Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Wall Street looks to start new month steady after terrible January
- UPS and Exxon out with strong quarterly results, shares rise
- Tesla issues a recall; FedEx suspends some services due to Covid
- Pfizer may soon file with U.S. to offer its Covid vaccine to kids under 5
- AT&T to spin off WarnerMedia in $43 billion Discovery media merger
1. Wall Street looks to start new month steady after terrible January
U.S. stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a relatively flat open for the first trading day of February, following a strong two-day rally that took some of the sting out a dismal and highly volatile January on Wall Street. The Nasdaq's best two-session gain since April 2020 and best single day since last March helped the tech-heavy index avoid posting its worst-ever January loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 also posted strong gains of 2.8% and 4.4%, respectively, over the past couple of sessions.
- Despite a two-session advance of more than 6.5%, the Nasdaq remained firmly in correction territory, down 12% from its November all-time high as tech stocks saw a rough start to the year.
- The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 in January posted their worst months since March 2020, when the Covid pandemic was declared. They were down 8.9% and 5.3%, respectively.
- The S&P 500, which saw a brief correction last month, had its biggest January decline since 2009. The Dow fell 3.3% in January.
- The Dow and the S&P 500, which also logged all-time highs early in January, were down nearly 5% and more than 6% from those lofty levels.
2. UPS and Exxon out with strong quarterly results, shares rise
Google parent Alphabet and General Motors top the list of the major companies out with earnings after the bell Tuesday. Exxon Mobil and United Parcel Service led the bevy of before-the-bell reports. Shares of UPS jumped more than 9% in Tuesday's premarket after the world's biggest delivery company forecast full-year revenue above expectations. UPS also beat on earnings and revenue in the fourth quarter. The company raised its quarterly dividend by nearly 50%.
Exxon Mobil on Tuesday reported mixed fourth-quarter results, beating estimates on adjusted per-share earnings but missing on revenue. The company's quarterly profit of $8.87 billion was the largest in seven years, getting a boost from higher energy prices. Exxon also announced a new $10 billion stock buyback program, resuming repurchases for the first time in more than five years. Exxon shares gained slightly in the premarket.
3. Tesla issues a recall; FedEx suspends some services due to Covid
Tesla will recall 53,822 U.S. vehicles with the company's Full Self-Driving software that may allow some models to conduct so-called rolling stops and not come to a complete stop at some intersections. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tesla will perform an over-the-air software update to disable the rolling stop functionality.
FedEx on Tuesday suspended its domestic express freight services, including FedEx two-day and three-day freight services, due to a staff shortage as Covid cases rose. The company's international economy freight pick-up services, which had been paused earlier, resumed Monday. Last month, FedEx said the spreading omicron variant caused a staffing shortage and delays in shipments transported on aircraft.
4. Pfizer may soon file with U.S. to offer its Covid vaccine to kids under 5
Pfizer and BioNTech may file as soon as Tuesday for permission to use their Covid vaccine in a two-shot course for kids under 5 years old, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke to The New York Times. Emergency use authorization could come as soon as the end of February. The companies will continue to study the effectiveness of three doses for that group.
Moderna announced Monday that U.S. health regulators granted full approval to its Covid vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in August. Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for full approval of its Covid vaccine but remains authorized for emergency use as the third and only other shot cleared in the U.S.
5. AT&T to spin off WarnerMedia in $43 billion Discovery media merger
AT&T said Tuesday it'll spin off its WarnerMedia unit in a $43 billion transaction to merge its media properties with Discovery. The deal to unwind AT&T's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner was announced early last year, but some financial details were not disclosed until Tuesday. AT&T shareholders will own 71% of the new Warner Bros. Discovery company and will receive a 0.24 share of Warner Bros. Discovery for each AT&T share they own. AT&T also said it will cut its dividend by nearly half.
— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC's coronavirus coverage.