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U.S. stock futures turned lower Wednesday, a day after Wall Street's wild ride that saw the Nasdaq claw back nearly all of a nearly 4% loss to close down just 0.5%. The S&P 500 reversed a 1.8% decline to close up slightly, breaking a five-session losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average wiped off a drop of 360 points, or more than 1%, to close modestly higher for the third straight session.
Tuesday's turnaround, especially in tech stocks, came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee that inflation is still "soft" and the economic outlook is still "highly uncertain" due to the pandemic. That eased fears of a central bank policy change. Powell appears before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday in the second and final part of his mandated semiannual economic testimony to Congress.
The Food and Drug Administration's staff endorsed Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, a critical step in bringing a third shot to the U.S. marketplace. The staff report is meant to brief the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which will meet Friday to review J&J's request for emergency use authorization. J&J shares were higher.
Tesla's recovery in premarket trading moderated after staging a major comeback Tuesday. At one point, as bitcoin prices sank, shares plunged 13%. Tesla recently disclosed an investment in bitcoin. By Tuesday's closing bell, it recouped most of those losses to finish down only 2.2%. However, Tesla's four-session slide did total more than 11%, dragging the high-flying stock into the red by nearly 1% for 2021. Over the past 12 months, it was still up a whopping 287%.
Ark Invest's Cathie Wood, who has had a hot hand recently, scooped up more than $120 million worth of Tesla shares during Tuesday's rout and subsequent comeback. Wood's buying may have helped spark the turnaround in Tesla, CNBC's Jim Cramer tweeted.
Wood told Bloomberg on Tuesday she's particularly bullish on Tesla's ride-hailing service as a bridge to autonomous driving. "We do not think many analysts are giving Tesla credit for autonomous. If they were, the stock would be a lot higher," she added.
Wood, also a bitcoin bull, told Bloomberg, ""We're very positive on Bitcoin, very happy to see a healthy correction here, no market is straight up." Bitcoin climbed back above the $50,000 on Wednesday, after a big sell-off earlier this week. Bitcoin is up more than 70% year to date and over 400% in the last 12 months.
Square said Tuesday it bought $170 million worth of bitcoin. The fintech firm run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey bought $50 million worth of the world's biggest cryptocurrency last year. Dorsey, one of bitcoin's best-known proponents, once predicted it would eventually become the "single currency" of the internet.
GameStop CFO Jim Bell will step down next month. The video game retailer said Bell's resignation was not due to any disagreement with the company relating to its operations, including accounting principles and practices. A source told Reuters that Bell's exit was unrelated to the recent Reddit-fueled wild swings in GameStop's stock. However, the source said his departure was initiated by GameStop, in a sign he was not viewed as the right fit as the retailer transitions into a tech-oriented business.
Lowe's shares rose 1% in premarket trading after the home improvement retailer said Wednesday its fourth-quarter same-store sales climbed 28% as consumers spent more on home projects during Covid. Adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.33 per share on revenue of $20.31 billion beat expectations. Lowe's reiterated the forecast it gave at an investor day in December when its CFO said home improvement sales will likely decline in 2021 as more people get vaccinated and spend more time outside their homes.
— 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.