Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Stock futures in the red
The summer rally has entered its dog days. U.S. equities markets were poised to open lower Monday, even after Wall Street slept off a bad close to last week. Investors are still chewing over whether they believe the Federal Reserve will continue its aggressive rate hikes to curb inflation. They will be looking for clues from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who is slated to talk Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Before then, markets will hear from several companies. The major part of earnings season is over, although there are a few well-known names on the schedule this week: Palo Alto Networks is scheduled to report after the bell Monday, Macy's and Nordstrom announce on Tuesday, Salesforce and Nvidia are up Wednesday, and Peloton goes Thursday.
2. Where do stocks go next?
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Now that earnings season is largely wrapped up, it's time to pick some winners. Goldman Sachs names several, including companies with more direct exposure to consumers, such as Amazon and Uber. Read this CNBC Pro piece for more details about the bank's main takeaways. Also – is the rally actually kaput, or is it just hitting a rough patch? JPMorgan strategists think growth stocks, such as the tech names that slumped big time earlier this year, still have more steam left in them this year. For more analysis and insight, check out CNBC Pro.
3. China cuts rates
While the United States hikes interest rates to fight inflation, China is cutting them as it faces an economic slowdown brought on by tight Covid restrictions and turmoil in the country's housing market. Analyst reactions were mixed. Some said it was an encouraging sign that the People's Bank of China is willing to boost liquidity, even if this most recent move won't have much of an impact. David Chao, an Invesco analyst, said lower rates haven't translated into higher real estate sales so far "due to the lack of confidence in large developers" and the country's presale model, which allows for mortgage payments on unfinished homes.
4. U.S. and South Korea launch joint military drills
South Korea and the United States kicked off their biggest joint military drills since 2017. The Covid pandemic and a momentary shift in the South's diplomatic approach to North Korea kept such exercises scaled back. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has been in office since May, has pressed for the resumption of the drills after his predecessor pushed for more open dialogue with Kim Jong Un's totalitarian government to the north. "Maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula is built on our airtight security posture," Yoon said to his Cabinet, according to Reuters. North Korea has fired several missiles this year and could conduct another nuclear test soon, officials have warned.
5. Tesla hikes FSD price
Earlier this year, Elon Musk's Tesla raised prices on its cars, citing supply chain issues and higher materials costs. Now the automaker is getting set to increase the price of its premium driver-assistance system, which the company calls Full Self-Driving, by 25% next month. "After wide release of FSD Beta 10.69.2, price of FSD will rise to $15k in North America on September 5th," Musk tweeted over the weekend. Tesla customers either pay $12,000 upfront or $199 in monthly subscriber fees for FSD, which has features intended to help the cars automatically slow down for signs and signals, among other things. FSD has drawn regulatory scrutiny from state and federal authorities.
— CNBC's Sarah Min, Su-Lin Tan, Carmen Reinicke and Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.
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