Here are the top news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Stocks relatively flat after another record high in the S&P 500
People are seen on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, March 19, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
US stock futures were mixed on Friday, a day after modest gains pushed the S&P 500 to another closing record and the Dow Jones Industrial Average within 24 points of Monday’s record. The Nasdaq was the real winner on Thursday, posting a 1% increase on strength in tech names. The Nasdaq was less than 2% from its February record. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell backed equities, calling the US economic recovery from the Covid pandemic “uneven” on Thursday, saying that temporarily higher prices will not lead to worrying inflation. Those comments reassured investors that the highly accommodative Covid-era monetary policy is not going to change anytime soon.
2. Government bond yields are rising faster than producer price data
The 10-year government bond yield ticked higher on Friday, but remained below 1.7% and the March run at its 14-month high. The bond market has been at odds with the Fed this year as traders drive up interest rates in the belief that stronger economic growth and inflation will force central bankers to raise short-term interest rates near zero and end massive asset purchases earlier than forecast build. The Department of Labor would release its latest monthly summary of producer price inflation at 8:30 a.m. ET. But the report has been delayed due to a website outage at the agency. Economists expect the March producer price index to show an increase of 0.4%, with the core rate ex-food and energy rising 0.2%.
3. Covid cases in the US are on the rise, even as vaccinations increase
A member of the Maryland National Guard is handing out Post-It numbered notes to people who arrive without an appointment at the massive coronavirus vaccination site at Hagerstown Premium Outlets on April 7, 2021 in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
The number of coronavirus cases in the US is on the rise as infections skyrocket in many parts of the world. Even with the US vaccinating about 3 million people a day and nearly 20% of the US population fully vaccinated, there were still new daily Covid cases and deaths, averaging over 66,000 and nearly 1,000. In a rapidly deteriorating situation in Brazil, that country became only third this week, after the US and Peru, to report a 24-hour count of more than 4,000 Covid deaths. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, emergency services are under the most pressure since the start of the pandemic.
Florida is suing CDC to allow cruises to resume US sailings
The Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas cruise ship is docked in PortMiami on March 2, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state will file a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding that cruise ships immediately resume US sailings. Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean, said he would like the cruise industry to be “treated in the same way as the airlines” that are allowed to fly. However, Fain said he is optimistic about the possible resumption of US sailings in the second half of this year, citing President Joe Biden’s goal of bringing society back to normal by July 4.
5. Amazon lead expands in union vote at Alabama warehouse
A union representative from the RWDSU holds a sign outside the Amazon fulfillment warehouse in the middle of a union action on March 29, 2021 in Bessemer, Alabama.
Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images
With about half the ballots counted, Amazon had a leading edge in the historic vote of the American workers on whether or not to unite in one of the Alabama e-commerce giant’s warehouses. Counting will resume on Friday. There have been hundreds of disputed ballots, most of which have been challenged by Amazon. About 55% of eligible employees at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse voted. Major unions have been quietly talking to Amazon employees about organizing for years. They have faced major challenges in the US where none of the company’s warehouses are organized. Unions are common among Amazon’s workforce in Europe.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all market actions like a pro CNBC ProGet the latest news about the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus blog