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CES 2021: What to Watch for From Microsoft and Walmart on Wednesday

Expect both companies to share key learnings from their response to the pandemic on the third day of this year's CES.

While CES this year has gone virtual because of the pandemic, there's been no shortage of big tech announcements and news.

This year's show began on Monday, and on Tuesday saw key announcements from automaker General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report, as well as rival chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices and  Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report.

On Wednesday, keynote addresses by tech giant Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report and retail behemoth Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report should be of particular interest to investors. Here's some of what to expect:

1. Microsoft 9 a.m. - 9.30 a.m.

Who: Brad Smith, President

Smith’s first keynote address at CES in nearly a decade will delve into the role of technology in corporate security, privacy and sustainability. He will also talk about how Big Tech and governments need to be more responsible as technology is used as both a tool that powers economies and communities, and a weapon that can undermine democracy and fundamental human rights. 

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In addition, Smith will discuss the tech giant's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Microsoft's learnings from hosting global virtual-only events. In fact, Microsoft is the technology partner for CES, with Azure, Teams and Power Platform being used to host the event.

2. Walmart 1 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Who: Doug McMillon, CEO 

McMillon will discuss the retail giant's surge in online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, a factor largely responsible for its success in 2020, as well as recent climate commitments and efforts to promote racial equality.

U.S. e-commerce sales for Walmart jumped 79% in Wal-Mart's third quarter, and that was before the introduction of the company's answer to Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report Prime, known as Wal-Mart +. Wal-Mart has taken its time developing Wal-Mart +, focusing on the customer experience rather than simply racking up subscribers out of the gate, and this bodes well for the company's future.

Investors finally seem to have accepted the fact that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is in a position to compete with Amazon head-to-head, with the key to its success being the company's surge in online sales.

Microsoft, Walmart, Nvidia and Amazon are key holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.