KEY POINTS
  • The S&P 500 is on track for its best first quarter in five years.
  • Sam Bankman-Fried faces sentencing in court today.
  • Home Depot is making an $18.25 billion acquisition.

In this article

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

1. Shiny quarter

It's the last trading day of the short holiday week. The S&P 500 is up about 10% for the quarter, which ends today thanks to a shortened holiday trading week. It's on pace for its best first-quarter gain since 2019, when it rose 13.1%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is headed for a 5.5% gain during the period and the Nasdaq is up 9.3%. Leading the charge is chipmaker Nvidia, which itself has soared 82% for the quarter and is up 14% in March alone. Follow live market updates.

2. Time for the crime

Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrives at the U.S. Courthouse in New York City, July 26, 2023.

Sam Bankman-Fried will learn Thursday in Manhattan federal court how long he'll spend in prison for his crimes tied to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. His lawyers are asking for five to six years behind bars, a significant reduction from the 40 to 50 years sought by prosecutors. The defense argues that FTX's customers will recoup most of their money as the company winds its way through bankruptcy. Most of the government's case against Bankman-Fried hinged on convincing the jury that he stole billions of dollars for risky bets, so making customers whole could be in his favor. But not everyone is convinced that will pan out, as one customer wrote the judge to express doubt and said their whole life was destroyed by the crime.

3. Big backing

Amazon is making its largest outside investment in the company's 30-year history. The tech giant is putting $2.75 billion behind artificial intelligence startup Anthropic as it looks to keep up in the AI race. Amazon said in September that it would invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, and this is the second tranche of that funding. As part of the agreement, Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider, as well as Amazon's semiconductor chips. Anthropic competes with OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Gemini, among others, and is considered a frontrunner in the AI movement.

4. Win for SEC

The Coinbase logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen with stock market percentages in the background.

The SEC can move forward with a lawsuit against Coinbase, a judge ruled Wednesday, a major win for the agency. That means its case accusing Coinbase of engaging in unregistered sales of securities could be heard by a jury at trial. The company's stock dropped more than 3% after the ruling. The regulator first sued Coinbase in June, saying it has "defied the regulatory structures and evaded the disclosure requirements" of securities laws.

5. Acquisition depot

The Home Depot store is seen on February 20, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Home Depot is spending $18.25 billion to acquire SRS Distribution, which sells supplies to landscaping, pool and roofing professionals. It's the biggest acquisition in the company's history. It's also a sign of Home Depot's ambitions as it seeks more business from professionals. About half of the company's business from pros, while the other half comes from do-it-yourself customers. It will finance the deal through cash on hand and debt.

CNBC's Kate Rooney, Hayden Field, MacKenzie Sigalos, Dan Mangan and Melissa Repko contributed to this report.

Follow broader market action like a pro on CNBC Pro.

In this article