Here are the top news, trends, and analysis that investors need to get their trading day started:
1. Stocks rise after Dow, S&P 500 had its best month since November
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
US stock futures started higher in April after the S&P 500 closed its best month since November, up 4.2%. The index hit an all-time high during the day on Wednesday, but failed to close at a record high.
The Dow, which closed at record levels on Monday, posted its second modest decline in a row on Wednesday. But the 30-stock average, like the S&P 500, had its best month since November, gaining 6.6% in March. For the quarter, the blue chip Dow and S&P 500 rose 7.8% and 5.8%, respectively, for the fourth positive quarter in a row.
The Nasdaq broke a two-session loss, gaining 1.5% on Wednesday. Tech-heavy Nasdaq has been the relative underperformance lately as technology stocks are particularly sensitive to rising market rates as they depend on cheap borrowing to invest in future growth. In March the index gained only 0.4%. For the quarter it was up 2.8%.
2. The yield on 10-year government bonds is around 1.72% ahead of the data on unemployment claims
A woman walks into a store in New York City on February 22, 2021.
John Smith | Corbis News | Getty Images
The 10-year government bond yield, which serves as the benchmark for many corporate and consumer lending rates, hit another new 14-month high of over 1.77% on Tuesday. Two days later, it was lower but held around 1.72% before the government released data on weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (CET). Economists expect 675,000 new claims for unemployment benefits last week. That would be 9,000 fewer than the previous week, when initial applications fell to their lowest level in more than a year. The Ministry of Labor will publish its monthly employment report on Friday despite the stock exchange closing on Good Friday.
3. Pfizer Covid Vaccine 91% Effective in Updated Study Data
A person walks past the Pfizer building in New York City on March 2, 2021.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
Pfizer and BioNTech announced Thursday that their two-shot Covid vaccine is 91% effective. They cited updated study data, which included people who were vaccinated for up to six months. The vaccine was also 100% effective among study participants in South Africa, where a new variant dominates. However, the number of these South African participants was relatively small at 800. While the new overall effectiveness rate is lower than the 95% originally reported in November, a number of variants have since become more common around the world. Pfizer and BioNTech shares rose in the pre-market.
4th AP: Company at the center of J & J’s Covid vaccination problems has a number of quotes
Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport hotel in Chicago, Illinois on March 5, 2021.
Kamil Krzaczynski | AFP | Getty Images
Shares in Emergent BioSolutions, the company at the center of the troubles that caused Johnson & Johnson to ditch an unknown amount of its Covid vaccine, fell 7% in the pre-market on Thursday. According to records obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, Emergent has received a number of citations from U.S. health officials about quality control issues. The records cover inspections at emergent facilities since 2017. Although it is unclear how many doses were ruined, J&J said in a statement Wednesday that it still plans to ship 100 million doses of its one-shot vaccine by the end of June. J & J’s shares fell in premarket trading.
5. Biden will hold the first cabinet meeting after the infrastructure plan is announced
President Joe Biden is expected to hold his first cabinet meeting on Thursday. The time comes a week after Biden’s full cabinet was confirmed and a day after the president released his long-awaited infrastructure package that would spend approximately $ 2 trillion over eight years. A rise in the tax rate for US corporations to 28% would fund the sweeping plan. Biden said he would reveal the second part of his recovery package “in a couple of weeks”. Wednesday’s announcements kicked off Biden’s second major initiative following the adoption and signing of a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan earlier this month.
– Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Get the latest information on the pandemic on CNBC’s coronavirus blog.