Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stock futures pared gains after Thursday's selling



U.S. stock futures pared gains after the Federal Reserve on Friday declined to extend a pandemic-era rule that relaxed the amount of capital that banks had to maintain against Treasurys and other holdings. The move could boost bond yields further. (CNBC)

* Rate fears are getting the blame for recent stock weakness, but other factors are at play (CNBC)

Soaring Treasury yields clobbered tech stocks again Thursday, causing the Nasdaq to drop 3%. The S&P 500, which also has a heavy tech weighting, fell almost 1.5% from its prior record close. Both benchmarks had their worst days in nearly a month. The Dow dropped almost 0.5% from its prior record close. The Nasdaq and S&P 500, as of Thursday's close, were lower on the week, while the Dow was higher for the week. (CNBC)

The 10-year Treasury yield pulled back slightly Friday, one day after hitting a 14-month high of 1.754%. Traders revolted over the Federal Reserve's willingness to let the economy and inflation run hot as the job market recovers. The 10-year yield started the year at less than 1%. (CNBC)

Dow stock Nike fell 2.5% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the athletic footwear and apparel maker reported fiscal third-quarter revenue that missed estimates. Sales growth of 2.5% to $10.36 billion was hurt by widespread port congestion in the U.S. and ongoing store closures in Europe. Nike also delivered a below-consensus forecast. However, the company did exceed estimates by 14 cents with a third-quarter profit of 90 cents per share. (CNBC)

FedEx, a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average, jumped 5% in Friday's premarket. The delivery giant after the bell Thursday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $3.47 per share, 24 cents better than expectations. Revenue rose 23% to $21.51 billion, also handily exceeding estimates. Big holiday sales offset severe weather in February that impaired operations at several of Fedex's largest hubs. (CNBC)


The CDC's vaccine tracker, updated nightly, showed Friday morning that 115.7 million Covid vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., reaching President Joe Biden's initial 100 million shots in the first 100 days in office way ahead of schedule. Last week, Biden said he expected to hit the goal on Day 60. It happened on Day 57. With vaccinations in the U.S. progressing, the Biden administration Thursday revealed the outlines of a plan to loan a limited number of vaccine doses to Canada and Mexico.

* Covid-19 variant vaccines in works at Johnson & Johnson (WSJ)
* Vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez backs Fauci in showdown with Sen. Paul over masks (CNBC)
* 'We need to be careful this month' — Dr. Scott Gottlieb says masks still needed (CNBC)

AstraZeneca's (AZN) Covid vaccine received the backing of Canadian regulator Health Canada, which joined European countries in saying the vaccine is not linked to an increase in blood clots. Countries that had temporarily halted use of the vaccine have now resumed administering shots. (Reuters)

The first high-level meeting of U.S. and Chinese officials under the Biden administration began with a flurry of insults at a pre-meeting press event in Alaska on Thursday. The planned four-minute photo session for the officials to address reporters ended up lasting one hour and 15 minutes due to the frothy exchanges, according to NBC News. Expectations going into the two-day talks, which are set to conclude Friday, were already low.

Lawmakers in the House on Thursday passed two bills that would establish paths to citizenship or legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the country unlawfully as children and workers in the agriculture sector. The legislation was passed largely along partisan lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. (CNBC)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he's confident the social network "will be able to manage through" Apple's (AAPL) upcoming planned privacy update to iOS 14, which will make it easier for iPhone and iPad users to block companies from tracking their activity to target ads. (CNBC)

Luxury German automaker Porsche expects to significantly increase sales of all-electric vehicles in the coming years, but don't expect an EV version of its iconic 911 sports car anytime soon, if ever. "The concept of the 911 doesn't allow a fully electric car because we have the engine in the rear," Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said. (CNBC)

The National Football League has finalized its new 11-year media rights agreement with a pact that will run through 2033 and could be worth over $100 billion. Amazon (AMZN) Prime Video has been added as an exclusive partner for its Thursday Night Football package. (CNBC)

After getting a taste of the March Madness action sports fans missed out on last year with Thursday's First Four games, Friday delivers the first full day the NCAA Tournament since 2019. Sixteen games, featuring teams from the Midwest and South regions, will meet in first round play. (USA Today)


Skillz (SKLZ): Skillz tumbled 7% in premarket action after the mobile gaming company announced a 32 million share public offering. The offering priced at $24 per share, with Skillz selling 17 million shares and certain stockholders selling the rest. Skillz said it would use the proceeds for general corporate purposes.

Hartford Financial (HIG): The financial services company said it is "carefully considering" a takeover proposal from insurance company Chubb (CB) for $65 per share or more than $23 billion. Hartford shares surged 18.7% Thursday following news of the offer, although it Is giving back about 1.4% in premarket trade.

Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI): Ollie's beat estimates by 14 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 97 cents per share. The discount retailer's revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts. Comparable-store sales jumped 8.8%, beating the consensus FactSet forecast of a 3.2% increase. Ollie's shares gained 4.6% in premarket trading.

Enphase (ENPH), SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG): Susquehanna Financial upgraded both alternative energy stocks to "positive" from "neutral," based on an anticipated expansion in solar installations in the years ahead and the strength of the two companies in the residential sector. Enphase rose 3.3% in the premarket, while SolarEdge gained 2.1%.

Ford Motor (F): Ford shares are up 2.5% in premarket trading after Barclays upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight," and increased its price target on the stock to $16 per share from $9. Barclays is encouraged by Ford's developing electric vehicle strategy, among other factors.

Coherent (COHR): The laser technology company remains on watch, as it mulls competing takeover bids from Lumentum (LITE) and II-VI (IIVI). Coherent first struck a deal to be acquired by Lumentum in January, but has received eight subsequent bids and revised offers since then.

Molson Coors (TAP): The beer brewer's stock fell 2.3% in premarket action after Deutsche Bank added it to its "short term sell catalyst" list. Deutsche Bank said the call is based on short-term concerns, including a material impact on first-quarter results from adverse February weather in Texas.

Petco Health (WOOF): The pet supplies retailer was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at Bank of America Securities, saying Petco's fourth-quarter results and 2021 were ahead of its expectations. The stock jumped 2.8% in premarket trading after losing 3.8% in Thursday trading.

Hims & Hers Health (HIMS): Hims & Hers Health shares fell 3.3% in the premarket after the telehealth company reported a net quarterly loss of $3.1 million, even though that was smaller than the $12.4 million loss reported a year earlier. Revenue came in higher than anticipated, however, and total revenue was up by 80% for 2020.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT): The drugmaker's shares rallied 5.4% in premarket trading after it reported upbeat results in a trial involving an experimental muscular dystrophy treatment.