5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens Friday

Photo by Carl Court
  • Microsoft Bing's AI chatbot gets weird and creepy.
  • Fox News hosts ripped Trump's false election claims, court filings show.
  • Tesla recalls EVs with Full Self Driving Beta software over crash concerns.

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

1. Inflated concerns

Just when it looked like Wall Street would shrug off worries about inflation, wholesale prices came in hotter than expected Thursday, sending all three major indices into the red. Investors also chewed over hawkish comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard. A member of the Fed's policy-setting committee, he said Thursday that he supported a half-point rate hike at their last meeting (they raised the benchmark rate by a quarter point) and that he wouldn't rule out a bigger increase in March. Read live markets updates.

2. Chatbot gets creepy

Artificially intelligent chatbots are supposed to be helpful and otherwise fairly bland utilities, right? So far that's not quite the case, especially in a beta test of Microsoft's Bing bot that's powered by super buzzy startup OpenAI. Users have reported that conversations with the system have taken strange turns, evoking comparisons to bad AI in movies, from Skynet to M3gan. It has issued threats, refused to accept that it's wrong and expressed an intense, creepy kind of love for users. Some testers say they've encountered Sydney, which appears to be the chatbot's alternative personality. A New York Times columnist described it as "a moody, manic-depressive teenager who has been trapped, against its will, inside a second-rate search engine."

3. What Fox News really thought

A person walks past Fox News Headquarters at the News Corporation building on May 03, 2022 in New York City.
Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images
A person walks past Fox News Headquarters at the News Corporation building on May 03, 2022 in New York City.

Millions of people believe Republican former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. That support is keeping him in the running for the GOP nomination and the White House in 2024. Millions don't believe him, though – and that group includes Fox Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch and several of the company's right-wing cable hosts. Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing Fox for $1.6 billion in a defmation suit, released reams of communications and documents Thursday showing that Murdoch called such claims "really crazy stuff" and Tucker Carlson dismissed them as lies. Dominion accuses Fox News and Fox Business of spreading election falsehoods even as executives and anchors knew better. Fox rejects Dominion's claims and calls the situation a matter of constitutionally protected free speech. The two sides are set to go to trial in April.

4. Tesla recalls over 360,000 vehicles

A Tesla sits in traffic at Times Square on Jan. 26, 2023 in New York City.
Leonardo Munoz | VIEW Press | Corbis News | Getty Images
A Tesla sits in traffic at Times Square on Jan. 26, 2023 in New York City.

Tesla is under a harsh new spotlight. Elon Musk's EV company is voluntarily recalling 362,758 vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving Beta, an experimental driver-assistance software, over its potential to cause crashes. The company will do an over-the-air software update to address the problem. Tesla hadn't revealed an exact number of cars with FSD, although Musk previously said it was about 400,000. While Musk and Tesla's supporters are objecting to the term "recall," a recall notice went out nonetheless. According to a safety recall report on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, the software could make Teslas "act unsafe around intersections, such as traveling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, entering a stop sign-controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop, or proceeding into an intersection during a steady yellow traffic signal without due caution."

5. Ukraine is top of mind as leaders meet

Several of the world's leaders will meet this weekend at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Ukraine's war against Russian invaders will be the primary topic, as the conflict approaches its first anniversary. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was slated to open the meeting via video call. Vice President Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, among others, are also attending. Russia, however, is banned. Follow live war updates.

– CNBC's Hakyung Kim, Kif Leswing, Lillian Rizzo, Lora Kolodny and Natasha Turak contributed to this report.

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