Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Feb. 24:
1. -- Stock Futures Rise as Fed Pledges Continued Support
Stock futures traded modestly higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 rose for the first time in six sessions following the Federal Reserve’s pledge that it would continue supporting the U.S. economy.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22 points, S&P 500 futures gained 5 points and Nasdaq futures were up 10 points.
The Dow and S&P 500 finished higher Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, assured investors the central bank was a long way from scaling back its ongoing support of the U.S. economy. The Dow at one point Tuesday had been down as much as 362 points.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed with a loss Tuesday of 0.5%.
Powell told lawmakers that interest rates would remain low as he noted the economic recovery “remains uneven and far from complete.” Powell signaled the central bank won't soon begin tapering the $120 billion of bonds it has been buying per month until "substantial further progress" was achieved.
The Fed chief also said higher bond yields were a reflection of investors' confidence in an economic recovery, not concerns about inflation.
Rising interest rates and fears of increasing inflation have put the brakes on strong stock market gains made at the beginning of February.
The 10-year Treasury yield traded at 1.367% early Wednesday, just below one-year highs.
2. -- Wednesday's Calendar: Nvidia and Lowe's Earnings, New Home Sales
Lowe's (LOW) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.33 a share, topping Wall Street estimates of $1.21.
The U.S. economic calendar for Wednesday includes New Home Sales for January at 10 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended Feb. 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak Wednesday at 10 a.m. before the House Financial Services Committee.
3. -- Square Buys $170 Million More Bitcoin
Square (SQ) said it purchased $170 million in bitcoin, saying the investment was the digital payments company's "ongoing commitment" to the world's largest cryptocurrency.
Combined with its previous purchase of $50 million in bitcoin in October, the cryptocurrency now represents about 5% of Square's total cash and equivalents.
The investment “really comes down to the alignment with our purpose, and aligning our incentives with cryptocurrency and more broadly expanding the economic empowerment opportunities and making them acceptable more broadly in a fair way around the world,” said Chief Financial Officer Amrita Ahuja.
Square said its Cash App service had more than 36 million monthly customers in the fourth quarter, a 50% year-over-year increase. The boost in Cash App users was partly related to bitcoin-related transactions, the company said.
Shares of Square declined 4.19% to $245.85 in premarket trading Wednesday after fourth-quarter earnings and sales topped Wall Street estimates but the company indicated growth could be slowing.
Bitcoin rallied Wednesday to $50,500 Wednesday after tumbling to $45,000 in the previous session. The cryptocurrency was getting a boost from Ark Investment Management’s Cathie Wood, who told Bloomberg she was “very positive on bitcoin, very happy to see a healthy correction here.”
4. -- FAA Orders Inspections on Boeing 777s With Certain Pratt & Whitney Engines
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines in the United States to ground planes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines following an engine failure that showered debris over a Denver suburb.
The engines are used solely on Boeing (BA) 777s. Before the planes can fly again, operators must conduct a thermal acoustic image inspection of the large titanium fan blades at the front of each engine to detect cracks.
United Airlines (UAL) is the only U.S. airline with the engine in its fleet. United voluntarily stopped using the 24 planes it had in service.
The PW4000 family of engines is made by Raytheon Technologies (RTX) Pratt & Whitney division.
United Airlines Flight 328 was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver on Saturday after its right engine blew apart just after takeoff, scattering debris. No one on the ground was hurt and the plane landed safely.
5. -- Tiger Woods 'Awake, Responsive' After Surgery Following Car Accident
Tiger Woods is awake, responsive and recovering in a Los Angeles-area hospital following a single-vehicle accident on Tuesday, according to a tweet from the professional golfer's official Twitter account, Sports Illustrated reported.
Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, confirmed in the statement that Woods suffered "suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center."
Woods, a 15-time Major champion, was hospitalized on Tuesday following a single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported Tuesday that the department arrived around 7:12 a.m. PT to the crash that took place on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes near Los Angeles.