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5 things to know before the stock market opens March 1, 2021


Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Stocks to start new month higher after late-February selloff

The Wall Street sign is seen outside The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, February 16, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures start the new month moving sharply higher Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indicated to rise more than 1% each, trying to put a dent in the late February decline. While rapidly rising bond yields pressured stocks last week, the 10-year Treasury yield dropped Monday from a one-year high, trading around 1.43%. The Dow lost 1.8% and the S&P 500 fell nearly 2.5% for the week. The Nasdaq took the brunt of the tech selloff, with a weekly loss of 4.9%. February’s strong start, however, was enough to carry the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher by nearly 3.2%, 2.6% and almost 1%, respectively, for the month.

2. U.S. gets third vaccine to fight against Covid

A healthcare worker fills a syringe from a vial with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign at the Klerksdorp Hospital on February 18, 2021.

Phill Magakoe | AFP | Getty Images

The CDC signed off Sunday on Johnson & Johnson‘s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine for people 18 years and older as the federal government prepares to ship out millions of doses this week. The FDA gave J&J’s vaccine, which demonstrated 72% efficacy in the U.S., emergency use authorization Saturday. While the other two vaccines cleared in the U.S. — two-shot regimes from Pfizer and Moderna — each showed over 90% efficacy, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday all three are “really quite good.” He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Americans should take whatever vaccine they can get.

3. $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill goes to Senate

Service industry workers speak in support of the introduction of the Raise the Wage Act, which includes a $15 minimum wage for tipped workers, on Jan. 26, 2021 in Washington.

Jemal Countess | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

The House early Saturday approved a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill championed by President Joe Biden. It included $1,400 direct payments to individuals, a $400-per-week federal unemployment boost through late August, and billions of dollars to distribute coronavirus vaccines and to assist schools and local governments. The measure goes to the Senate, where a provision to raise the federal minimum wage will likely be stripped out. But as NBC News points out the rest of the package appeared to be good shape as Democrats aim to use a process that doesn’t require Republican support.

4. ‘Never bet against America,’ Buffett says in annual letter

Warren Buffett during an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick on February 24, 2020. It turned out to be another year during which the billionaire investor shied away from game-changing acquisitions in a pricey market even after a sudden market cash and as his company holds a massive cash balance.

Gerald Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett, the 90-year-old “Oracle of Omaha,” remains a firm believer in the U.S., saying in Saturday’s release of his closely watched Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder letter to “never bet against America.” On the markets, Buffett said ultra-low interest rates around the world diminished the appeal of bonds. Buffett also said Berkshire’s May 1 annual meeting will be held in Los Angeles, the first time outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who lives in Los Angeles, missed 2020′s meeting due to pandemic travel restrictions. Munger, 97, is expected to join Buffett this year.

5. Buffett bets on Berkshire, Apple remains top holding

As Covid-fallout roiled markets during 2020, Buffett said in his letter that Berkshire bought back around $9 billion shares in the fourth quarter, bringing last year’s total repurchases to a record $24.7 billion. Apple still ranks as the conglomerate’s biggest common stock investment, which played an important role offsetting the pandemic damage to Berkshire’s railroad and insurance business in 2020. The letter contained no update on succession or details on what Buffett may do with Berkshire’s more than $138 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2020.

— Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro’s live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.



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