Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures start March lower as Russia pushes toward Kyiv
- Target shares soar as retailer forecasts growth beyond pandemic
- U.S. oil tops $101 per barrel as bond yields fall, bitcoin jumps
- Ukraine's president says 'nobody is going to break us'
- Biden prepares for State of the Union during turbulent times
U.S. stock futures fell Tuesday, on the first day of March, as Russia bears down on Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv. Bond yields dropped, while oil and bitcoin jumped. Investors are also concentrating on retail earnings, with Target shares soaring 12% after forecasting continued sales growth.
Target closed out 2021, saying Tuesday it weathered supply chain challenges over the holidays and built on e-commerce and customer gains during the Covid pandemic. Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings beat estimates while revenue missed. But the stock really took off on better-than-expected full-year guidance on the top and bottom lines, and rosy operating margins.
- Target said Monday it'll spend $300 million more in the year ahead on wages and health-care benefits. Starting wages will range from $15 to $25 for hourly employees, based on their roles and local markets. About 20% more employees will qualify for medical benefits.
U.S. oil prices soared more than 4% on Tuesday, with West Texas Intermediate crude topping $101 per barrel, its highest level since July 2014, as Russia pounded Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, and a 40-mile convoy approached Kyiv. U.S. sanctions for Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine do not target oil from Russia, which exports some 4 million to 5 million barrels per day of crude.
Investors were also seeking the safety of bonds, inversely pushing the 10-year Treasury yield lower to roughly 1.77% on Tuesday. Bitcoin jumped 6%, though way off overnight highs, to around $44,400. Crypto proponents see bitcoin as a haven and a store of value like gold. Actual gold prices also rose more than 1% to roughly $1,920 per ounce.
On Day Six of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the fighting has reached beyond military targets, with evidence documented by Associated Press reporters of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals. The Kremlin denies that. A first round of talks between Ukraine and Russia failed to yield a cease-fire. Both sides agreed to another meeting in coming days.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the European Parliament on Tuesday, saying "nobody is going to break us." Earlier in a Facebook video, Zelenskyy called Kharkiv shelling "undisguised terror" that "no one will forget." He also said that holding Kyiv is a "key priority."
President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night, facing turmoil both foreign and domestic. From Russian aggression to navigating the U.S. out of the pandemic to a stalled social and climate agenda to soaring inflation, Biden addresses a nation that polls show is frustrated with his performance in the White House.
- Biden will speak to a mostly full and mask-optional crowd in the House chamber, one sign of the easing Covid threat. But his speech will also be from within a newly fenced Capitol due to renewed security concerns after last year's insurrection.