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What to Watch Today: Stock Futures Lower After Wall Street's Strong Start to the Week

Brendan McDermid | Reuters


U.S. stock futures were slightly lower Thursday morning, one day after a whipsaw session on Wall Street as traders digested the Federal Reserve's moves. Dow futures implied an opening decline Thursday of around 115 points. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also were in the red. (CNBC)

* Treasury yields ebb as investors digest Fed rate hike (CNBC)

After Wednesday's strong rally, the major U.S. stock indexes are on pace for their best weekly performance of the year. The Dow is riding a three-day win streak for the first time since early February. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have posted back-to-back positive days for the first time this month.

Oil prices jumped Thursday, bucking a recent downward trend, in light of renewed supply concerns related to the Russia-Ukraine war. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose around 4.5% to trade above $99 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude advanced roughly 4.85% to nearly $103 per barrel. (Reuters)

Initial jobless claims fell to 214,000 for the week ended March 12, lower than the Dow Jones estimate of 220,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It's an indication the U.S. labor market is growing even tighter than it has been. (CNBC)

February housing starts also were better than expected, rising 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.77 million units, according to the Census Bureau. Consensus forecasts had called for a 3.8% rise to an annual rate of 1.7 million units. The March Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index jumped to 27.4, well above estimates of 15.

At 9:15 a.m. ET, February industrial production figures are expected to show a 0.5% rise for the month following a 1.4% increase in January.

Accenture (ACN), Dollar General (DG), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Designer Brands (DBI) and Warby Parker (WRBY) are out with quarterly reports this morning, while FedEx (FDX) and GameStop (GME) will report after Thursday's closing bell.

* Warby Parker shares sink as eyewear retailer reports continued losses, offers weak outlook (CNBC)


The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point Wednesday, its first hike since December 2018, as the U.S. central bank looks to tamp down historically high inflation. The Fed's policymaking arm indicated it sees additional rate increases at its six remaining meetings in 2022. That suggests a consensus funds rate by year-end of 1.9%. (CNBC)

* Fed has aggressive rate-hiking plan, but it could burn the economy as it fights inflation (CNBC)

U.S. President Joe Biden labeled his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putina "war criminal" for Moscow's assault on Ukraine. It was the first time Biden has publicly referred to the Russian president by that term, and the Kremlin took issue. It said Biden's rhetoric was "unacceptable and unforgivable," according to Russian news agency Tass. (CNBC)

The Russia-Ukraine war has entered its fourth week. On Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the two sides were not close to reaching an agreement to end the fighting. There had been some more positive commentary surrounding peace talks in recent days. "Work continues — when there is progress, we will inform," Peskov said, according to an NBC News translation.

* U.S. has a clear warning for China: Don't come to Russia's aid. Will Beijing heed it? (NBC News)

The Russian Ministry of Finance on Thursday claimed it had made a roughly $117 million interest payment on two dollar-denominated eurobonds, as Moscow seeks to avoid its first foreign currency debt default in more than a century. (CNBC)

Target (TGT) is taking another step toward improving its emissions output, installing carport canopies equipped with solar panels in a parking lot at one of its stores in Vista, California. The energy they produce then powers the store. The Minnesota-based retail chain says that location has become its first net-zero energy store and could serve as a model for other locations across the U.S. In recent years, some corporations have been trying to be more sustainable. (CNBC)

* Google-backed start-up launches free carbon emissions tracker (CNBC)

Chinese electric vehicle maker XPeng (XPEV) has led an investment into a $200 million fund that will back "frontier technology" start-ups and EVs. Other high-profile VC funds also are taking part, including Sequoia China and GGV Capital. The announcement comes at a time of regulatory turbulence for Chinese technology companies. (CNBC)

* Russia's invasion of Ukraine will lower car production by millions of units over two years, S&P says (CNBC)


Lennar (LEN) reported quarterly earnings of $1.69 per share for its fiscal first quarter, missing the $2.60 consensus estimate.  Revenue did beat analyst forecasts on strong demand and higher prices, but the bottom line was hit by higher costs for materials and labor.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) earned an adjusted $5.42 per share for its latest quarter, beating the $4.82 expected by Wall Street analysts, even as the housewares retailer's revenue fell slightly short of estimates.  The company said it was able to successfully navigate supply chain challenges and material and labor shortages.

PagerDuty (PD) lost an adjusted 4 cents per share for its latest quarter, 2 cents smaller than analysts were anticipating, with the digital operations platform provider's revenue also exceeding Street forecasts.  PagerDuty also issued an upbeat revenue forecast.

Nordstrom (JWN) will resume paying quarterly dividends, two years after they were halted by the department store operator.  The resumed dividend will be 19 cents per share, payable on April 13 to shareholders of record as of March 28.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKb) added to its stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY), with an SEC filing indicating the purchase of 18.1 million more shares. That brings Berkshire's holdings in the energy producer to 136.4 million shares, or about 14.6%.

Box (BOX) is forecasting annual revenue growth of as much as 17% by 2025.  The content management software provider had provided upbeat revenue guidance for the current year earlier this month.

Guess (GES) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.14 per share, one cent below estimates, while the apparel maker's revenue also fell short of Street forecasts. However, profit margins were much better than anticipated, and the stock gained in premarket trading.

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