Here are the key events taking place this week that could impact trading.
ANTITRUST LAWSUIT: Shares of Activision Blizzard fell $3.12, or 4.1%, to $73.47 after Politico reported late Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission was likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block its acquisition by Microsoft.
Shares of Manchester United jumped $2.41, or 13%, to $21.21, continuing to gain on news that the controlling Glazer family is exploring a sale.
GOING FASTER: Mercedes-Benz is releasing a new "Acceleration Increase" feature for its electric vehicles that costs $1,200 a year for drivers to "unleash enhanced performance" of their cars.
The subscription will allow the Mercedes-EQ EQE and Mercedes-EQ EQS to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph .8 to 1.0 seconds faster through "fine tuning of the electric motors," according to the German automaker.
"The feeling of driving your Mercedes-EQ is a new experience every day – particularly its powerful, immediate acceleration," Mercedes explains. "Acceleration Increase boosts this performance even further: electronically increasing the motor's output also increases the torque significantly, giving you a faster 0-to-60 MPH time."
Once the feature is unlocked for the yearly $1,200 fee, the car's maximum motor output will increase by 20 to 24%.
The subscription is coming soon in the U.S. A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz did not respond to questions on Sunday about the timetable for its release.
ROBOTIC BREAKTHROUGH: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are building swarms of tiny robots that have a built-in intelligence, allowing them to build structures, vehicles, or even larger versions of themselves.
The subunit of the robot, which is being developed at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, is called a voxel and is capable of carrying power and data.
"When we’re building these structures, you have to build in intelligence," MIT Professor and CBA Director Neil Gershenfeld said in a statement. "What emerged was the idea of structural electronics — of making voxels that transmit power and data as well as force."
The voxels make up both the robot itself as well as the components of the thing being built, allowing them to work together on larger structures.
"It could build a structure, or it could build another robot of the same size, or it could build a bigger robot," CBA doctoral student Amira Abdel-Rahman said in a statement.
While the research is promising, it will likely be years before we see self-replicating robot swarms, according to Gershenfeld.
STOCK RECAP: U.S. stocks ended a shortened trading session Friday mixed, with markets subdued following Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.
The S&P 500 fell 1.14 points, or less than 0.1%, to 4026.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 58.96 points, or 0.5%, to 11226.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.97 points, or 0.4%, to 34347.03. U.S. stock markets closed early at 1 p.m. ET.
Despite the interruption of the holiday, equities continued their recent winning streak. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% for the week, and has risen four of the last six weeks.
The Dow gained 1.8% last week, and has risen in six of the past eight weeks.
Investors have been watching Black Friday crowds for clues on how spending among U.S. consumers is holding up amid high inflation and rising borrowing costs. Recent economic data has suggested consumers continue to spend, but analysts have a mixed outlook for the crucial holiday period.
S&P Global Market Intelligence expects holiday sales to rise 4.5% this year, slowing from last year's 12.6% pace but still above prepandemic levels.
"In the U.S., we could have an OK holiday season," said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank. But adjusting for inflation, holiday sales are expected to decline for the first time since 2009, according to S&P Global, suggesting that people are buying fewer, higher-priced items.
"It was very easy in the first stage of inflation because there was this buildup of savings," said Garnry. "We've eaten through that surplus and now we're getting to the more difficult stage of this inflation shock."
Nevertheless, U.S. stocks had historically done well on Black Friday. The S&P 500 had risen in 50 of the previous 71 Black Friday trading sessions, not counting this year, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
TWITTER SIGNUPS RISE: Despite warning of a "massive drop in revenue" due to an advertiser exodus earlier this month, new Twitter owner Elon Musk said Saturday that sign-ups on the platform are at an all-time high.
There were more than two million new sign-ups per day on average in the week that ended Nov. 16, a 66% increase over the same time frame last year, according to slides from a recent company talk that Musk tweeted out on Saturday.
User active minutes were also at an all-time high, while daily active users were closing in on 254 million, Musk said.
"I think I see a path to Twitter exceeding a billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months," Musk tweeted at author and psychologist Jordan Peterson, who was allowed back on the platform last week after being suspended earlier this year.
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While sign-ups are at an all-time high, Musk has blamed a "massive drop in revenue" on "activist groups pressuring advertisers" to leave the platform.
A coalition of activists called Stop Toxic Twitter has been calling on big companies to drop advertising on the platform "until Musk can invest in and prioritize teams that can robustly enforce Twitter’s existing community standards."
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Despite those calls, hate speech impressions were lower on Twitter in the week that ended Nov. 13, compared to the same time last year, according to Musk.