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In the grand Wall Street theater, the scene was set for a riveting performance as cautious traders tiptoed around, awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision like eager theatergoers anticipating a plot twist. With hot inflation readings sparking fears, many were preparing for the Fed to strut onto the stage with a hawkish swagger, ready to ruffle some feathers.

As the clock ticked towards 13:39 ET (17:39 GMT), the S&P 500 did a subtle dip of 0.2%, the NASDAQ slipped by 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average boldly climbed by 0.40%, flaunting 158 points.

Anticipation brewed as the Federal Reserve was predicted to maintain interest rates within the 5.25% to 5.5% realm. But whispers in the financial corridors hinted at a ‘hawkish’ stance, especially with signs that disinflation might be hitting a roadblock.

According to financial soothsayers at Macquarie, the Fed’s penchant for being ‘data dependent’ practically sets the stage for a hawkish soliloquy today. Yet, if Chairman Jerome Powell continues to sing the tune of disinflation, the impact of this hawkish show might be a bit muted. Investors seem to have already mentally factored in a ‘multi-month delay to rate cuts.’

Meanwhile, in the labor market saga, the plot thickened with job openings dwindling to a three-month low in March, but private sector job gains in April performed a surprising encore, surpassing the audience’s expectations.

Come Friday, the nonfarm payrolls report is set to reveal if the U.S. economy scored a jackpot with a healthy 243,000 job addition in April.

Amidst the market melodrama, Amazon strutted with a 2% gain, showcasing robust first-quarter earnings that left analysts’ estimates eating dust, thanks to a surge in AI-driven demand in its cloud business. But, a slightly underwhelming revenue forecast couldn’t dim its star quality.

However, not all actors on the market stage were receiving standing ovations. Chip stocks stumbled, with Super Micro Computer Inc. taking a 14% tumble and Advanced Micro Devices nearly missing a step with a 9% slip. Despite AMD’s upbeat quarterly results and bullish outlook on AI chip sales, it failed to meet the lofty expectations of Wall Street critics.

In the realm of corporate earnings, it was a mixed bag. Kraft Heinz soured nearly 7% as consumers turned their noses up at higher prices, while Yum! Brands fell 4% due to lackluster demand for its finger-lickin’ KFC and Pizza Hut offerings. Estee Lauder’s glamour faded with a 13% decline despite beating earnings expectations, and CVS Health took an 18% nosedive after reporting a first-quarter profit slump and slashing its full-year earnings outlook.

Starbucks, however, brewed a bitter potion for investors, plummeting 17% as its first-quarter profit failed to perk up expectations amidst weakened demand in North America and China.

But amidst the drama, Pfizer emerged as a shining star, rising 6% after surpassing first-quarter expectations and uplifting its full-year outlook.

As the market curtain fell, energy stocks including FANG, OXY, and EQT found themselves under pressure from a more than 3% dip in oil prices. A surprise build in U.S. stockpiles and robust crude production left investors questioning the tight supply narrative. The plot thickens, and the drama of the market stage continues to unfold.

Pension Fund Throws Shade at BlackRock: Urges Shareholders to Nix Saudi Aramco CEO’s Board Bid

A New York City pension fund has thrown shade at BlackRock, urging its shareholders to give a thumbs-down to the appointment of Amin Nasser, the bigwig from Saudi Aramco, as an independent director. Their gripe? They’re waving red flags about potential conflicts of interest swirling around BlackRock’s eco-friendly makeover and raising human rights eyebrows.

The City Comptroller, Brad Lander, minced no words in a securities filing, urging shareholders to veto Nasser’s board bid at BlackRock’s upcoming annual showdown on May 15. Lander argued that Nasser’s ties could cloud his judgment, especially when it comes to overseeing BlackRock’s green agenda. With billions at stake, including a hefty chunk from New York City’s pension pot, the stakes are high. Neither Aramco nor BlackRock have chimed in just yet, leaving this spat to simmer.

BlackRock, known for its hefty board, has a lineup of 16 folks vying for seats, with Nasser’s candidacy adding a dash of controversy to the mix. While proxy big shots ISS and Glass Lewis give a thumbs-up to BlackRock’s board lineup, they’re throwing some shade at CEO Larry Fink’s pay packet over process and performance concerns. As the May showdown looms, it seems the drama in the boardroom is heating up, leaving investors to wonder: will BlackRock’s annual meeting be a blockbuster or a bust?

AppTech Payments Corp Revenues Increased Over 12%

AppTech Payments Corp (NASDAQ: APCX) experienced a staggering 80% decline in its share price since its August 2013 highs. The situation intensified on March 26, when the stock plummeted 43% in a single day following the announcement of a public offering priced at $1.00 per share to raise approximately $2 million. This morning’s press release dives deep into the recent developments, the fundamentals and technicals of this nano-cap stock to assess whether it is currently oversold and potentially ripe for investment.

On Thursdays, investing feels a bit like being handed the latest bestselling novel, with each stock and asset class playing a different character in this financial saga. It’s a day where Wall Street’s scriptwriters seem to add an extra twist to the plot, leaving investors simultaneously on the edge of their seats and scratching their heads. With the week’s drama unfolding, Thursday becomes the stage where savvy investors don their detective hats, hunting for clues amidst the market’s enigmatic performance. So grab your popcorn and your portfolio, because on Thursdays, the market turns into a captivating show you won’t want to miss!