The month of September has been challenging for investors, with stocks set to close out the month and the third quarter in the red. While job growth remains strong, consumers are still facing higher prices and interest rates as the Federal Reserve tries to bring inflation down. As the end of the quarter approaches, investors are keen to see how companies view the state of the consumer heading into the holiday season through the upcoming earnings season.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union plans to expand its strike if negotiations with automakers do not show significant progress. The strike initially started with three facilities and has since expanded to include dozens more. However, Ford was spared from last week’s expansion. Currently, over 12% of the UAW’s members are on strike. This move comes after both President Biden and former President Trump visited Michigan to rally support, with Biden appearing on a picket line with striking UAW workers.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms, continues to focus on the metaverse, showcasing new artificial intelligence (AI) software, the Quest 3 virtual reality headset, and Ray-Ban smart glasses. Zuckerberg believes that smart glasses will become ubiquitous once significant progress is made in holograms and displays. Silicon Valley is currently engaged in an AI arms race, with companies like Meta and Google competing with the rapid rise of OpenAI and its ChatGPT program.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has secured its first Pentagon contract for its Starshield military satellite service, enhancing its already lucrative ties to the U.S. military. The contract includes end-to-end service through SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, equipment and network management, and related services. However, the contract has faced criticism due to concerns over the Pentagon’s association with Musk, especially following revelations that he denied Ukraine internet service that could have aided a potential drone attack on Russia’s navy.
While Donald Trump did not participate in the Republican primary debate, he still commanded attention by speaking at a rally in Michigan. Trump’s speech aimed to secure support among blue-collar workers amidst the ongoing UAW strike. The debate between the other Republican primary candidates occurred in California, but it is unlikely to have significant impact on Trump’s standing or the race, as he continues to dominate the field in the polls.