Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Stock blowout
What a huge day for stocks. All three major U.S. indices on Thursday posted their best day since 2020 after new inflation data came in cooler than expected, giving investors hope that the Fed may throttle back its rate increases sooner than later (more on that below). The Dow surged more than 1,200 points, the S&P jumped 5.5%, and the Nasdaq rose a whopping 7.4%. We're not halfway through November yet, but the averages are on pace for a winning month. Some potentially positive news out of China (more on that below) is giving stocks some juice Friday morning, too. Read live market updates here.
2. Fed officials weigh in
Federal Reserve officials also liked seeing inflation slow down a bit, although they're still prepared to keep monetary policy tight. "With inflation still elevated and likely to persist, monetary policy clearly has more work to do," Kansas City Fed President Esther George, a voting member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, said Thursday. Another voting member, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, sounded hawkish, as well. "Despite the moves we have made so far, given that inflation has consistently proven to be more persistent than expected and there are significant costs of continued high inflation, I currently view the larger risks as coming from tightening too little," she said Thursday.
3. China eases Covid limits
China's "zero Covid" policy, which has weighed on business and economic growth, is getting a little looser. The nation reduced its quarantine time for international visitors by two days, while also limiting contact tracing only to close contacts with people who are infected with the virus. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped after the news, as did travel and casino stocks. The news also comes ahead of Monday's scheduled meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden, the first face-to-face talk between the two since Biden was inaugurated. They are expected to discuss tensions over trade, technology competition and Taiwan, among other issues.
4. Capital market comeback
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon thinks capital markets should start to recover next year. Deal-making and IPOs have slowed to a crawl as the Fed raises rates to fight inflation, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues to unsettle markets. But, Solomon said, eventually people will get used to these conditions and figure out a way to move ahead. "There's always a backlog of companies that need to go public," he told CNBC. "We're three quarters into a more difficult capital markets environment. History would tell you, three, four, five, six quarters you get that readjustment."
5. How big will 'Wakanda Forever' be?
"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is arriving just as Disney could really use some good news. The Mouse House's stock tanked earlier this week after a disappointing earnings report that missed expectations in just about every way. The new sequel, which critics are calling an overstuffed but otherwise moving tribute to late star Chadwick Boseman, is poised to have a monster opening weekend in North America. Analysts say it could rack up $200 million, which would be the most lucrative opening frame for a movie this year. The movie is well-positioned to dominate at the box office for weeks to come. In another bright spot for Disney, the company is also behind the two remaining major theatrical releases of 2022: The animated family adventure "Strange World," due Thanksgiving week, and December's "Avatar: The Way of Water," director James Cameron's long-awaited sequel to his 2009 mega-blockbuster.
– CNBC's Tanaya Macheel, Jeff Cox, Evelyn Cheng, Amanda Macias, Krystal Hur and Sarah Whitten contributed to this report.