Bitcoin $50,000, CVS, Texas Deep Freeze, Oil Prices - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Improved vaccine distribution and more fiscal relief from the U.S. government are seen as aiding the economy's recovery; bitcoin sets record high above $50,000; oil prices climb as a deep freeze in Texas shuts refineries.
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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Feb. 16:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise as Wall Street Extends Gains

Stock futures on Tuesday pointed to an extension of Wall Street's rally as investors bet that improved vaccine distribution and more fiscal relief from the U.S. government will aid in the economy's recovery.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 193 points, S&P 500 futures were up 20 points and Nasdaq futures jumped 67 points.

U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday. Stocks kicked the long weekend off right with the three major indexes closing Friday at record highs.

The Dow rose 27 points, or 0.09%, to close at 31,458, the S&P 500 rose 0.47% to finish at 3,934, and the Nasdaq gained 0.5% to close at 14,095.

For the week, the Dow rose 1%, the S&P 500 gained 1.2% and the Nasdaq rose 1.7%.

Global equities were poised to set further all-time highs, rising for a 12th straight session.

“Global equity markets remain on the climb into this week with the multitude of positive factors, including U.S. fiscal stimulus hopes, positive earnings and the vaccine rollout supporting sentiment,” said Jingyi Pan, a senior market strategist at IG Singapore.

Brent crude oil touched the highest level since January 2020 as a cold snap in Texas boosted power and fuel demand. 

2. -- Bitcoin Crosses $50,000

Bitcoin's tremendous rally rolled on as the world's largest cryptocurrency surged past $50,000 for the first time.

At last check, bitcoin traded at $50,258, up 4.26%.

The price of the digital token has jumped fivefold over the past year.

It gained momentum last week after Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had purchased $1.5 billion of bitcoin.

The Tesla purchase and CEO Elon Musk's continued support of bitcoin has provided the token with more mainstream acceptance.

An investment unit of Morgan Stanley  (MS) - Get Report is considering whether to bet on bitcoin, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter, while Mastercard  (MA) - Get Report said it plans to start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network later this year. 

3. -- Tuesday's Calendar: CVS Earnings, Empire State Manufacturing Index

CVS Health  (CVS) - Get Report reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, thanks in part to solid pharmacy sales.

The stock rose 1.19% to $75.09 in premarket trading.

Later in the week, reports will be issued by Walmart  (WMT) - Get Report, Applied Materials  (AMAT) - Get Report, Analog Devices  (ADI) - Get Report, Baidu  (BIDU) - Get Report, Shopify  (SHOP) - Get Report, Roku  (ROKU) - Get Report, Waste Management  (WM) - Get Report and Deere  (DE) - Get Report.

Top Earnings to Watch This Week: CVS, Walmart and Waste Management

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The U.S. economic calendar for Tuesday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Index for February at 8:30 a.m. ET. Data will be released later in the week on producer prices, retail sales, jobless claims and housing starts.

4. -- Oil Prices Jump as Cold Snap Shuts Down Texas Refineries

Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, traded at $63.18 a barrel early Tuesday, but had risen to as high as $63.30 a barrel as freezing temperatures in Texas were causing unprecedented power shortages across the state.

West Texas intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, rose 0.62% to $59.84 a barrel.

The nation’s largest oil refinery shut down because of the winter weather hitting Texas.

Motiva said it shut down the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery due to “unprecedented” freezing conditions along the Gulf Coast.

The company said it was monitoring the weather and would resume operations “as soon as it is safe to do so,” the Associated Press reported. 

Many power-generating plants in the state remained offline, forcing utilities to impose rolling blackouts. 

Estimates are that nearly 5 million people across the U.S. have experienced a blackout as energy companies work to avoid a collapse of their grids.

5. -- China Reportedly Considering Rare Earth Export Curbs to Hurt U.S. Defense

China is exploring whether it can hurt U.S. defense contractors by limiting the export of rare earth minerals that are crucial for making sophisticated weapons, the Financial Times reported.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last month proposed draft controls on the production and export of 17 rare earth minerals in China.

Industry executives said government officials had asked them how badly companies in the U.S. and Europe, including defense companies, would be affected if China restricted rare earth exports during a bilateral dispute, the Financial Times reported. China accounts for 80% of rare-earth imports into the United States.

“The government wants to know if the U.S. may have trouble making F-35 fighter jets if China imposes an export ban,” a Chinese government adviser told the Financial Times. 

Lockheed Martin  (LMT) - Get Report is the manufacturer of the F-35.