What to watch today: Dow futures bounce after biggest one-day February loss
U.S. stock futures rose Friday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq suffered their biggest one-day losses in the red-hot month of February. The Dow, which broke a three-day winning streak and fell from a record closing high, remained on track for a positive week, which would be its third straight. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are riding three-day losing streaks and are on pace for their first losing weeks in the past three. (CNBC)
* Treasury yields rise as concern mounts about higher inflation (CNBC)
* Lumber prices top $1,000 for the first time as single-family housing starts drop 12% (CNBC)
Bitcoin, which topped $52,000 this week, hit another all-time high early Friday near $53,000 per unit. After Tesla and other companies recently showed support for the world's biggest cryptocurrency, major financial firms also appeared to be warming to it. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC on Thursday she believes bitcoin is a "highly speculative asset." (CNBC)
As the House aims to pass its version of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief blueprint by the end of next week, Yellen told CNBC that a large stimulus package is necessary to get the economy back to full strength. "The price of doing too little is much higher than the price of doing something big," she said." We think that the benefits will far outweigh the costs in the longer run." (CNBC)
On today's economic calendar, the National Association of Realtors is out with its January report on existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET, with forecasts calling for a 2.4% drop to an annual rate of 6.6 million units. Existing home sales rose 0.7% in December. (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Biden is expected to announce Friday that the U.S. will spend $4 billion on international Covid vaccination efforts. He will make the pledge during his first virtual meeting as president with G-7 leaders. Biden will also urge other nations to put more money toward the global fight against the pandemic. (CNBC)
* Biden to lay out his foreign policy at G-7, Munich summit (AP)
* Biden team takes a major step in offering to start talks with Iran (CNBC)
Later today, Biden travels to Michigan to visit Pfizer's vaccine manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, a trip that was supposed to happen Thursday but was postponed due winter weather. Biden made his first domestic trip as president Tuesday, traveling to Wisconsin for a CNN town hall on the coronavirus. (Reuters)
Pfizer's (PFE) coronavirus vaccine was 85% effective after just the first dose, according to a study of Israeli health care workers published in The Lancet medical journal. As with a competing vaccine from Moderna (MRNA), patients receive 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to achieve maximum protection. (Reuters)
* Second dose of Covid vaccine is needed for full immunity, Dr. Paul Offit says (CNBC)
* Coronavirus was spreading in China before first confirmed cases, new evidence suggests (WSJ)
Shares of Uber dropped 3% in the premarket after the U.K.'s top court ruled Friday that the company's drivers there should be classified as workers rather than independent contractors. The ruling ends an almost five-year legal battle between Uber and a group of former drivers in Britain. Uber insists its drivers are self-employed. (CNBC)
* Facebook, Google and Twitter CEOs to make another appearance before Congress (CNBC)
During Thursday's GameStop hearing on Capitol Hill, Citadel's Ken Griffin defended a controversial method brokerages use to make money and said his firm would adapt if new regulations prohibited the practice. Members of Congress spent much of their time prodding about "payment for order flow," a practice in which a brokerage receives payment from a market maker like Citadel for directing the order to them. (CNBC)
* Reddit CEO defends platform’s role in GameStop surge (CNBC)
* Melvin Capital adapting strategy after GameStop mania (CNBC Pro)
IBM (IBM) is considering a possible sale of its IBM Watson Health business, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. Alternatives could include a sale to a private-equity firm or another health company, or a merger of the unit with a special purpose acquisition company.
The Texas grid failure that's left millions struggling without power in freezing conditions has ignited a feud between Democrats and the GOP over Republicans' decades-long oversight of the energy industry and prompted calls for a system more resilient to extreme weather conditions. (CNBC)
* ‘Obviously a mistake’: Cruz returns from Cancun after uproar (AP)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Deere (DE): The heavy equipment maker earned $3.87 per share for its fiscal first quarter, compared to estimates of $2.14 a share. Revenue also beat forecasts, and Deere increased its full-year earnings outlook amid improvements in the agricultural and construction sectors.
Roku (ROKU): Roku reported a quarterly profit of 49 cents per share, compared to forecasts of a 6 cents per share loss. The streaming video device maker's revenue also beat forecasts, amid a 58% surge as consumers stuck at home during the pandemic sought more video entertainment.
Dropbox (DBX): Dropbox came in 4 cents a share ahead of estimates, with quarterly earnings of 28 cents per share. The cloud storage company's revenue also came in above projections. Dropbox had a greater-than-expected number of paid users during the quarter, as well as better-than-expected revenue per user. It also forecast full-year revenue below analysts' estimates.
Applied Materials (AMAT): Applied Materials earned $1.39 per share for the fourth quarter, compared to estimates of $1.28. Revenue also came in above forecasts. The maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment also gave an upbeat current-quarter forecast, as chip makers try to accelerate production to deal with a global shortage.
TripAdvisor (TRIP): TripAdvisor reported a quarterly loss of 41 cents per share, wider than the 26 cents a share loss that analysts were anticipating. The travel website operator's revenue beat estimates, and the company noted that pent-up travel demand and positive vaccine developments should lead to improved results this year.
Royal Caribbean (RCL): Royal Caribbean said it will be restricted from paying cash dividends and from buying back stock until the third quarter of 2022, due to modifications in the cruise line operator's loan agreements. It had suspended dividends and buybacks last year as the pandemic shut down cruising activity.
Texas Roadhouse (TXRH): The restaurant chain earned 28 cents per share for the fourth quarter, short of the 49 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue also came in shy of analysts' forecasts. Texas Roadhouse said weekly sales levels weakened during the latter part of the quarter as a Covid-19 resurgence forced it to close some locations.
Planet Fitness (PLNT): The gym operator's quarterly earnings fell 5 cents a share shy of consensus as it reported profit of 17 cents per share. Revenue came in shy of estimates as well. Same-location sales fell more than expected, and Planet Fitness did not provide a 2021 outlook due to uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover, Perseverance, on the surface of Mars after its six-month voyage from Earth. The rover is the most technologically advanced robot NASA has ever sent to Mars. The agency aims to spend nearly two years using it to explore the surface. (CNBC)
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