Federal Reserve holds interest rate steady for now

Fed holds interest rates

Federal Reserve officials voted to hold interest rates steady at a 22-year high and revealed a divide over whether they should raise them once more this year, with most leaning toward another increase.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that officials didn’t need to decide yet whether to lift rates again after a historically rapid series of increases over the past 18 months and as they await evidence that a recent inflation slowdown can be sustained.

Walt Disney plans to spend big on its theme parks.

The entertainment behemoth Disney (DIS:NYSE) on Tuesday outlined plans to invest $60 billion to expand its parks, cruise lines and resorts—a division that provides its primary source of profits.

The possibilities include a “Frozen” presence at Disneyland Resort, and Wakanda from the “Black Panther” franchise could be “brought to life,” the company said.

The announcement highlights a dramatic, ongoing shift in the company’s business model. Disney has relied primarily on income from its traditional cable television business for years to subsidize expensive and risky moves like the launch of the Disney+ streaming service.

Disney shares are down 4.6% for the week.

FedEx delivers stellar earnings

Delivery giant, FedEx (FDX:NYSE) posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, despite a drop in revenue, and raised its full-year profit outlook.

Extensive cost-cutting efforts helped its bottom line amid a slowdown in demand. The slump, which follows a pandemic-era spike in shipping services, has increased competition between large parcel carriers.

Ahead of the coming holidays, executives said that the shipping industry will likely see a muted peak season this year.

FedEx shares are up 2.76% for the week.

Cisco and Splunk combine forces amid an AI arms race.

Networking giant Cisco (CSCO:NASDAQ) agreed to buy security-software company Splunk (SPLK:NASDAQ) for $28 billion—its largest-ever acquisition—as Cisco looks to tap further into generative artificial intelligence.

Cisco will pay $157 a share in cash for Splunk, a 31% premium to Wednesday’s closing price of $119.59 when the deal was announced.

The combination would expand Cisco’s software portfolio, produce more recurring revenue, and enable the company to provide its customers with AI and other tools, the firm said. The deal is expected to close by the end of September 2024.

Cisco previously tried to acquire Splunk for more than $20 billion, the Journal reported last year.

Splunk shares rose 20.6% for the week, while Cisco shares are down 4.37%.

Rupert Murdoch steps away from media empire

Murdoch, 92 years old, announced Thursday that he is leaving his executive chairman post at News Corp (NWSA:NASDAQ) and Fox (FOXA:NASDAQ). Murdoch will be appointed chairman emeritus of each company, and his elder son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become sole chair of News Corp and will continue as Fox Corp. executive chair and CEO.

After inheriting a small Australian newspaper business, the controversial tycoon built his empire over seven decades by acquiring or creating iconic brands across publishing, television and film.

Fox shares are down 1.45% for the week, while News Corp shares are down 3.2%.

Investors snap up Instacart shares on first day of trading

Shares in grocery delivery group Instacart (CART:NASDAQ) jumped more than 10 per cent on their first day of trading, in the latest sign of investor appetite for new listings.

Strong demand had been expected after Instacart priced its initial public offering at $30 a share, the top of an already-increased price range on Monday evening.

Grocery delivery remains competitive for Instacart and rivals Uber Technologies and DoorDash. U.S. consumers are still ordering more groceries online than they did prepandemic, but are doing so less frequently.

However, the excitement surrounding the stock appeared to have fizzled out in the days following the IPO.

Instacart shares are down 23% for the week.