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Trade Deals, Chip Hacks, & Pay Raises: What Investors Should Know

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On today’s episode of the Zacks Friday Finish Line, Associate Stock Strategist Ryan McQueeney and Editor Maddy Johnson discuss the stock market's top stories of the week, including the USMCA trade deal, a reported hardware hack affecting Apple and Amazon, and major hourly pay raises coming to the retail sector.

Make sure to subscribe and leave the show a rating on Apple Podcasts!

Stocks suffered one of their worst days trading days in months Thursday, with Wall Street acting quick to ditch stocks amid rising bond yields. Friday's jobs report came in below expectations, which ironically should help stocks bounce back a bit before the weekend, but investors are certainly ending the week less positively than earlier developments might have suggested.

Notably, one of several lingering trade uncertainties was quashed this week as the United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed to a revised version of Nafta. Dubbed the “U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” Nafta 2.0 updates rules associated with car production, factory wages, and the dairy industry. It also keeps a heavily-negotiated dispute resolution process in place.

Each member of the three-country region can declare a piece of the USMCA as a victory, and investors can feel comfortable knowing the months-long process is nearing its end. Maddy and Ryan lead the episode with a discussion on the USMCA and bond yields.

Meanwhile, there was a major shake up in the retail sector this week as Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) announced that it would raise its minimum hourly wage for U.S. employees to $15. The e-commerce king is also giving a raise to hourly employees already making $15, and workers in other countries will be getting a wage bump in their local currencies.

Amazon's move helps it deflect growing criticism that its workplace conditions are too harsh and wages are too low. But it also raises significant questions for retail rivals like Costco (COST - Free Report) , Macy's (M - Free Report) , and Walmart (WMT - Free Report) ahead of the holiday shopping season. Will these companies also need to raise hourly wages to attract employees this year? The Finish Line team ponders this question.

The other major story discussed on this week's episode was a reported hardware hack affecting Amazon, Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , and many more major tech companies.

The story broke Thursday via Bloomberg Businessweek. According to sources cited by the publication, a server manufacturer called Super Micro Computer sold these companies motherboards which were comprised with a tiny computer chip that was used by Chinese spies to collect data.

The report claims that this incident sent shock-waves through the intelligence community and sparked government investigations that are still ongoing. However, basically every entity named in the story—including Amazon, Apple, and Super Micro Computer—have already denied the vast majority of these claims and criticized the reporting.

Make sure to check out the show, as Maddy and Ryan highlight a few of the major claims made and discuss the denial statements made by the tech companies!

If you feel that we missed something, or if you want us to cover a different story, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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