1. UAW expands strike with walkout at Ford truck plant
The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike against the Detroit Three automakers on Wednesday with a surprise walkout by 8,700 union members at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant. The union ordered the workers at the factory, which makes Ford's Super Duty trucks, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, to join the strike an hour after a last-minute meeting with Ford negotiators, The Detroit News reported. "It's time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three," UAW president Shawn Fain said. "If they can't understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it." Ford called the move "grossly irresponsible" and "wrongheaded." The Detroit News, Axios
2. Birkenstock shares drop in market debut
Birkenstock shares ended Wednesday trading down more than 12% below the stock's initial public offering price. The drop marked the worst debut for a billion-dollar-plus company in nearly two years, Reuters reported, citing LSEG data. The disappointing debut signaled investor caution about new listings, according to Reuters. "What this shows is that the valuations that they are putting (on) these companies make absolutely zero sense," said Thomas Hayes, chair at Great Hill Capital in New York. The IPO was priced at $46, but shares of the 250-year-old German sandal maker started trading at $41. The IPO raised $1.48 billion at $46 per share. Birkenstock's stock closed at $40.20. Reuters
3. Exxon Mobil to buy Pioneer Natural Resources in $60 billion deal
Exxon Mobil has agreed to buy giant shale-oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources in an all-stock deal worth $59.5 billion, the companies announced Wednesday. The deal, Exxon's largest since it acquired Mobil two decades ago, makes Exxon Mobil a massive fracking operator in the Permian Shale basin in east New Mexico and west Texas. It also makes it clear the energy giant is committed to investing in fossil fuels as energy prices surge. "I think fossil fuels, as the world looks to transition and find lower sources of affordable energy with lower emissions, fossil fuels oil and gas are going to continue to play a role over time," Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods told CNBC. "That may diminish with time.... But it will be around for a long time." Investor's Business Daily, The Associated Press
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4. Report: Investors bet Fed done hiking rates
Investors have started betting that the Federal Reserve has finished its campaign to raise interest rates to fight high inflation, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The hikes have lifted interest rates to their highest level in 22 years. Several Fed leaders indicated this week that their efforts to slow the economy by raising borrowing costs have been amplified by other factors that are pushing rates higher, such as a recent surge of bond rates that has lifted the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield to a two-decade high. Those yields influence everything from mortgage rates to corporate debt. Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said this week that the central bank doesn't want to go so far it hurts the economy unnecessarily. The New York Times
5. Stock futures rise ahead of consumer inflation data
U.S. stock futures gained early Thursday ahead of fresh consumer inflation data. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up 0.4% at 6:45 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect the consumer price report being released later Thursday morning to show that prices rose by 0.3% in September and by 3.6% from a year earlier. Analysts believe the report will influence whether the Federal Reserve decides to keep interest rates steady or raise them again in their effort to slow the economy to fight inflation. The data comes out after the producer price index showed that wholesale prices rose more than expected last month. CNBC, Reuters
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