Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
Stock futures rise after S&P 500 closes on brink of a bear marketChina cuts a key rate to try to boost its Covid-hampered economyRoss Stores becomes the latest retailer crushed by inflationCDC recommends a booster of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for kids 5-11Musk denies ‘wild accusations’ in an apparent reference to a harassment report
1. Stock futures rise after S&P 500 closes on brink of a bear market
U.S. stock futures bounced Friday, one day after continued selling on Wall Street that saw the S&P 500 close on the doorstep of the joining the Nasdaq in a bear market. Those two stock benchmarks were headed for their seventh straight weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which also closed lower Thursday, was poised for its eighth down week in a row. The Dow was locked in a steep correction, as defined by a drop of 10% or more from a prior high. A bear market is signified by a decline of 20% or more from a prior high.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, fell Friday as stocks rebounded in the premarket. The 10-year Treasury yield was trading around 2.9%. That’s just under the key 3% level that’s been breached on and off for weeks as traders push yields higher on the belief that the Federal Reserve will have to hike interest rates more aggressively to get inflation under control.
2. China cuts a key rate to try to boost its Covid-hampered economy
China is going the other way with borrowing costs, cutting its benchmark reference rate for mortgages by an unexpectedly wide margin Friday. That’s the second reduction this year in this key rate as Beijing seeks to revive the country’s ailing housing sector to prop up the world’s second-largest economy. Senior Chinese officials have pledged further measures to fight a slowdown in economic growth due to lockdowns and other restrictive measures under that country’s zero Covid policy. Many private sector economists expect China’s economy to shrink this quarter from a year earlier, compared with first quarter’s 4.8% growth.
3. Ross Stores becomes the latest retailer crushed by inflation
Back in the U.S., Ross Stores became the latest retail stock slammed after signaling that inflation was a problem. Shares of the off-price retailer sank 26% in the premarket, following quarterly misses on profit and revenue. In its first-quarter earnings release, out after the closing bell Thursday, Ross Stores also issued downbeat guidance. The company said Russia’s war in Ukraine has “exacerbated inflationary pressures,” adding that it faced tough year-over-year comparisons in the first half of 2022 due to expiring government Covid stimulus and pent-up demand normalizing.
4. CDC recommends a booster of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for kids 5-11
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a Pfizer Covid booster shot for kids 5 to 11 at least five months after their primary vaccination series. The CDC’s move Thursday comes as Covid infections are on the rise across the country and immunity from the first two doses wanes. The agency is rolling out boosters for 5- to 11-year-olds even though most children in that age group haven’t received their first two doses yet. Only 29% of that cohort is fully vaccinated. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement Thursday, sought to reassure parents that the shots are safe and encouraged them to get their kids vaccinated.
5. Musk denies ‘wild accusations’ in an apparent reference to a harassment report
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet late Thursday that “wild accusations” against him are not true. He did not explain what those accusations were. But his response came after a Business Insider report on Thursday said the aerospace company had paid $250,000 in severance to a flight attendant who accused the billionaire of sexual misconduct. The report, which cited interviews and documents obtained by Insider, said the woman claimed that during a massage she was giving Musk he exposed his erect penis, touched her thigh without her consent and offered to buy her a horse if she performed sex acts. CNBC could not independently verify those allegations.