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Crypto, Palo Alto, Deere, Kansas City Southern - 5 Things You Must Know

Stock futures rise amid signs of economic recovery; Deere reports earnings; Bitcoin trades above $40,000; Palo Alto jumps after boosting fiscal-year forecast.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, May 21:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise Amid Signs of Recovery

Stock futures rose Friday as signs of recovery for the U.S. economy buoyed optimism and overshadowed lingering fears of higher inflation. 

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 155 points, S&P 500 futures rose 17 points and Nasdaq futures gained 54 points.

Stocks finished higher Thursday, snapping a three-day string of losses, after data showed the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to a pandemic low of 444,000. The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.77%.

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Discussions on Wall Street continue to revolve around the potential for rising price pressures as the economy rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic. That, in turn, has investors concerned that higher prices for everything from food to gasoline to building products will force the Federal Reserve to rein in its economic support.

Treasury yields fell early Friday, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note trading at 1.627%.

Bitcoin steadied at just under $40,000.

The U.S. Treasury, meanwhile, proposed a minimum global corporate tax rate of 15%, lower than earlier proposals of 21% that received pushback from other countries. 

2. -- Friday's Calendar: Deere Earnings, Existing Home Sales

Deere  (DE) - Get Deere & Company Report posted fiscal second-quarter earnings of $5.68 a share vs. analysts' expectations of $4.51.

Foot Locker's  (FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.96 a share smashed estimates of $1.12.

The U.S. economic calendar Friday includes the PMI Composite Flash for May at 9:45 a.m. ET and Existing Home Sales for April at 10 a.m.

3. -- Bitcoin Steadies After Volatile Week 

Bitcoin traded above $40,800 on Friday, following a week that has seen big swings in the price of the world's largest cryptocurrency.

It has fallen about 18% over the past seven days, according to CoinGecko. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, has fallen an even greater 26% over the past week.

Bitcoin has been so volatile this week that on Wednesday it dropped as much as 31% only to regain those losses later in the day.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report CEO Elon Musk has played a large part in Bitcoin's wild ride this week.

Prices rebounded late Wednesday after Musk indicated his electric vehicle company could hold its billion-dollar position in Bitcoin. That came after prices plunged below $30,000 following Musk's criticism of Bitcoin's energy use, coupled with a suggestion Tesla could sell its $1.5 billion in holdings acquired earlier this year.

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A renewed crackdown on virtual currencies markets in China also pressured Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies remain sharply higher for the year despite the week's erratic action. Bitcoin has jumped more than 300% over the past year, while Ethereum has soared 1,200%, according to Bloomberg.

4. -- Palo Alto Rises as Work-From-Home Is 'Here to Stay'

Shares of Palo Alto Networks  (PANW) - Get Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Report jumped more than 5% in premarket trading Friday after the cybersecurity company boosted its earnings and revenue forecast for the full year.

Palo Alto said it expects fiscal-year adjusted earnings of $5.97 to $5.99 a share on revenue of $4.2 billion to $4.21 billion.

"The work-from-home shift earlier in the year and recent cybersecurity issues have increased the focus on security," said Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO, in a statement. 

"We are pleased to be raising our guidance for fiscal year 2021 as we see these trends continuing into our fiscal fourth quarter, bolstering our confidence in our pipeline," the CEO added.

Jim Cramer checked in with Arora on his "Mad Money" program Thursday evening.

Arora told Cramer that the work-from-home trend was "here to stay" and Palo Alto was seeing a big uplift in their remote security products. 

Customers now expect the same level of security they have in the office no matter where they are, the Palo Alto CEO told Cramer.

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5. -- Kansas City Southern Reportedly to Favor Canadian National Railway Bid

Kansas City Southern  (KSU) - Get Kansas City Southern (KSU) Report is expected to terminate its merger agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway  (CP) - Get Canadian Pacific Railway Limited Report in favor of a competing proposal from Canadian National Railway  (CNI) - Get Canadian National Railway Company Report, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The expected move follows a decision Thursday by Canadian Pacific to stick to terms of its deal already reached with Kansas City Southern after the U.S. railroad operator indicated it would favor a higher bid by Canadian National. 

The decision could be unveiled by Friday, according to the Journal.

Based on Thursday's closing prices, Canadian National's bid was worth roughly
$320 a share, while Canadian Pacific's was at around $287.

Kansas City Southern shares closed Thursday at $293.67.