news

5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

Spencer Platt | Getty Images
  • Stocks are off to a lackluster start for August.
  • Fitch Ratings downgrades the U.S.'s credit rating.
  • Former President Donald Trump has been indicted for a third time.

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

1. Slow start

Stocks are off to a lackluster start for August, as futures tick lower Wednesday morning and extend a mostly down day on Tuesday. Dow futures slid about 100 points, or nearly 0.3%, ahead of the market open, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures fell roughly 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively. On Tuesday, the first trading day of a new month, the S&P 500 shed 0.27%, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.43% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added just 71.15 points, or 0.2%. Follow live market updates.

2. Marked down

The office of Fitch Ratings in New York.
Cem Ozdel | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The office of Fitch Ratings in New York.

Fitch Ratings downgraded the U.S.'s credit rating, citing "expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years" and an erosion of governance. The agency in May had placed the nation's rating on watch following a near-default after members of Congress butted heads over raising the debt ceiling. Fitch on Tuesday marked the country's rating down to AA+ from AAA. "In Fitch's view, there has been a steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years, including on fiscal and debt matters, notwithstanding the June bipartisan agreement to suspend the debt limit until January 2025," the ratings agency said.

3. Conspiracy charges

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a political rally while campaigning for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election at Erie Insurance Arena on July 29, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Jeff Swensen | Getty Images
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a political rally while campaigning for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election at Erie Insurance Arena on July 29, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted for a third time. The criminal charges handed down Tuesday by special counsel Jack Smith's office deal with Trump's efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and allege three criminal conspiracies:

  1. A conspiracy to defraud the U.S. "by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit to obstruct the nation's process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election," according to a spokesman for the special counsel's office.
  2. A "conspiracy to impede" the Jan. 6, 2021, congressional proceeding to certify election results.
  3. A conspiracy "against the right to vote and to have that vote counted," according to the spokesman.

Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, is also facing federal criminal charges related to alleged mishandling of classified documents, as well as charges at the state level of falsifying business records. On the latest indictment, Trump has been ordered to appear in D.C. court on Thursday.

4. Laying off

A customer shops in a CVS Health store on August 01, 2023 in Miami, Florida. 
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
A customer shops in a CVS Health store on August 01, 2023 in Miami, Florida. 

The job market might be showing some signs of stability. Job vacancies and layoffs ticked lower in June, according to monthly data from the Labor Department out Tuesday. Employment openings hit their lowest level since April 2021, suggesting demand for labor is gradually slowing and that companies are retaining workers. And yet — while two data points don't make a trend — Tuesday also brought news of layoffs at both Alphabet and CVS Health. CNBC's Jennifer Elias reports Google is reshuffling its smart assistant division and will lay off a small number of staff as a result. Meanwhile, pharmacy giant CVS is laying off 5,000 employees as part of broad restructuring, according to report from CNBC's Annika Kim Constantino.

5. Pick-me-up

An employee serves customers at a Starbucks mobile coffee cart at West Lake on June 7, 2022 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China.
Long Wei | Visual China Group | Getty Images
An employee serves customers at a Starbucks mobile coffee cart at West Lake on June 7, 2022 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China.

Coffee chain Starbucks got a jolt during the second quarter from international sales, with same-stores sales outside of North America jumping 24%. China in particular posted 46% sales growth during the period. North American sales, for comparison, grew 7%. The international boost wasn't enough to lift Starbucks' revenue over Wall Street estimates, though: Net sales rose 12% year over year to $9.17 billion — below the $9.29 billion expected by Wall Street analysts who were polled by Refinitiv.

CNBC's Sarah Min, Darla Mercado, Kevin Breuninger, Dan Mangan, Jeff Cox, Jennifer Elias, Annika Kim Constantino and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

Follow broader market action like a pro on CNBC Pro.

Copyright CNBC
Contact Us