Here are five things you must know for Friday, March 19:
1. -- Stock Futures Fluctuate After Tech-Led Slump
Stock futures were mixed Friday, a day after the Nasdaq slumped more than 3% as inflation worries sent Treasury yields soaring to their highest levels in 14 months.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15 points, S&P 500 futures were up 3 points and futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 45 points.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.689% early Friday after a spike drove it to 1.75% for the first time since January 2020.
Oil prices edged higher following a plunge of about 8% on concerns new restrictions in Europe would hamper demand.
Stocks in China declined Friday as high-level talks between the U.S. and China, the first since President Joe Biden took office, got off to a rocky start.
The Federal Reserve's continued support for the U.S. economy has increased expectations for higher inflation this year. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, however, said the central bank believes an inflation bump would be temporary given the COVID disruption to the labor market.
The selloff in stocks and the rapid rise in bond yields “caught some investors wrong-footed” after the Fed pledged to keep interest rates near zero through 2023, said Stephen Innes, chief global strategist at Axi.
The Dow dropped 0.46% on Thursday, the S&P 500 declined 1.48% and the Nasdaq slumped 3.02% as tech stocks were hit particularly hard. Apple (AAPL) , for instance, declined 3.39% on Thursday. The stocks was rebounding with a gain just under 1% in premarket trading Friday.
2. -- Amazon Wins Rights to Thursday Night NFL Games
Amazon.com (AMZN) won the right to carry Thursday night National Football League games, a first for a streaming company.
The league described the deal, which begins in 2023 and runs for 10 years, as its “first-ever all-digital package.”
Amazon.com's Prime Video acquired exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” across hundreds of compatible digital devices. The tech giant agreed to pay about $1 billion a year, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the terms.
"This unprecedented Thursday Night Football package gives tens of millions of new and existing Prime members exclusive access to must-watch live football on Prime Video,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, in a statement.
Amazon shares rose 0.92% in premarket trading Friday to $3,055.94.
The value of all the long-term TV deals was estimated at about $105 billion.
3. -- Nike Falls as Supply-Chain Problems Hit Sales
Nike (NKE) was declining in premarket trading after the sports-apparel giant's fiscal third-quarter sales missed Wall Street estimates as supply-chain problems delayed shipments to customers in North America.
The company reported quarterly sales of $10.36 billion, below analysts’ projections of about $11.02 billion.
Nike said revenue was hurt by disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly affected was North America, where revenue declined 11%, driven by global container shortages and U.S. port congestion.
That congestion delayed the flow of inventory in the quarter by more than three weeks, hurting the timing of wholesale shipments, Nike said.
Nike’s earnings managed to top estimates despite the supply issues.
"Bottom line, we never like to see a revenue miss, however, we believe the cause behind it to be both reasonable and more importantly, something that will be made up in the current quarter as it is a supply bottleneck issue that will be cleared up and not a demand issue, which would certainly be cause for concern," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Nike in its portfolio.
The stock fell 2.83% to $139.12 in premarket trading.
4. -- Chubb Proposes to Buy Hartford for $23.2 Billion
Shares of Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) were dipping in premarket trading but not before surging nearly 19% after global insurer Chubb (CB) proposed an acquisition of Hartford for about $23.2 billion in cash and stock.
Chubb's offer - mostly in cash - values Hartford at $65 a share, roughly a 13% premium to Hartford’s closing price Wednesday of $57.41.
Hartford shares traded at $67.33 early Friday, down 1.2%, but had surged to more than $68 Thursday after Bloomberg reported that Chubb had approached Hartford about a deal.
A merger “would be strategically and financially compelling for both sets of shareholders and other constituencies,” Chubb said in a statement. Chubb said it was “looking forward to constructive, private discussions in order to expeditiously consummate a fair transaction.”
Chubb said Thursday that Hartford hadn't responded to its proposal. Hartford said late Thursday that its board was reviewing the offer with advisers.
5. -- Lordstown Motors - What Jim Cramer Thinks
Lordstown Motors (RIDE) was clawing back some losses from Thursday, when the stock dropped more than 13% after revealing it was being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a highly critical report on the company by short-seller Hindenburg Research.
On "Mad Money" Thursday evening, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said he learned an important lesson about curbing your enthusiasm. Sometimes, he said, a story can indeed be too good to be true.
In November, Cramer interviewed Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, who indicated the company had orders for 500 vehicles at a time, all of which were signed by CEOs. However, it's been learned that many of those orders may only have been letters of interest.
Cramer said he remains excited about electric vehicles - he's still a believer in Fisker (FSR) and Lucid Motors (CCIV) - but when a CEO changes his definition of what an order is, you simply cannot be a part of that story.
Lordstown Motors rose 2.15% in premarket trading to $13.29.