Here are five things you must know for Friday, March 26:
1. -- Stock Futures Rise Amid Vaccine Progress
Stock futures were mostly higher Friday as investors cheered progress on vaccine distribution and optimism rose over the prospects for a strong economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 140 points and S&P 500 futures rose 8 points. But futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq turned lower, falling 47 points.
Traders were upbeat after President Joe Biden doubled his vaccination goal to 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office.
“Although very much in the price, investors did take solace as the positive outlook for vaccines amid President Joe Biden’s plan for an ‘economic rejuvenation,’" said Stephen Innes, chief global strategist of Axicorp.
Bank stocks traded higher Friday after the Federal Reserve signaled it plans to lift pandemic-era restrictions on bank dividends and share buybacks for most companies after June 30.
Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields rose to 1.68% after an auction of seven-year notes was weaker than expected.
Oil prices in the U.S. traded close to $60 a barrel as reports said it could take until at least next Wednesday to remove a massive tanker blocking the Suez Canal.
Stocks closed higher Thursday after wobbling for much of the session. Tech stocks edged higher, with the Nasdaq gaining 0.12%.
The U.S. economic calendar on Friday includes International Trade in Goods (Advance) for February at 8:30 a.m., Personal Income and Outlays for February at 8:30 a.m. and Consumer Sentiment for March at 10 a.m.
2. -- Microsoft Reportedly in Advance Talks to Buy Discord
Microsoft (MSFT) is in advanced talks to acquire messaging platform Discord for $10 billion or more, The Wall Street Journal reported, and a deal could be completed next month.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said Microsoft and Discord were in exclusive talks.
It was reported earlier this week that Microsoft was in discussions to acquire Discord, an app used by millions of gamers and others to chat with one another in real time. Bloomberg reported that Discord has been talking to potential buyers, including software giant Microsoft, though no deal was imminent.
VentureBeat first reported Monday that Discord was exploring a $10 billion-plus sale after multiple potential buyers expressed interest, and that it had signed an exclusive acquisition discussion with one party, suggesting a deal could be close.
3. -- Tesla's Elon Musk Is Ordered to Delete Anti-Union Tweet
A tweet that Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk issued almost two years ago threatening employees with a loss of stock options if they formed a union was illegal and has to be deleted, said the National Labor Relations Board.
Here is the tweet in question, dated May 21, 2018:
The NLRB also ordered Tesla to post a notice addressing unfair labor practices at its plant in Fremont, California, and post a notice dealing with the tweet at all its facilities nationwide, the Associated Press reported.
The United Auto Workers union filed a complaint with the NLRB in 2018 over Musk's tweet. The union praised the NLRB move.
In a statement, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said the system "is currently stacked heavily in favor of employers like Tesla who have no qualms about violating the law.”
4. -- GameStop Shares Rebound 53%
GameStop (GME) was rising nearly 10% in premarket trading Friday after the video game retailer, a favorite of the Reddit crowd, jumped nearly 53% in the previous session and recouped its $4.3 billion loss in value after earnings disappointed.
The stock rose 9.69% to $201.56 in premarket trading Friday.
According to data from Dow Jones, the stock's gain Thursday was its largest since Feb. 24, when it soared 104%.
More than 50 million shares traded Thursday, which was 296% of the stock's five-day average volume and 147% of its 30-day average volume, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The stock plunged earlier this week after GameStop posted softer-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and said it was evaluating the sale of new shares to fund its "future transformation initiatives and general working capital needs."
GameStop has been moving to shake up its senior management team, tapping Chewy.com founder Ryan Cohen to lead its e-commerce strategy. It named Jenna Owens, a former Google (GOOGL) Amazon.com (AMZN) executive, as chief operating officer.
5. -- Ford to Idle F-150 Plant Through Sunday
Ford (F) said it would idle production of its popular and highly profitable F-150 pickup truck at its plant in Dearborn, Michigan, through Sunday due to the global semiconductor chip shortage.
Ford’s plant will be idled from Friday through Sunday, and resume operations on Monday. A spokeswoman declined to tell Reuters how much volume would be lost.
The automaker said earlier this month that if the global shortage in semiconductors extends through the first half of the year, it could take a hit of between $1 billion to $2.5 billion to its adjusted bottom line. General Motors (GM) issued a similar caution.