Elon Musk and Bitcoin, AT&T and Discovery - 5 Things You Must Know

Stock futures trade lower; Elon Musk says Tesla hasn't sold any of its holdings in Bitcoin; AT&T will combine its WarnerMedia division with Discovery.
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Here are five things you must know for Monday, May 17:

1. -- Stock Futures Fall After Wall Street's Rough Week

Stock futures traded lower Monday as Wall Street came off a rough week driven by concerns over what effect rising inflation would have on the U.S. recovery.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 143 points, S&P 500 futures were down 15 points and Nasdaq futures declined 55 points.

Stocks closed higher Friday but posted losses for the week as inflation fears had Wall Street worried the Federal Reserve could boost near-zero interest rates and begin tapering asset purchases earlier that it has signaled. 

The Dow fell 1.1% last week, the S&P 500 declined 1.4% and the Nasdaq dropped 2.3%.

Wall Street will be paying close attention this week to minutes from the Fed's meeting in April for the central bank's thoughts on price pressures and hints on when it might begin pulling back support.

Treasury yields extended declines, falling to 1.627% on Monday, following a report last week that said U.S. retail sales in April stalled as the impact of government stimulus faded and consumers pulled back spending in the waning months of the pandemic.

Bitcoin traded as low as $42,212 following comments from Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report CEO Elon Musk.

2. -- This Week's Calendar: FOMC Minutes and Walmart Earnings 

The U.S. economic calendar Monday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Index for May at 8:30 a.m. ET and the NAHB Homebuilders Index for May at 10 a.m.

Data are expected later in the week on housing starts, jobless claims and existing home sales.

The Federal Reserve will release minutes from the April 27-28  meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, its monetary policymaking body, on Wednesday. 

Earnings reports are expected this week from Walmart  (WMT) - Get Report, Home Depot  (HD) - Get Report, Lowe's  (LOW) - Get Report, Cisco Systems  (CSCO) - Get Report, Macy's  (M) - Get Report, Take-Two Interactive Software  (TTWO) - Get Report, Baidu  (BIDU) - Get Report, TJX Cos.  (TJX) - Get Report, Target  (TGT) - Get Report, Applied Materials  (AMAT) - Get Report, Kohl's  (KSS) - Get Report, Palo Alto Networks  (PANW) - Get Report, Deere  (DE) - Get Report, Foot Locker  (FL) - Get Report and Lordstown Motors  (RIDE) - Get Report

Walmart and Take-Two are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

3. -- Elon Musk Says Tesla Hasn't Sold Any Bitcoin

Elon Musk said Tesla hasn't sold any of its holdings in Bitcoin.

Musk's comments early Monday came after he wrote Sunday on Twitter "Indeed," in response to a post by another user that said, "Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings. With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn’t blame him …"

Musk's ambiguous tweet on Sunday appeared to spur the declines in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Musk early Monday said in a later tweet that, "To clarify speculation, Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin."

Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency, at last check Monday traded down 9.63% to $44,685, according to CoinDesk. It fell to as low as $42,212 over the past 24 hours.

But those declines were built on earlier drops that also followed Musk's abrupt criticisms of the electricity used in the digital "mining" of bitcoin, and after saying last week that Tesla wouldn’t take Bitcoin for payment for cars

4. -- AT&T to Combine Media Assets With Discovery

AT&T  (T) - Get Report confirmed Monday it will merge its WarnerMedia division with Discovery  (DISCA) - Get Report.

Bloomberg and The Wall Street reported talks of the deal over the weekend.

Under the combination, AT&T's CNN, HBO and the Cartoon Network will be placed side-by-side with those of Discovery's HGTV, the Food Network and Animal Planet.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav will head the new company.

The tie-up creates an entertainment giant that would better compete with other streaming media names like Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get Report and Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report.

A spinoff by AT&T of its media assets is a U-turn for the company, which purchased Time Warner Inc. less than three years ago.

5.-- Gates Reportedly Investigated by  Microsoft Before He Left the Board

Member of Microsoft's  (MSFT) - Get Report board decided Bill Gates needed to step down from the technology giant's board in 2020 as they pursued an investigation into the founder's prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

A a law firm was hired to conduct an investigation in late 2019 after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship over years with Gates, the people said.

During the probe, some board members decided it was no longer suitable for Gates to sit as a director at the software company. Gates resigned before the board’s investigation was completed and before the full board could make a formal decision on the matter, another person familiar with the matter said.

Gates resigned from the Microsoft board on March 13, 2020, three months after he had been re-elected to his seat.

Gates and his wife, Melinda, announced earlier this month they were ending their 27-year marriage.

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