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5 things to know before the stock market opens

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit fresh records.
  • Companies like Walmart and Chipotle are facing customer criticism.
  • The recent Paramount merger deal is drawing concern from cinema operators.

Here are five key things investors need to know to start the trading day:

1. Again and again

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite scored yet another record close on Monday. The broad market index closed the session 0.1% higher at 5,572.85 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.28% to finish at 18,403.74. This marks the fourth positive week of the last five for the S&P and comes ahead of key inflation data later this week that could reveal more clues about the state of the economy and a possible Fed rate cut. Unlike the S&P and Nasdaq, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved 0.08% lower, closing the session at 39,344.79. Follow live market updates.

2. Feel my wrath

Customers are still feeling the pain of higher prices, even as inflation cools. And at some places, they're making their frustration known. Wendy's changed its tune following the CEO's statement that it may start using dynamic pricing – the act of raising or lowering prices depending on demand. At Walmart, TikTok users criticized the company's rollout of digital shelf labels, which allowed it to raise and lower prices. And Chipotle locations saw customers filming workers in an effort to prevent them from giving less-than-desired food portions in their burrito bowls. But as people rein in their spending, leading to declining sales, some businesses are trying a more proactive approach, with those like Target, McDonald's, Aldi and others cutting prices and debuting new deals to woo customers.

3. Paramount panic

The Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, US on Monday, April 29, 2024. 
Eric Thayer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, US on Monday, April 29, 2024. 

Hollywood cinema operators are sounding the alarm. On Sunday, Paramount signed off on a merger with Skydance, leaving theater operators worried that the deal will bring about too much consolidation and worsen production issues. Given that Paramount and Skydance have other producing partners, it's uncertain how this merger could affect production going forward. What's more, both studios have only debuted three films in 2024. This comes after pandemic shutdowns and a dual Hollywood strike have led to less of an influx of new films. Though box office analysts anticipate an increased number of films in the next two years, it's unclear whether production will return to pre-pandemic levels.

4. Vacancies abound

The Salesforce Tower, left, and the Salesforce West office building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Salesforce Tower, left, and the Salesforce West office building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.

It seems that artificial intelligence can't solve everything. While the technology has helped bolster San Francisco real estate, office vacancies in the city are still soaring. For office space in the city, the vacancy rate reached a new record of 34.5% in the second quarter, according to commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. This is an increase from 33.9% in the first quarter, 28.1% in the year-ago period and 5% before the pandemic. On top of that, the average asking rent dropped to $68.27 per square foot in the second quarter, which is the lowest since late 2015. This is a decrease from $72.90 a year earlier and its 2020 peak of $84.70. This comes as AI companies have been leasing or subleasing hundreds of thousands of office space in the city.

5. Eyes on Sun Valley

Sun Valley Lodge entrance, in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Michael Newberg | CNBC
Sun Valley Lodge entrance, in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Conversations around the future of streaming are taking center stage in Sun Valley this week. At a ski lodge in Idaho, Allen & Co.'s annual conference – often referred to as "summer camp for billionaires" – is set to begin Tuesday, and media and technology titans are convening to discuss their businesses' futures. Apple CEO Tim Cook, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters are among the many reportedly on the guest list, though it's unclear if they'll attend. On the heels of the recent Paramount merger deal, streaming alliances may be at the forefront, with some media companies perhaps leaning toward looking to bundle services together.

CNBC's Brian Evans, Pia Singh, Melissa Repko, Amelia Lucas, Sarah Whitten, Ari Levy, Jordan Novet and Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.

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