5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, March 16, 2023.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

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

1. Coming out ahead

It looks like major stock averages could come out ahead this week, on pace for a winning week despite the turmoil in the global banking sector. Through Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.06%, the S&P 500 has risen 2.56%, and the Nasdaq Composite is up 5.19% — on track for its best week since November. Friday, though, marks the periodic phenomenon known on Wall Street as "triple witching," when stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expire at the same time, which could bring some last-hour wackiness. Follow live market updates.

2. First Republic's lifeboat

An office sits empty at the First Republic Bank headquarters on March 16, 2023 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

A group of 11 financial institutions has offered regional bank First Republic — among the worst hit by the cascading fallout from recent bank failures — a lifeboat in the form of $30 billion in deposits to shore up its holdings. Bank of AmericaWells FargoCitigroup and JPMorgan Chase will kick in about $5 billion each, while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will deposit around $2.5 billion, the banks said in a news releaseTruistPNCU.S. BancorpState Street and Bank of New York Mellon are also in the mix and will deposit about $1 billion each. "This action by America's largest banks reflects their confidence in First Republic and in banks of all sizes, and it demonstrates their overall commitment to helping banks serve their customers and communities," the group said in a statement.

3. To Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves after his speech as the new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the media following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 23, 2022. 
Tingshu Wang | Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia next week, his first trip to the country since its invasion of Ukraine over a year ago, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Friday, adding the trip comes at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chinese officials didn't specify whether the two leaders would meet during Xi's visit, but the Kremlin said in a statement that "important bilateral documents will be signed" — without elaborating. China last month called again for a cease-fire in the war, but it's so far refused to call Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine an invasion. Read live updates on the Russia-Ukraine war. 

4. FedEx delivers

The FedEx logo is displayed on a FedEx vehicle on February 1, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

FedEx shares shot up in off-hours trading after the company delivered an upbeat full-year earnings forecast and a quarterly report that showed its cost-cutting efforts are bearing fruit. The company said it now expects adjusted earnings for its fiscal year 2023 to come in between $14.60 and $15.20, up from a prior forecast of between $13.00 and $14.00. Executives have been carrying out an aggressive plan to reduce costs in the face of shrinking shipping volumes. The cost reductions have included layoffs, grounding planes, cutting office space and adjusting delivery services. "We are holistically adjusting to the cost base on all dimensions and all areas. Every dollar is under scrutiny," CFO Mike Lenz said during FedEx's earnings call.

5. The new Harvard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology students play football outside the Maclaurin building October 10, 2003 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
William B. Plowman | Getty Images

College hopefuls have a new top dream school. Yes, it's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. No, it's not Harvard. According to a new survey by the Princeton Review of college-bound students and their families, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the new holy grail of acceptance letters. MIT has an acceptance rate of just under 4%, making it among the hardest schools to get into, but that may be part of the appeal. "There's a subconscious consensus that it's only worth going to college if you can go to a life-changing college," said Hafeez Lakhani, founder and president of Lakhani Coaching in New York. Second on the list of "dream" schools was Stanford University, followed by Harvard University and New York University. Check out the rest of the top 10. (Warning for fellow Tar Heels: the University of North Carolina didn't make the list, but it's still my dream school.)

– CNBC's Hakyung Kim, Jesse Pound, Evelyn Cheng, Noah Sheidlower and Jessica Dickler contributed to this report.

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