Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow futures bounce after biggest one-day February loss
- Treasury Secretary Yellen pushes for major Covid stimulus
- Biden to pledge billions in global Covid vaccination aid
- Uber is dealt a major blow as UK's top court rules drivers are workers
- Citadel’s Ken Griffin defends controversial Wall Street practice
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.
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."
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." Democrats hope to get their bill through Congress before March 14, when key federal jobless benefit programs expire.
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.
Later in the day, 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.
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 and that it acts as more of an "agency" that connects them with passengers through an app. The company weathered a challenge in its home market of California in November, when voters backed a ballot proposal that cemented app-based food delivery and ride-hailing drivers' status as independent contractors, not employees.
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. This model is how Robinhood and other brokers are able to offer commission-free trading. "I do believe that payment for order flow has been an important source of innovation in the industry," Griffin said.
— Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.