Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Futures jump on hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks
- Russia widens military Ukraine offensive, troops approach Kyiv
- U.S., allies may revoke Russia's most favored trading status
- Friday marks 2 years since Covid was declared a pandemic
- Ford, PG&E partner on electric F-150 powering homes, grid
1. Futures jump on hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks
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Dow futures rose on Friday roughly 200 points or around 0.6%. S&P and Nasdaq futures jumped roughly 0.8% and 1%, respectively, on hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks. Shortly before 6:30 a.m. ET, Reuters sent a brief bulletin quoting Russian President Vladimir Putin saying there are "certain positive developments" in the talks. However, those futures' gains faded some from earlier. The 10-year Treasury yield was holding around 2%. U.S. oil prices were steady to around $106 per barrel.
- As of Thursday's lower close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all heading for another losing week. All three stock benchmarks were in correction territory. West Texas Intermediate crude, the American oil benchmark, was tracking to snap a two-week winning streak.
2. Russia widens military Ukraine offensive, troops approach Kyiv
As investors try to gauge the veracity of Putin's reported comments, Russia widened its military offensive in Ukraine on Friday, striking near airports in the west of the country for the first time. New satellite images appear to show that a large Russian convoy approaching Kyiv has been redeployed to towns and forests outside the city, potentially signaling a renewed push to bear down on the Ukrainian capital. There's also mounting outrage after a deadly airstrike hit a maternity hospital in the key Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
3. U.S., allies may revoke Russia's most favored trading status
With the invasion now in its third week, the U.S. and its allies prepared to step up their efforts to isolate and sanction Russia. According to media reports, President Joe Biden on Friday, along with the European Union and the G-7, will move to revoke Russia's most favored trading status. Stripping Russia of its favored nation status paves the way for the United States and its allies to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods. Biden on Tuesday imposed a ban on Russian energy imports.
4. Friday marks 2 years since Covid was declared a pandemic
Friday marks two years since Covid was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since the novel coronavirus was found in China in 2019, there have been more than 450 million global infections and over 6 million deaths, with more than 15% of each in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. Though the raging wave of omicron cases has subsided and more than 250 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, according to the CDC, health officials are warning Americans not to get complacent.
5. Ford, PG&E partner on electric F-150 powering homes, grid
Ford will collaborate with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in California to evaluate the bidirectional charging capabilities of the electric F-150 Lightning to power homes and return energy to the power grid. Ford CEO Jim Farley and PG&E CEO Patti Poppe announced the plans Thursday night at the CERAWeek energy conference in Texas.
- The announcement comes two days after Poppe announced a pilot program with General Motors to make its electric vehicles capable of powering a home in the event of a power outage or grid failure.