5 Things to Know Before Markets Open

News of the day for May 4, 2023

PacWest Bank

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PacWest shares fell over 40% in pre-market trading amid reports it's exploring options that include a sale, and the European Central Bank is expected to hike rates to curb inflation.  Here’s what investors need to know today.

1. PacWest Shares Plunge on Reports the Bank Is Considering a Sale

PacWest Bank (PACW) shares plunged over 40% in pre-market trading after the regional lender said it was exploring “all strategic options,” including a sale, and has brought in strategic advisers to consider its long-term plans. Shares of Los Angeles-based PacWest are down more than 72% over the past 12 months.

2. European Central Bank Expected to Hike Rates

After the Federal Reserve lifted rates Wednesday, the European Central Bank is expected to follow with its own move to lift interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.25%. The annual rate of inflation in the eurozone rose to 7% in April.

3. Microsoft Ending Wait List for ChatGPT-powered Bing Search Engine

Microsoft said it would end its wait list list for the Bing search engine that includes ChatGPT artificial intelligence features, expanding its use to anyone with a Microsoft account. The move could help Microsoft challenge Google’s lead in search advertising. Microsoft has said that it will increase revenues by $2 billion for every percentage point in share it gains in the search market.

4. Shell Posts Another Strong Quarter on Commodity Prices

Shares of Shell (SHEL) rose 3% in pre-market trading after the British oil company posted stronger-than-anticipated earnings for the first quarter that were larger than both last year’s results and analyst projections for this quarter. The company has reported several positive results since oil prices surged following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

5. Budweiser-maker AB InBev Beats Expectations on Higher Prices

The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), reported better than expected first-quarter results, showing that consumers were willing to continue to buy beer despite higher prices. The Belgium-based company that makes Budweiser and Corona kept its projections that profits would increase by 4% to 8% this year.

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  1. CNBC. “PacWest falls more than 50% after hours on report bank is considering strategic options.”

  2. Barron's. “The ECB Will Follow the Fed With a Hike. It May Have More Work Ahead.”

  3. CNBC. “Microsoft opens up Bing access and adds chat history and export features.”

  4. CNBC. “Shell beats expectations with $9.6 billion in first-quarter profit, boosted by fuel trading.”

  5. Reuters. “AB InBev profit jumps as consumers absorb higher beer prices.”

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