5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday
- Amazon employees are angry at new return to office policies.
- Walmart and Home Depot offered soft outlooks.
- Starbucks wants you to drink olive oil in your coffee.
Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
The market came back from the three-day weekend in bad shape. The three major indices each fell by at least 2% on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq dropping the most. The Dow is now in negative territory for the young year, which had looked so promising at first. Bond yields rose as investors weighed what the Federal Reserve might do next while they also digested muted outlooks from two top retailers (see below). They should get some clues later Wednesday, when the Fed releases the minutes from its previous policy-setting meeting. Follow live markets updates.
Amazon employees' anger about CEO Andy Jassy's sudden return-to-office mandate keeps growing. Starting May 1, people must be back in the office at least three days a week, Jassy and his leadership team announced a few days ago. Disgruntled workers spammed an internal website with messages slamming the decision. Some tech workers at the company started a Slack group, which had about 16,000 members as of Tuesday night, and put together an internal petition that pushes back on the rule. About 5,000 employees had signed the petition.
Norfolk Southern's chief executive, Alan Shaw, sat down with CNBC's Morgan Brennan to talk about his company's response to a train derailment in Ohio that released toxic chemicals. He said it's safe for families to return to East Palestine, Ohio, where the train derailed Feb. 3, and he pledged Norfolk Southern's support for the town and its residents. Asked whether it's safe for people to return, he told CNBC: "Yes, yes, I've come back multiple times. I'm drinking the water here. I've interacted with the families here." Norfolk Southern has come under harsh criticism for its response to the disaster, and the federal EPA has ordered it to handle all the cleanup and recovery efforts.
Walmart and Home Depot kicked off retail earnings season with a whimper. Walmart, the nation's biggest retailer and grocer, offered a lighter forecast than expected for the year, as it expects inflation-weary customers to continue to avoid discretionary purchases like electronics and focus more on essentials, like groceries. Home Depot, meanwhile, reported revenue that missed estimates for the first time since November 2019. The home improvement giant also said it's seeing customers shopping more cautiously. "We've seen an increasing degree of price sensitivity as the year's gone on, which is actually sort of what we predicted in the face of persistent inflation," Home Depot's CFO told CNBC.
Howard Schultz might be leaving his third (and final, he says) stint as Starbucks CEO on bad terms with the baristas union, but he's betting the new drink style he's introducing will leave a tastier legacy after he leaves next month. The global coffee chain is introducing Schultz's latest brainchild, the "Oleato" line of olive oil-infused coffee drinks, Wednesday in Italy. It'll make its U.S. debut this spring in California, before spreading to other markets. "This is a transformational moment in the history of our company creating a new category, a new platform," Schultz told CNBC's Jim Cramer.
– CNBC's Samantha Subin, Annie Palmer, Noah Sheidlower, Melissa Repko, Amelia Lucas and Rebecca Picciotto contributed to this report.
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