Business

5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens Thursday

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Wall Street looks steady, a day after swinging to rally mode

U.S. stock futures rose modestly Thursday, with a second round of cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine set in neighboring Belarus. However, fighting continued on multiple fronts in Ukraine as Russian troops hold outside the capital city of Kyiv. Bond yields dipped after Wednesday's big jump, while oil prices show no signs of cooling off Thursday.

2. Oil hits nearly 14-year highs; bond yields remain elevated

West Texas Intermediate crude, the American oil benchmark, rose again Thursday, hitting highs back to September 2008, above $116 per barrel before backing off those levels. Trade disruptions from sanctions on Russia were raising energy supply concerns. The world's three largest container shipping lines have all temporarily suspended nonessential bookings to and from Russia, joining a fast-growing list of companies to shun Moscow.

The 10-year Treasury yield traded around 1.86% on Thursday, a day after its biggest one-session jump since March 2020 — the month the Covid pandemic started — as investors sold bonds and flocked to stocks and other risker assets. The volatility on Russia-Ukraine uncertainty sent bond prices higher Tuesday, which inversely sent the 10-year yield below 1.7%.

3. Day 2 for Fed's Powell on Capitol Hill after more jobs data

Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell testifies before a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2022.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell testifies before a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2022.

The Federal Reserve's meeting later this month, when interest rate hikes are expected to begin, will need to weigh the accompanying increase in inflation that comes with spiking oil prices against the threat of damage to the economy from fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is back on Capitol Hill on Thursday to deliver his semiannual economic assessment to a Senate panel. He told a House committee Wednesday to expect rate increases ahead but noted the implications for the U.S. economy from the Ukraine war are "highly uncertain."

  • The Labor Department on Thursday morning reported fewer-than-expected initial jobless claims of 215,000 for the week ended Feb. 26. The data came a day before the government's monthly employment report and a day after ADP's stronger-than-expected data on hiring at U.S. companies in February.

4. UN says over 1 million fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion

People wait to depart to Lviv by train on the 7th day since start of large-scale Russian attacks in the country, in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 02, 2022.
Andrea Carrubba | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
People wait to depart to Lviv by train on the 7th day since start of large-scale Russian attacks in the country, in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 02, 2022.

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered its second week, the United Nations said Thursday that more than 1 million people have fled Ukraine, in the swiftest refugee exodus this century. Russia has said Kyiv's residents will be allowed to evacuate the city in the direction of Vasylkiv, to the southwest of the city.

With a column of tanks and other vehicles apparently stalled for days outside Kyiv, explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital city overnight. One video on social media showed a huge fireball rising into the sky. The targets of the explosion are not yet known. NBC News was working to verify the social media posts.

5. After earnings, Best Buy jumps 9%, Snowflake tanks nearly 20%

Shoppers exit a Best Buy store during Black Friday sales in Brooklyn, New York, November 26, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Shoppers exit a Best Buy store during Black Friday sales in Brooklyn, New York, November 26, 2021.

Best Buy on Thursday reported fourth-quarter revenue that fell short of expectations and per-share earnings that matched estimates. However, the stock gained 9% in the premarket, even as the consumer electronics retailer also delivered a weaker-than-expected outlook for fiscal 2022. Best Buy is lapping challenging year-over-year comparisons when the pandemic and stimulus checks fueled sales.

Inside Snowflake's San Mateo headquarters on April 30, 2021.
Katie Schoolov
Inside Snowflake's San Mateo headquarters on April 30, 2021.

Shares of Snowflake sank roughly 20% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after the cloud software company forecast slowing product revenue growth, which makes up most of total sales. Snowflake's better-than-expected revenue grew 101% year over year in its fiscal fourth quarter. But that's the slowest sales growth since at least 2019. On Wednesday, Snowflake said it agreed to buy data start-up Streamlit for $800 million.

— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Sign up now for the CNBC Investing Club to follow Jim Cramer's every stock move. Follow the broader market action like a pro on CNBC Pro.

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