(Bloomberg) -- Hello. While the US drifts into the holiday season, here’s what you need to get ready for the week.The big buzz: It’s been the year artificial intelligence really hit its stride, when technologies that computer scientists have worked on for decades came to dominate Wall Street. And after an almost 20% gain this year, the S&P 500 increasingly depends on whether a small group of tech companies can convert AI investments into even higher profits. While investors obsessed with AI’s potential to disrupt the economy have stoked stocks like Nvidia and Microsoft, pressure is growing for tech’s “Magnificent Seven” to justify the expectations. The big name: Sam Altman, whose ouster and restoration as OpenAI’s chief executive officer highlighted tension over AI’s uses, is speaking at the HOPE Global Forum in Atlanta on Monday. The topic: “The Future of AI.” On the regulatory front, the European Union is forging ahead with rules on how the advanced ChatGPT model can operate, while Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI draws scrutiny in the UK.
The big earnings: Adobe and Oracle are expected to report healthy quarterly profits thanks to persistent corporate demand for AI-driven tools. Adobe may also give an update on its Firefly generative AI product. Look for more subdued earnings growth at Costco and Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden, as US households contend with shrinking post-pandemic wealth. Oh, and if you’ve noticed less largesse on free shipping when you order online, you’re not alone: those days are over, writes Leticia Miranda.The big question: How will central banks frame their 2024 outlook? Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gets his say on Wednesday after the Fed’s last rate decision of the year, followed by the European Central Bank on Thursday. The key question is less whether the Fed will dial back borrowing costs next year but why— because of a recession, or because it sees inflation as under control. The US consumer price index for November will give the Fed a final inflation data point on Tuesday. Economists expect the US central bank to hold its benchmark rate target steady at 5.25% to 5.5%.
The big wrangle: Hunter Biden, the president’s son, has been subpoenaed to testify to Congress on Wednesday on his business dealings. But not so fast: Biden, freshly indicted on federal tax charges, wants a public hearing and House Republicans want to hold it behind closed doors. At the same time, Republicans are poised to vote this week on formally authorizing their impeachment inquiry into the president himself. You can catch up here on how Hunter Biden’s history coalesced with the 2024 election campaign.
The big ouster: The resignations of University of Pennsylvania’s president and chair of the board of trustees will likely do little the quell the furor over efforts to combat antisemitism on elite campuses around the country. Shortly after Liz Magill quit Saturday less after serving than two years as Penn’s president, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik pledged to keep up the scrutiny of her peers at Harvard and MIT. The big picture: The next war to upset the global balance may be brewing in South America, says Bloomberg Opinion’s James Stavridis. While the US is seeking to loosen his grip on power, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is staking a claim on most of neighboring Guyana, a resource-rich country with bigger oil and gas reserves than Venezuela’s. It all echoes the playbook leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, writes Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO.
And finally—particularly for non-billionaires—the latest take on why your retirement portfolio strategy doesn’t cut it. A group of academics crunched data from three dozen countries over 130 years to test the time-honored 60/40 investment mix of stocks and bonds. With the usual caveats about levels of acceptable risk, they found that a mix of half domestic, half international equities beat blended portfolios, a conclusion that goes against the grain of the Wall Street establishment.
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