Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Last gasp for August
Stocks limped into the last session of August, a month that sapped the promise of a summer rally following an absolutely brutal first half. The three major U.S. indices were set for a slightly higher open Wednesday after three straight days of losses that stretch back to Friday, when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would continue its aggressive fight against inflation. Still, some observers think we've seen the worst for stocks this year, given how they bounced back. The S&P 500 surged 17% from its June low to the peak in August, Charles Schwab's Randy Frederick pointed out. "That's a pretty impressive rally," he said. "It would be very rare to give all of that back because it just doesn't happen very often."
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2. Bed Bath & Beyond's big reveal
Bed Bath & Beyond unveiled its new business plan Wednesday. It includes $500 million in new financing, as well as plans for layoffs and store closures. The announcement was heavily telegraphed. Multiple reports had already said that the troubled home-goods retailer was close to securing a loan to help pay suppliers and keep the lights on. The company also announced a share offering Wednesday morning, which sent shares falling. Bed Bath's disarray has stretched from its unpopular new merchandising strategy in stores to its executive offices (several top executives, including CEO Mark Tritton, left earlier this year) to markets, where activist investor and meme stock maven Ryan Cohen cashed out his stake this month.
3. Euro zone inflation runs hot
Price increases in the euro zone hit a new record this month, according to Europe's statistics authority. Inflation rose at a rate of 9.1%, slightly beating economists' projections of 9%. It marks the ninth straight month of record consumer price increases. The main culprit is energy prices, a consequence of Russia's war on Ukraine. Adding to that anxiety is a scheduled maintenance period, from Wednesday through Sunday, for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany. Russia has gradually choked off gas supply in recent weeks, which Germany considers a political move as European nations support Ukraine in the war and prepare for the coming winter.
4. NASA reschedules Artemis launch
We're going to have to wait a little longer for NASA to launch its highly anticipated Artemis 1 mission to the moon. Originally set for Monday, the launch was bumped by officials Wednesday night to Saturday. But even that attempt might not happen if weather is bad, or if the engine issue is such a hangup that the rocket would need to be moved off the launchpad for more significant repairs. That could mean weeks or months more of waiting for the already much-delayed mission to take off, according to CNBC's space business reporter, Michael Sheetz.
5. Feds say Mar-a-Lago docs were likely moved, hidden
The Justice Department late Tuesday released its latest filing in its national security probe of former President Donald Trump's handling of sensitive government documents at his private Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida. The filing said records were likely moved and hidden, and "that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation." It added: "That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the 'diligent search' that the former President's counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter." Trump has accused the FBI of being corrupt and has dismissed the investigation, one of several he's facing, as a witch hunt.
— CNBC's Samantha Subin, Melissa Repko, Hannah Ward-Glenton, Sam Meredith, Michael Sheetz, Dan Mangan and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.