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5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday, April 1

News Update – Pre-Markets

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

1. Welcome to Q2

It’s a new week. It’s a new month. It’s a new quarter, and Wall Street is feeling good, with a winning start to the year. The S&P 500 popped 10.2%, marking its best first quarter since 2019, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its best quarter since 2021, picking up 5.6%. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, jumped 9.1%. To start the week, investors will be watching to see how the markets react to the latest inflation data released on Good Friday while the markets were closed (more on that below). There are more economic data releases later his week too, culminating with the keynote March jobs report on Friday. Follow live market updates.

2. Latest inflation indication

Grocery items are offered for sale at a supermarket on August 09, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. 

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Inflation rose in line with expectations in February, according to the Fed’s favorite inflation measure. The personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding food and energy, rose 2.8% on a 12-month basis and was up 0.3% from a month ago, matching Dow Jones estimates. Core PCE was up 0.3% for the month and 2.5% at the 12-month rate, compared with estimates for 0.4% and 2.5%, respectively. That likely means the Federal Reserve will stay with its holding pattern at its next meeting in May before it starts to consider interest rate cuts. The central bank targets annual inflation of 2%, but core PCE inflation hasn’t hit that level in three years.

3. Succession

Dana Walden, co-chair of Disney Entertainment

Rich Polk | Getty Images

Could Disney‘s next CEO be the first woman to hold the job in the company’s 100-year history? Some insiders told CNBC’s Alex Sherman that Dana Walden, co-chair of Disney Entertainment, is a front runner for the role. Succession is a big story at Disney, as insiders and outsiders alike are eager to see who will replace current CEO Bob Iger. Iger has been reluctant to let go of his role; he pushed back his retirement five times and returned to the job after Bob Chapek, named CEO in 2020, was fired in 2022. To see where Walden stands, more than 20 colleagues and friends spoke with CNBC about her strengths, faults and the perceived likelihood she will take over for Iger.

4. Gold rush

An employee handles one kilogram gold bullions at the YLG Bullion International Co. headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. 

Chalinee Thirasupa | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The price of gold hit a new record high on Monday in light of the latest PCE inflation data. While the Fed is expected to stay with its current rates in May, investors are starting to expect a rate cut in June. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding bullion. Spot gold hit an all-time high of $2,262.19 earlier in the session before pulling back a bit, while U.S. gold futures climbed 1.7% to $2,275.60.

5. 25 years in prison

In this courtroom sketch, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried attends his sentencing hearing at federal court in New York City on March 28, 2024.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week for his role in the securities fraud that brought down his cryptocurrency exchange and a related hedge fund, Alameda Research. That’s less than the 40 to 50 years in prison the prosecution sought, but significantly more than the five to six-and-a-half years the defense sought. Bankman-Fried was also ordered to pay $11 billion in forfeiture to the U.S. government. While handing the sentence down, Judge Lewis Kaplan noted he never heard “a word of remorse for the commission of terrible crimes” from Bankman-Fried and said he poses a risk in the future.

— CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Jeff Cox, Alex Sherman, Lee Ying Shan, MacKenzie Sigalos and Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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