Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Relief rally
UBS’ “shotgun wedding” with Credit Suisse might have done the trick, at least for now, as U.S. equities markets rallied Monday following the latest moves to shore up the global banking system. Now, Wall Street’s focus is almost entirely on what’ll come of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting, which kicks off Tuesday and concludes Wednesday. The money is still on a quarter-point rate hike, even though many are arguing for a pause on increases, given the recent banking sector tumult. At this point, though, markets are more likely to react to what the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, say about what’s next in the central bank’s battle with inflation. Follow live markets updates.
2. First Republic’s last resort?
Yes, but what about First Republic? The regional bank – which, like Silicon Valley Bank, caters to clients with big, uninsured deposits – is teetering. Shares of First Republic are down about 90% this month after another brutal session Monday, even after 11 banks announced last week they were depositing a total of $30 billion with the bank. Now, JPMorgan Chase, which led that effort, is advising First Republic on strategic alternatives, including a capital raise, which would dilute shareholders, or even a sale, according to CNBC’s David Faber.
3. Pressure on Jassy
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Amazon will lay off another 9,000 employees over the coming weeks, the company said. These cuts come on top of the 18,000 layoffs the e-commerce and cloud computing giant executed between November and January, and some market observers think there could be more to come. The decision is the latest difficult moment for CEO Andy Jassy, who took over from founder Jeff Bezos nearly two years ago. Over that time, Amazon’s shares have fallen 44%, as the company’s big gains during the lockdown era of the pandemic were wiped away while life started to return to normal. So while he’s now slashing costs, Jassy will face intense pressure to reignite growth, writes CNBC’s Annie Palmer.
4. Virgin Orbit’s existential crisis
The company’s modified 747 jet “Cosmic Girl” in Mojave, California.
Virgin Orbit seemed to have everything going for it. Name recognition. Wealthy backers. The excitement over a new space race fueled by private investment. Now it’s on the verge of bankruptcy. A filing could come as soon as this week as the company struggles to find a buyer, according to CNBC space reporter Michael Sheetz. And many of the company’s employees, from executives to engineers, are actively looking for new jobs. Virgin Orbit, which was spun out of Virgin Galactic, counts charismatic billionaire Richard Branson as its largest shareholder. After going public in December 2021 during the final stretch of the SPAC wave, its shares are now trading at around 50 cents a pop.
5. Xi and Putin strengthen their bond
In this grab taken from video, China’s President Xi Jinping, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023.
Russian Presidential Press Office | AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a second day of meetings Tuesday in Moscow. The two leaders are working to increase ties between their two countries in the face of economic, diplomatic and military opposition from the west, led by the United States. Xi invited Putin to visit China some time this year, while the two are expected to sign a series of pacts and discuss cooperation over Russia’s war in Ukraine. Follow live war updates.
– CNBC’s Yun Li, Jesse Pound, David Faber, Annie Palmer, Michael Sheetz and Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.
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