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Musk, Apple, Google and the Fed - 5 Things You Must Know

Stocks set to open lower as the Fed kicks off its last meeting of 2021; U.K. watchdog eyes Apple and Google; GameStop, AMC, slump further; and Elon Musk sells more Tesla stock.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday Dec. 14:

U.S. equity futures edged lower Tuesday as Federal Reserve officials get set to kick-off a series of year-end central bank meetings that could define their stances on inflation while forecasting the potential impact of the Omicron variant on growth prospects.

The Fed is widely expected to signal a faster wind-down of its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases -- a precursor to 2022 rate hikes -- when it concludes its two-day meeting Wednesday, while ECB and Bank of England officials will need to grapple with the reality of surging inflation metrics and rising Omicron infections. 

In all cases, market reaction will be key to establishing an inflation narrative into 2022, as price prices continue to linger amid multi-year highs for energy prices, supply chain disruptions and tight labor markets.

Stock markets, however, appear content to power forward, with the prospect of S&P 500 earnings rising by 22% over the fourth quarter to a collective $431 billion as consumers, flush with cash from myriad government support efforts, continue to support the services sector.

Tuesday's session, however, looks muted, with futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a modest 20 point opening bell dip while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 12 point pullback. Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite are indicating a 90 point slide at the start of trading as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields hold at 1.434% in overnight trading.

TheStreet Recommends: Can the Federal Reserve Stop Inflation?

2. -- U.K. Competition Watchdog Eyes Apple and Google

Britain's competition watchdog said Tuesday that Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report and Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report have a "vice-like" grip on the country's smartphone market that has trapped customers inside their respective ecosystems and limited consumer choice.

The Competition and Markets Authority said "concerned that (the two companies are causing millions of people across the UK to lose out," suggesting it will look at remedies such as demanding easier switching between operating systems for customers and allowing the installation of apps outside of the App Store and Google Play structures.

Apple shares were marked 0.24% higher in pre-market trading at $176.16 each while Alphabet was little-changed from last night's close at $2,916.53 each.

3. -- Tesla CEO Elon Musk Unloads More Shares

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares moved lower in pre-market trading following a move by founder and CEO Elon Musk to sell another batch of stock in the clean-energy carmaker.

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Musk, who was recently named Time magazine's 'Person of the Year,' sold another 934,091 shares in the group worth around $906.5 million, while simultaneously exercising rights to buy another 2.13 million. Monday's sale takes the collective total -- which began on November 8 -- to around 13 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Tesla shares were marked 2.11% lower in premarket trading to indicate an opening bell price of $946.06 each, a move that would mark a 24% decline from the stock's all-time high of $1,243.49 reached on November 4.

Separately, Musk tweeted on Tuesday that Tesla will “make some merch” that will be “buyable with Doge,” and nod to crypto and specifically Dogecoin enthusiasts that the once-considered meme currency will have more legitimacy.

“Even though it was created as a silly joke, Dogecoin is better suited for transactions. The total transaction flow that you do with Dogecoin is… transactions per day has much higher potential than Bitcoin,” the self-named Technoking told Time magazine.

Dogecoin was up 32.26% at 21.58 cents at last check, the only cryptocurrency in the green.

4. -- GameStop, AMC Entertainment Slump to Springtime Lows

GameStop  (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report and AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Class A Report shares extended their recent slump in pre-market trading Tuesday, pulling the two most-popular meme stocks to multi-month lows as investors close out an extraordinary year of retail-powered gains.

A hawkish Fed, year-end tax deadlines, accelerating returns to office work and dwindling government stimulus payments could all be combining to take some steam from the historic meme-stock rally, which has still left GameStop sitting on a 2021 advance of more than 690%.

Still, the group posted a wider-than-expected third quarter loss earlier this month, while failing to detail long-awaited turnaround plans. AMC, meanwhile, continues to suffer from reduced capacity and concerns linked to the recent rise in Omicron infections heading into the peak of the holiday movie season.

AMC Entertainment shares were marked 6% lower in pre-market trading Tuesday to indicate an opening bell price of $21.86 each, while GameStop slumped 4.3% to $130.93 each..

5. -- U.S. Safety Officials Probe Amazon Warehouse Collapse

U.S. safety officials have opened a probe into the collapse of an Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois that killed six workers amid a deadly wave of tornadoes that swept through six midwest states last week.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will look into the circumstances surrounding the collapse, and possibly recommend penalties, over the course of an investigation that may take as long as six months. Amazon said it would co-operate with the probe,

Amazon shares were marked 0.05% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $3,392.00 each.