- Disney gears up for a proxy fight with Nelson Peltz.
- Air travel is returning to normal after an FAA system failure.
- Markets are watching for the December CPI report.
Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. It's CPI day
Thursday morning's consumer price index report gave the latest indication of whether the Federal Reserve's war on inflation is having any success. But, as CNBC's Patti Domm points out, even though December CPI declined month to month, as expected, it doesn't mean the Fed is going to ease off its rate hike plan since year over year inflation is still well above policymakers' 2% target. Markets, meanwhile, are coming off a positive Wednesday. The Nasdaq is on a four-day winning streak. Read live markets updates here.
2. Proxy fight at Disney
Add "proxy fight" to Bob Iger's already-staggering to-do list. After the bell Wednesday, Disney announced that its new chairman would be Mark Parker, a longtime board member and Nike's executive chairman. But that wasn't all. The entertainment giant got ahead of an announcement by activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management, saying it had rejected Peltz's attempt to join the board. Trian bought about $800 million Disney stock about two months ago. On Wednesday, Peltz said Disney had "lost its way" and that he wants Disney to become more cost efficient. Notably, though, Trian said it wasn't looking to replace Iger, despite Peltz's reported skepticism about the executive's return to Disney. "Trian's objective is to create sustainable, long-term value at Disney by working WITH Bob Iger and the Disney Board," the firm said.
Sure, Bed Bath & Beyond is probably on the brink of bankruptcy, AMC Entertainment is struggling with a massive debt load and an environment that favors streaming over theaters, and GameStop is, well, GameStop. But that didn't stop their shares from popping in what felt like a last-gasp meme stock rally Wednesday. Bed Bath & Beyond, whose market cap was under $150 million earlier this week, surged the most – 68%. Heading into Thursday morning, its market value stands at more than $307 million, even as the company rapidly burns through cash, runs out of merchandise to sell and loses customers. "We don't love the strength in nonsense stocks like AMC, CVNA, GME, BBBY, PRTY, etc.," said Adam Crisafulli, founder of market commentary firm Vital Knowledge. "This just means people are blindly chasing."
4. Flight delays ease after FAA failure
Air travel started to return to normal Thursday in the United States, a day after a Federal Aviation Administration system failure delayed more than 10,000 flights. As of Thursday morning, more than 400 flights were delayed. The FAA said the failure was the result of a "damaged database file" that officials addressed by rebooting the system. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they planned to investigate the matter, as did the FAA. "When there's a problem with a government system, we're going to own it, we're going to find it, and we're going to fix it," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. The Biden administration said there was no evidence of a cyber attack.
5. Starbucks toughens return to office policy
Corporate workers at Starbucks will soon be required to return to their offices at least three days a week, CEO Howard Schultz told employees in a memo. Office workers were expected to come in once or twice a week, but badge swpe data showed employees weren't living up to that request, according to Schultz. The coffee chain is the latest major company to issue a stricter return-to-office policy. Earlier this week, for instance, Disney's Bob Iger told workers they needed to return to offices at least four days a week.
– CNBC's Patti Domm, Yun Li, Sarah Whitten, Leslie Josephs and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.
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