The daily business briefing: January 23, 2024

The Dow and S&P 500 set fresh records, Bitcoin falls as ETF enthusiasm fades, and more

Dow Jones Industrial Average tops 38,000 for first time
Dow Jones Industrial Average tops 38,000 for first time
(Image credit: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

1. Dow, S&P 500 set fresh records

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 climbed to fresh record highs on Monday, adding to Friday gains fueled by surging technology companies. The Dow rose 0.4% to close above 38,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, reaching a new high mark after Friday's record close, its first in roughly two years. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.3%. Stocks ended 2023 strong but retreated at the start of 2024 before rebounding, thanks partly to a strong start to the earnings season and new data showing the economy remains strong as inflation cools. Stock futures were little changed early Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal, CNBC

2. Bitcoin drops as ETF enthusiasm recedes

Bitcoin fell below $40,000 on Monday for the first time since the Jan. 11 launch of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) allowing individual investors an easy way to buy into the digital currency. Bitcoin fell nearly 4% to $39,938, its lowest level since Dec. 4. Ether, the No. 2 cryptocurrency, fell 6.4% to $2,328.30. Bitcoin surged as investors increasingly expected the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve bitcoin ETFs, rising about 70% since August. Some analysts said enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency waned as traditional stocks rose to record highs on Monday, driven by semiconductor makers and other technology companies. Reuters

3. California faculty members reach deal to end massive strike

California State University faculty members on Monday reached a tentative contract agreement, ending a planned five-day strike by nearly 30,000 professors, librarians, coaches and other workers after its first day, the California Faculty Association union announced. "In case anyone forgot, STRIKES WORK!" the union wrote in an Instagram post. The faculty members walked out after months of negotiations, the union noted. Union members are expected to return to work Tuesday. The California Faculty Association ended negotiations two weeks ago asking for a 5% pay raise this year, down from an initial demand of 12%. The tentative agreement, which still must be ratified by union members, calls for a 5% pay hike retroactive to last year and another 5% raise in July. Los Angeles Times

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4. United Airlines expects quarterly loss but better-than-expected 2024 profit

United Airlines said Monday it expected a profit of $9 to $11 a share in 2024, beating analysts' expectations despite anticipated losses in the first quarter from the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. United said it expected an adjusted first-quarter loss of 35 cents to 85 cents a share, providing a first indication of the financial damage from the grounding, ordered after a door plug blew out on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 earlier this month. United has 79 of the aircraft in its fleet, more than any other carrier, and it said it expected them to be grounded until Jan. 26. United shares gained more than 6% in after-hours trading. Bloomberg, CNBC

5. Sony calls off $10 billion merger with India's Zee Entertainment

Japanese entertainment and electronics giant Sony said Monday it was calling off the planned $10 billion merger of its Indian unit with Mumbai-based Zee Entertainment. Sony said the deadline to complete the deal had passed, and it sought a $90 million termination fee, citing Zee's alleged breaches of the agreement's terms. Zee said it had done everything it could and would take legal action. The deal, reached in 2021, could have created one of the South Asian nation's biggest broadcasters. Zee CEO Punit Goenka was supposed to lead the combined company. Sony balked after he faced investigation by India's market regulator, but Zee said Goenka had been willing to "step down in the interest of the merger." Zee shares plunged Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal, Reuters

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