Morning Brief

What to watch today: Futures rise ahead of jobs report after worst quarter in 2 years

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures started the second quarter higher Friday ahead of the government's March employment report. Wall Street on Thursday ended its worst quarter since the first three months of 2020, which included the Covid pandemic lows in late March of that year. (CNBC)

* Cramer sees market bottom soon, says stocks poised for a 'tremendous rally' (CNBC)
* Cramer's favorite indicator and how he incorporate it into trading decisions (CNBC Investing Club)

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all dropped about 1.5% on Thursday. For Q1, the Dow and S&P 500 closed down 4.57% and 4.95%, respectively. The Nasdaq lost 9.1%. The start of a rate-hiking cycle from the Fed, high inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have all contributed to the struggles for equities so far this year. (CNBC)

Treasury spreads could be influenced by the jobs reports Friday, one day after the 2-year yield briefly rose above the 10-year yield for the first time since 2019, an inversion that often happens before economic recessions. The short-duration yields going above the longer-dated ones signal the market concerns that the Fed might raise interest rates too quickly. (CNBC)

A strong jobs report Friday could give the Fed more confidence to keep its aggressive rate-boosting plan in place this year aimed at fighting inflation without slowing the economy too much. Economists expect 490,000 jobs were added in March. The nation's unemployment rate is expected to drop slightly to 3.7% in March. (CNBC)

Shares of GameStop (GME) jumped 15% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the video game retailer announced plans for a stock split. GameStop said it will seek approval at its next shareholder meeting for an increase in the number of Class A common stock from 300 million to 1 billion shares to partly conduct a split in the form of a stock dividend.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Russian troops left the heavily contaminated Chornobyl nuclear site early Friday after returning control to the Ukrainians. In what would be the first attack of its kind, if confirmed, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region accused Ukraine of flying helicopter gunships across the border Friday morning and striking an oil depot. (AP)

* Putin talks tough on gas-for-rubles deadline. But flows continue to Europe (CNBC)
* Russian foreign minister's high profile visit puts India under pressure (CNBC)
China says U.S. instigated war in Ukraine, Soviet break-up should've been end to NATO (AP)
* Oil seesaws as IEA considers emergency oil reserves release along side U.S. (Reuters)

President Joe Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act to encourage domestic production of minerals required to make batteries for electric vehicles and long-term energy storage. The president's order could help companies receive government funding for feasibility studies on projects that extract material. (CNBC)

Facebook parent Meta (FB) has lost some of its top artificial intelligence scientists this year as the company continues its pivot toward the metaverse. At least four prominent members of Meta AI have departed in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter and LinkedIn analysis. (CNBC)

* Chinese EV players Xpeng, Nio and Li Auto see car deliveries surge in March (CNBC)
* Federal authorities probe trading around Activision, ensnaring Barry Diller and David Geffen (WSJ)

Union supporters at Amazon's (AMZN) warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, on Thursday appeared headed toward defeat for a second time. However, with hundreds of contested ballots at play, the election results are still too close to call. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

J.P. Morgan Securities removed Apple (AAPL) from its "Analyst Focus List," saying a moderation in consumer spending may limit benefits from the iPhone SE launch and the potential for upside in services revenue. However, the firm retained an overweight rating on the stock.

BlackBerry (BB) earned an unexpected profit for its latest quarter, but the communications software company's revenue fell below analyst forecasts. The revenue miss came as growth in its cybersecurity unit flattened. Shares slid 4.4% in premarket trading.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) added 1.6% in the premarket after Citi upgraded it to buy from neutral. Citi cites increasing clarity over regulations and licenses in Macau as well as an attractive valuation.

Hycroft Mining (HYMC), the small-cap mining company best known for an investment from movie theater chain AMC Entertainment (AMC), added 3% in the premarket after reporting a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss. AMC shares rallied 4.6%.

Poshmark (POSH) slid 2.2% in premarket trading after Stifel cut its rating to hold from buy. Stifel said the online clothing marketplace faces numerous growth challenges despite healthy profit potential and a highly engaged user base.

WATERCOOLER

Oscars producer Will Packer said Los Angeles police were ready to arrest Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock on the Academy Awards stage. But in a clip released by ABC News Thursday night of an interview he gave to "Good Morning America, "Packer said Rock was "very dismissive" of the idea.