Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 24:
1. — Stock Futures Move Higher As Biden Meets NATO Leaders In Brussels
U.S. equity futures moved higher Thursday, while oil prices steadied and Treasury bond yields ticked modestly lower, as President Joe Biden prepares to meet with NATO and EU leaders in Brussels as part of an international effort to end Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Firmly into its first month, the so-called ‘special operation’ launched by Vladimir Putin has displaced nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million citizens and caused the death of more than 1,000 civilians, according to United Nations observers, but has yet to claim Russian control of a single Ukrainian city.
Biden’s Brussels summit, which will include meetings with EU, G7 and NATO leaders, is expected to produce both a fresh round of U.S. sanctions on Russian lawmakers, the first tranche of financial and military support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a likely coordinated response from EU leaders to ween the region from its dependence of Russian energy exports.
Oil prices are extending gains in response, as well as in reaction to yesterday’s Energy Department data release showing a deeper-than-expected decline in domestic crude stocks, with WTI crude futures for May delivery rising 73 cents on the session to $115.66 per barrel.
Another round of hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Presidents, including the San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly, has consolidated bets on a 50 basis point rate hike at the central bank’s May policy meeting, with the CME Group’s FedWatch tool pricing in a 70.5% probability, up from just 32.9% two weeks ago.
Still, benchmark 10-year note yields were marked little-changed from last night’s close at 2.37% ahead of jobless claims and February durable goods data at 8:30 am Eastern time, while the U.S. dollar index was marked 0.2% higher against a basket of its global peers at 98.824.
On Wall Street, futures futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 130 point opening bell gain while those linked to the S&P 500, which is down 6.5% for the year, are priced for a 22 point move to the upside. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite is called 90 points higher
2. — Russia Stocks Gain Trading As Moscow Exchange Resumes Trading
The Moscow Stock Exchange resumed trading on a limited number of stocks Thursday following a month-long closure following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The benchmark MOEX index was last seen 6.5% higher on the session at 2,630.81 points, after rising as much as 12% in early trading, as investors bet that an $11 billion injection from Russia’s National Wealth Fund would support prices for the 33 of 50 stocks allowed to trade in the opening session.
Strict limits on trading, including a ban on short-selling and a prohibition on foreign investors exiting positions in Russian stocks, were also put in place to ensure a confidence-inspiring session on the country’s most-visible exchange.
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3. — China Investigators Probe Cockpit Recorder in Eastern Airlines Crash
Investigations in China continued their search for a second ‘black box’ from the China Eastern Airlines 737-800 that crashed in the southern region of the country earlier this week, killing all 132 passengers and crew.
Yesterday’s discovery of the cockpit recorder will provide some clues as to the cause of the flight Flight MU 5735 disaster, which occurred around an hour after takeoff from the city of Guangzhou. China’s Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) took possession of the recorder in Beijing Thursday, and have invited investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to travel to China to assist the probe.
Boeing (BA) – Get Boeing Company Report, which manufactures the 737-800 aircraft and hopes to have its workhorse 737 MAX cleared for commercial use in China over the coming weeks, has said it will assist the CAAC-lead investigation.
Boeing shares were marked 0.5% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $187.05 each.
4. — Hertz Global Adds Tesla Model Y To Rental Fleet
Hertz Global (HTZ) – Get Hertz Global Holdings Inc Report shares edged higher in pre-market trading after the car rental group said it had added Tesla-made (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report Model Y sedans to its fleet this week,
Hertz added the Model Y SUV to its existing offering of the Model 3 sedan following an announcement last year that it would purchase around 100,000 Tesla-made cars for around $4.4 billion as it ramped-up its business operations following an exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Tesla, however, noted at the time that it hadn’t cut a deal with Hertz, and only agreed to see the Estero, Florida-based group cars under the same terms as ordinary customers. Still, news of the purchase lifted Tesla shares past the $1 trillion mark for the first time ever on October 25.
Hertz Global shares were marked 0.5% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $22.56 each. Tesla shares, which are on a seven-day winning streak, were marked 1.1% higher at $1,010.00 each.
5. — Nikola Shares Leap After Tre BEV Truck Production Update
Nikola Corp. (NKLA) – Get Nikola Corporation Report shares powered higher in pre-market trading after the electric truckmaker said production of its flagship Tre BEV vehicles kicked-off earlier this week in Arizona.
Nikola, which has said it expects to deliver up to 500 of its Tre BEV trucks by the end of the year, said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Wednesday that north American production began on March 21, and expects to begin making trucks for the European market from its German manufacturing base in June of next year.
Nikola will hold an Investor Day presentation beginning at 4:05 PM Pacific Time from its Phoenix, Arizona-based headquarters.
Nikola shares were marked 9.85% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $10.01 each.