Microsoft, GameStop, AstraZeneca, Fed's Powell: 5 Things You Must Know

Stock futures turn mixed; Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen make their first joint appearance before Congress; Microsoft reportedly is in talks to buy Discord; GameStop reports earnings.
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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, March 23:

1. -- Stock Futures Turn Mixed Tuesday

Stock futures pointed to a mixed start for Wall Street Tuesday, following a rally that was led by technology shares.

European stocks declined Tuesday amid concerns over a coronavirus resurgence in Europe. Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel instituted a hard lockdown over the Easter break for Europe's biggest economy. 

U.S. crude prices fell below $60 a barrel following the planned lockdowns in Europe and a firmer U.S. dollar.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 110 points, S&P 500 futures fell 11 points and futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq turned higher, rising 12 points.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield traded at 1.64% early Tuesday ahead of the auction this week of $183 billion of notes. A sale of seven-year notes will be closely watched after it stumbled last month, sending yields higher.

The 10-year Treasury yield hit 1.754% last week, a 14-month high.

The narrower yield on the benchmark Treasury has provided some relief to investors worried that a U.S. economic recovery will bring on inflation and make the Federal Reserve less inclined to maintain its loose monetary policy. The Biden administration reportedly has been putting together a plan for an infrastructure package that could cost as much as $3 trillion.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in prepared testimony ahead of his appearance Tuesday before Congress that the U.S. central bank "will continue to provide the economy the support it needs for as long as it takes" since a recovery is "far from complete."

2. -- Tuesday's Calendar: Powell and Yellen Testimony, GameStop Earnings

The U.S. economic calendar on Tuesday includes the first joint appearance by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen before a congressional committee. They will discuss the CARES Act before the House Financial Services Committee at 12 p.m. ET. 

Powell and Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.

The calendar for Tuesday also includes New Home Sales for February at 10 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from GameStop  (GME) - Get Report, Adobe  (ADBE) - Get Report, IHS Markit  (INFO) - Get Report and Paychex  (PAYX) - Get Report.

GameStop, the video game company that became a favorite of the retail trading crowd earlier this year, is expected by analysts to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.35 a share on sales of $2.21 billion. 

Jim Cramer said GameStop earnings will be a judgment day

"Will Ryan Cohen try to create game palaces where they do worldwide tournaments, perhaps paid with bitcoin. Second, will GameStop become the knowledge base of crypto? And sell you the Nvidia cards or Ethereum. They need to become the game part of the PayPal wallet," Cramer said.

GameStop was down 0.95% in premarket trading to $192.65.

3. -- Microsoft Reportedly in Talks to Acquire Discord

Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report is in talks to acquire Discord, a video-game chat community, for more than $10 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Discord has been talking to potential buyers and Microsoft is in the running. But no deal is imminent, the people told Bloomberg. One person said Discord was more likely to go public than sell itself.

Discord is best known for its free service that lets gamers communicate through video, voice and text. It has more than 100 million monthly active users.

Microsoft, Bloomberg noted, has been shopping for assets that would provide access to thriving communities of users. Last year it sought to buy social-media app TikTok and held talks to acquire Pinterest  (PINS) - Get Report.

Discord also has held discussions with Epic Games and Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report in the past, according to Bloomberg.

Microsoft shares declined 0.42% to $235.01 in premarket trading Tuesday.

Microsoft and Amazon are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

4. -- AstraZeneca Data Used in Vaccine Trial Questioned by Health Officials

AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report may have included outdated information from its COVID-19 vaccine trial, providing an “incomplete” view of the efficacy of the data, according to U.S. health officials.

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement early Tuesday that it was concerned the U.K. drugmaker may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy of the shot.

“We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible,” said the group headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious diseases.

The DSMB, an independent panel, also raised its concerns to AstraZeneca and to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a U.S. agency that partially funded the vaccine’s development.

AstraZeneca said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be 79% effective with no serious side effects in U.S. clinical trials of more than 32,000 people.

The shot also was 100% effective at preventing severe disease and death.

The U.K. drugmaker said it would continue to analyze the data and prepare to seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks.

5. -- Cramer Calls Marvell the 'Ultimate 5G Wireless Play'

Jim Cramer called Marvell Technology  (MRVL) - Get Report the "ultimate 5G wireless play" during the Lightning Round on his "Mad Money" show. 

“This is still the ultimate 5G play, and I am not backing away from that. They had a great quarter. Don’t let people tell you otherwise,” said Cramer, the founder of TheStreet.

Earlier this month the chipmaker reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that matched analysts' estimates and revenue that beat forecasts.

Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Marvell in its portfolio, said after the earnings were released that "we believe the long-term story here remains intact and Marvell continues to represent our favorite way to play the multiyear 5G networking cycle that is just getting going with the ramp to key partners like Samsung and Nokia."