Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stocks set to rise on tame inflation data after Tuesday's surge
- In tech rally, Tesla rocketed almost 20% higher; Apple, Facebook rose
- GE to sell its jet leasing unit to rival AerCap in $30 billion deal
- Eli Lilly's combo Covid therapy cuts serious illness, death in large study
- House set to approve Covid stimulus, giving Biden a victory
Tame inflation data pressured the 10-year Treasury yield Wednesday, and U.S. stock futures headed higher. On Tuesday, beaten-up tech stocks roared back, pushing the Nasdaq up nearly 3.7% in its best day since November. Declining bond yields supported Tuesday's rally, which extended to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500. The government Wednesday morning said U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4% in February, matching expectations. Wednesday's most crucial event could very well prove to be the 10-year Treasury auction at 1 p.m. ET. Normally a mundane affair, but with Wall Street focused on the possibility of rising yields, stock traders are likely to pay more attention to the auction than they usually do.
Tech stocks were steady in the premarket after the likes of Apple and Facebook on Tuesday each jumped more than 4%. Tesla on Wednesday added to its over 19.6% surge in the prior session, which broke a five-day losing streak and nearly wiped out all the losses over that stretch. Elon Musk's electric auto maker, which has gained more than 450% over the past 12 months, was still down 25% from its all-time high of $900 per share in late January.
General Electric on Wednesday said it will sell its jet leasing business to rival AerCap in a deal valued at $30 billion, a move that would create a massive lessor as the aviation industry struggles through the Covid-19 pandemic and GE moves to reduce its debt load. GE shares fell 2% in premarket trading after the deal was announced, while AerCap's stock rose 1.5%. Citing "significant transformation over the past several years," GE also said its board will recommend that shareholders approve a reverse 1-for-8 stock split.
Eli Lilly said Wednesday its Covid antibody therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87% in a study of more than 750 high-risk coronavirus patients. It's the second large, late-stage study to show that the combination treatment is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of the disease. U.S. regulators authorized the Lilly therapy in February for emergency use in Covid patients 12 years old and over with a high risk of developing serious complications.
The Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday is expected to approve, along party lines, the Senate-passed, $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it, sealing an early victory in advancing Democratic priorities and showcasing party unity. The bill includes up to $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, a federal unemployment benefits boost, and hundreds of billions of dollars for Covid vaccines and treatments, schools, state and local governments, and ailing industries from airlines to concert halls.
— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.