Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. S&P 5,000
The S&P 500 reached 5,000 for the first time at the end of trading on Thursday, but then fell back to close at a new high of 4,997.91. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also hit a new high, closing at 38,726.33.
Even though these milestones were reached, the gains for each of the major indexes were relatively small, with the S&P up by just 0.06%, the Dow by 0.13%, and the Nasdaq Composite by 0.24%. All three indexes are currently showing gains for the week as we approach the final trading session of the period.
2. PINS + PEP
Two more sets of earnings reports were released in the past 18 hours: Pinterest and PepsiCo. Pinterest announced its fourth-quarter earnings after the market closed on Thursday, giving guidance that was weaker than expected and reporting lower-than-anticipated revenue.
The stock initially fell sharply in after-hours trading but recovered somewhat after the social media platform announced a new partnership with Google. Pepsi reported its fourth-quarter results before the market opened on Friday morning, surpassing earnings estimates but disclosing a slight decrease in revenue compared to the previous year.
Increased prices helped maintain organic revenue, but led to a decline in sales volume as consumers became more price-conscious.
3. Farewell to ‘Bard’
Google is changing the name of its AI chatbot, previously known as Bard, as part of its latest focus on AI. The chatbot will now be called Gemini and is now available in a dedicated app for Android users starting Thursday. (iPhone users can access Gemini through the Google app on iOS.)
Additionally, for users who require more advanced features, there’s now a subscription option available for Google’s most powerful AI model, named Gemini Ultra 1.0, priced at $19.99 per month. Google aims to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which gained significant popularity last year, drawing attention from Wall Street regarding large language models.
4. Rising Hot Cocoa Prices
Cocoa prices have reached record levels due to adverse weather affecting crop yields in West Africa. Approximately three-quarters of the world’s cocoa production originates from this region, which includes countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The El Nino weather phenomenon has led to drier conditions, impacting cocoa production. Cocoa futures reached an all-time high of $5,874 per metric ton on Thursday, marking an increase of over $1,000 or nearly 40% since the beginning of the year.
5. Elevating Standards
Delta Air Lines is enhancing its airport lounges to offer a more exclusive experience. The airline is introducing a “premium” tier of lounges, beginning with a 38,000-square-foot location at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
This premium lounge will feature a full-service restaurant and designated “wellness” areas, and is set to open in June. This initiative addresses the issue of overcrowding in airport lounges, which has become more prevalent as increasing numbers of travelers gain access through credit card rewards, flight upgrades, or loyalty status.
As travel demand continues, airlines are striving to find the right balance between expanding their lounge memberships and preserving the quality of perks. Delta has not specified the criteria for entry into these top-tier lounges. Additionally, the airline plans to open other high-end lounges in Boston and Los Angeles later this year.
Today’s trading news saw S&P 500 and Dow Jones reaching new highs, though with slight gains. Pinterest struggled in its earnings report, while PepsiCo performed better. Google renamed its AI chatbot to Gemini to compete with ChatGPT. Cocoa prices rose due to weather, and Delta Air Lines is opening fancier lounges to ease crowding.