Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq set to add to record highs
- Bitcoin hits a new high over $50,000
- Deep freeze in Texas causes massive energy crunch
- Congress to establish a Capitol riot commission
- Biden to make first official domestic trips
1. Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq set to add to record highs
U.S. stock futures rose Tuesday, adding to Friday’s record closes for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The U.S. stock market was closed Monday for Presidents Day. All three stock benchmarks finished higher last week, in a continuation of February’s strength. For the year, as of Friday’s close, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up nearly 2.8%, 4.8% and 9.4%, respectively.
The 30-year Treasury yield held above 2% early Tuesday as investors watched for progress on President Joe Biden‘s proposed $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus package on Capitol Hill and the push for wider distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the U.S. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to more than 1.26%.
CVS Health reported quarterly earnings of $1.30 per share, 6 cents above estimates. Revenue also topped Wall Street forecasts, helped in part by Covid-19 testing and vaccinations at its pharmacies.
2. Bitcoin hits a new high over $50,000
Bitcoin reached a new record high Tuesday, going over $50,000 per unit for the first time ever, before paring some of those gains. Major firms announced support for digital currencies last week, starting with Tesla revealing it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin. Mastercard said Thursday it would support certain cryptocurrencies later this year, while BNY Mellon announced the following day it will open up its custody services to digital assets. Bitcoin more than quadrupled in 2020 and it’s up over 60% this year.
3. Deep freeze in Texas causes massive energy crunch
More than 3.8 million households in Texas were in the dark Tuesday morning, as record low temperatures boosted demand for power for heat that pushed the state’s electric grid to its limits. Rolling blackouts, typically seen on 100-degree summer days, were imposed in Texas.
- The scarcity of power was so great that spot prices of wholesale electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000% on Monday.
- Natural gas futures jumped more than 6% on Tuesday morning. However, RBC analysts said, “Certain regional natural gas spot prices have shot up 10- to 100-fold in a matter of days.”
- U.S. oil prices also climbed to a pandemic-high above $60 per barrel as drilling and refineries closed down due to the cold.
The frigid weather was part of a massive winter blast that brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the southern Plains, across parts of the Ohio Valley and the Northeast.
4. Congress to establish a Capitol riot commission
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, 9/11-style commission to look into last month’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Investigations into the riot were already planned, with Senate hearings scheduled for later this month in the Rules Committee.
House impeachment mangers who argued for Donald Trump‘s conviction of inciting the attack said Sunday they proved their case. Democrats also railed against Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans, saying they were “trying to have it both ways” in finding the former president not guilty while acknowledging he incited the riot.
5. Biden to make first official domestic trips
Trying to move beyond Trump’s acquittal in last week’s impeachment trial, Biden plans to keep up a busy schedule focused on the coronavirus in the coming week. Biden is set to make his first official domestic trips of his presidency, starting with a CNN town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday to talk to Americans impacted by the pandemic. Biden on Thursday visits a Pfizer Covid vaccine facility in Michigan as the drugmaker’s two-shot regime and Moderna’s start making more inroads into pharmacies around the nation.