents cheaper than it was a month ago. It’s under $3 in 11 Southern and Midwestern states, according to AAA. The declines might be short-lived, however. OPEC could cut production at its meeting next week, which would give a boost to crude oil prices.

– CNBC’s Brian Evans, Jordan Novet, Ari Levy and Spencer Kimball contributed to this report.

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