5 things you need to know before the stock market opens on Friday, March 17

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, March 16, 2023.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

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

It looks like major stock averages may be moving ahead this week, on pace for a winning week despite the turmoil in the global banking sector. Through Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.06%, the S&P 500 is up 2.56% and the Nasdaq Composite is up 5.19% — on track for its best week since November. However, Friday marks the periodic phenomenon known on Wall Street as “triple witching,” when stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expire at the same time, which could lead to last-hour craziness. Follow live market updates.

An office stands empty at the headquarters of the First Republic Bank on March 16, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves after his speech as the new members of the Politburo Standing Committee meet the media after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 23 October 2022 .

Tingshu Wang | Reuters

The FedEx logo is displayed on a FedEx vehicle on February 1, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

FedEx shares skyrocketed in after-hours trading after the company released an optimistic full-year profit forecast and a quarterly report that showed its cost-cutting efforts are paying off. The company said it now expects adjusted earnings for fiscal year 2023 to be between $14.60 and $15.20, up from a previous forecast of between $13.00 and $14.00. Executives have been executing an aggressive plan to reduce costs in the face of shrinking shipping volumes. The cost savings include layoffs, grounding aircraft, cutting office space and adjusting delivery services. “We are holistically aligning with the cost base in all dimensions and all areas. Every dollar is scrutinized,” said CFO Mike Lenz during FedEx’s earnings call.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology students play football outside the Maclaurin Building on October 10, 2003 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

William B. Plowman | Getty Images

College hopefuls have a new top dream school. Yes, it is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. No, it’s not Harvard. According to a new survey by the Princeton Review of college-bound students and their families, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the new holy grail of acceptance letters. MIT has an acceptance rate of just under 4%, making it one of the hardest schools to get into, but that may be part of its appeal. “There’s a subconscious consensus that it’s only worth going to college if you can get into a life-changing college,” says Hafeez Lakhani, founder and president of Lakhani Coaching in New York. Second on the list of “dream schools” was Stanford University, followed by Harvard University and New York University. Check out the rest of the top 10. (Warning to fellow Tar Heels: The University of North Carolina didn’t make the list, but it’s still Mine dream school.)

– CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Jesse Pound, Evelyn Cheng, Noah Sheidlower and Jessica Dickler contributed to this report.

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