Vladimir Putin

What to Watch Today: Wall Street Set to Wrap Up Strong Month But Weak Quarter

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as bond yields and oil prices dropped. Major international oil producers in OPEC+ stuck to a modest crude oil output hike after their meeting amid reports the U.S. was considering releasing supply from its strategic oil reserves. (CNBC)

The Dow and the S&P 500 broke four-session winning streaks Wednesday, and the Nasdaq dropped for the first time in three days. With one day left in March, all three stock benchmarks were solidly higher for the month. However, as the wild first quarter comes to an end, Wall Street was tracking for a rough first three months of 2022. (CNBC)

Treasury yields fell Thursday, but key spreads — the 5-year and 30-year as well as the 2-year and 10-year — remained tight. The 5-year Treasury yield inverted earlier this week and went above the 30-year yield, a market distortion that's often happened before economic recessions. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield dropped to 2.3%, backing away from near three-year highs. (CNBC)

The Fed's favorite inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, advanced 5.4% on a year-over-year basis in February, a bit lower than estimates but up from the prior month's biggest increase since spring of 1983. Markets expect the central bank to get more aggressive with interest rate hikes to fight inflation. (CNBC)

One day before the March employment report, the government said Thursday morning that initial jobless claims for the week ended March 26 rose to 202,000. The prior week's reading was revised slightly higher to 188,000, still around a 52-year low. (CNBC)

Dow stock Apple (AAPL) rose in the premarket, the morning after seeing its 11-session 18% winning streak come to an end. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), also a Dow component, fell 1% in Thursday's premarket, shortly after reporting better-than expected earnings and revenue. Results were helped by increased demand for Covid booster shots and tests due to the spread of the omicron variant during the winter months. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. oil benchmark, fell 6% to around $101 per barrel Thursday even after OPEC+ agreed to raise output targets by 432,000 barrels per day. Energy analysts had widely expected the group to rubber-stamp another modest increase. (CNBC)

President Joe Biden is set to give remarks Thursday, with media reports saying he'll detail plans to release 1 million barrels of oil per day for several months from America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move would be aimed at easing oil and gas prices that have surged on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (CNBC)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his nation's stiff defense against Russia's invasion was at a "turning point," and he again appealed to the U.S. for more help. Cease-fire talks, which took place face to face this week and sparked hope, are set to resume by video Friday. Russia has been playing down indications of progress and it appears to have gone back on its pledge to scale back some operations. (AP)

Newly declassified U.S. intelligence indicates Russian President Vladimir Putin feels he was misled by military leaders who did not tell him key details about the botched invasion of Ukraine because they feared angering him, top Biden administration officials said Wednesday. (CNBC)

* Russia holds onto positions near Kyiv; Putin 'massively misjudged' war (CNBC live blog)
* Russian troops sabotaging own equipment and refusing orders in Ukraine, UK says (CNBC)

Biden warned the U.S. will not have enough Covid vaccine doses this fall to ensure free and easy access for all Americans if Congress fails to pass the $22.5 billion in additional funding the administration has requested. (CNBC)

The Biden administration is expected to end by May 23 the asylum limits at the U.S.-Mexico border that were put in place to prevent the spread of Covid, according to The Associated Press, citing people familiar with the matter. The decision isn't final yet. (AP)

* Biden to mark Transgender Day of Visibility with new actions, including a new "X" gender marker on U.S. passport applications (AP)

Amazon (AMZN) has chosen to renew a deal allowing JPMorgan Chase to issue the tech giant's flagship rewards credit card, ending months of heated negotiations, CNBC has learned.

Amazon tapped an influential consulting and polling firm with close ties to Democratic political groups to help the company thwart a critical unionization effort at a Staten Island, New York, warehouse, CNBC has learned.

More than 2,300 ballots were cast in a closely watched union election at one of Amazon's Alabama warehouses, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store union. Voting at an Amazon warehouse on New York's Staten Island ended on Wednesday. (CNBC)

* Kohl's calls on shareholders to reject activist Macellum's proposal (CNBC)

One in five Americans has invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency, a new NBC News poll found, another sign that digital assets continue to get more popular even as lawmakers warn of market risks and work to regulate the industry.

* More Chinese people say they’d rather save than spend (CNBC)

Will Smith was asked to leave the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday after slapping presenter Chris Rock, but refused, according to a new statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Wednesday. (CNBC)

Fans hoping Chris Rock would speak at length about Will Smith slapping him at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday may have been disappointed Wednesday night during his first show since the incident in Boston. (CNBC)

Actor Bruce Willis is stepping away from his career after being diagnosed with aphasia. Aphasia is a condition that "robs you of the ability to communicate,"  according to the Mayo Clinic. "It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written." (NBC News)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Baidu (BIDU) lost 2.2% in premarket trading after the SEC added the search engine company to its list of U.S.-traded China stocks that could be delisted if they don't allow American regulators to review three years' worth of financial audits. Online entertainment company iQYI (IQ) was also added to that list, with its shares sliding 6.6%.

Novavax (NVAX) gained 1.3% in premarket trading after it asked EU regulators to clear its Covid vaccine for use in teenagers.

Kinross Gold (KGC) is in talks to sell a Russian mine to Russia-backed investment firm Fortiana Holdings, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. It would be the first sale of an asset left behind in Russia by a Western company.

An FDA panel voted against recommending the approval of an experimental ALS drug developed by Amylyx Pharmaceuticals (AMLX). The panel said study data failed to prove that the drug was effective in fighting the disease. Amylyx erased early premarket losses to rise by 2.5%.

Robinhood Markets (HOOD) won a favorable ruling in a Massachusetts case, with a judge deciding the state overstepped its authority in adopting a new fiduciary standard for brokerages operating in the state. The brokerage firm had been accused by regulators of encouraging its customers to take undue risks. Robinhood shares rose modestly in the premarket after dropping 8.5% on Wednesday.

Expensify (EXFY) tumbled 14.3% in the premarket after the online expense management company reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and issued a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast for the current quarter.

WATERCOOLER

The United States men's soccer team are returning to the World Cup after the trauma of missing the 2018 tournament, clinching a berth for this year's championship in Qatar on Wednesday despite a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica on the final night of qualifying. (AP)

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