Skip to main content

Tesla and Bitcoin, GameStop, Intel - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures trade higher and oil prices rebound; GameStop post lower-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales; Tesla to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for cars; Intel investing $20 billion in new chip plants.

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, March 24:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise and Oil Bounces Back

Stock futures traded higher Wednesday as Treasury yields moved lower for a third day. 

Oil prices rebounded after the Suez Canal was blocked by a huge containership that ran aground.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 129 points, S&P 500 futures gained 16 points and futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 104 points.

Stocks finished lower Tuesday, bond yields retreated and oil prices plunged on worries a resurgence of the coronavirus could delay a reopening of the global economy. The Nasdaq dropped 1.12%.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, as well as France and Italy have extended lockdowns in response to spikes in virus infections.

The World Health Organization said cases have been rising globally as virus variants continue to spread.

“Investors were left scrambling for life jackets, as it seems we are back navigating the stormy sea of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Stephen Innes, Axi's chief global market strategist.

Bond yields moved lower for a third session Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in testimony before a congressional committee, said he expected inflation to move higher this year but added the Fed's "best view is that the effect on inflation will be neither particularly large nor persistent.”  

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield traded at 1.624% early Wednesday. The benchmark yield hit 1.754% last week, a 14-month high.

Oil prices in the U.S. rose 2.7% to $59.32 a barrel, partially rebounding from Tuesday's plunge of as much as 6%.

2. -- Wednesday's Calendar: More Powell and Yellen Testimony

The U.S. economic calendar on Wednesday includes Durable Goods Orders for February at 8:30 a.m. ET, the PMI Composite Flash for March at 9:45 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended March 19 at 10:30 a.m.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from Riot Blockchain  (RIOT) , GrowGeneration  (GRWG) , Jefferies Financial Group  (JEF) , General Mills  (GIS) , KB Home  (KBH) , RH  (RH)  and Winnebago Industries  (WGO) .

3. -- GameStop Plunges on Earnings and Sales Miss

GameStop  (GME)  was plunging in premarket trading Wednesday after the video-game retailer posted lower-than-expected adjusted fourth-quarter earnings and sales.

The company also hinted it may use the recent Reddit-fueled surge in its stock price to raise new capital.

Adjusted profit in the quarter was $1.34 a share, 1 cent below forecasts. Net sales fell 3.3% to $2.12 billion, short of Wall Street estimates. Same-store sales rose 6.5% in the quarter and online revenue advanced 175%.

GameStop named Jenna Owens, a former Google  (GOOGL)  and Amazon  (AMZN)  executive, as the company's chief operating officer.

The company also appointed Neda Pacifico - another former Amazon executive - as senior vice president of e-commerce. GameStop said Tuesday its emphasis in 2021 would be on improving e-commerce.

GameStop fell more than 12% in premarket trading Wednesday to $159.10. The stock has risen more than 850% so far this year, with gains driven by small investors on Reddit who triggered a short squeeze.

4. -- Tesla to Accept Bitcoin as Payment for Cars

Bitcoin prices rose above $56,000 early Wednesday after Tesla  (TSLA)  CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday the electric vehicle company would begin accepting the world's largest cryptocurrency as payment for its cars.

"You can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin," Musk said in a tweet.

Musk added that paying by bitcoin for customers outside the U.S. will be available later this year.

The Tesla chief said in another tweet that bitcoin paid to Tesla will be retained as bitcoin, and won't be converted to fiat currency.

Bitcoin traded at $56,594, up 3.78%.

Kevin O'Leary Says Cryptocurrency Has a Sustainability Problem

5. -- Intel to Spend $20 Billion on New Chip Plants

Intel  (INTC)  was rising more than 5% in premarket trading Wednesday after the chipmaker said it was investing $20 billion in two new factories in Arizona as it looks to create a foundry business to provide chips for other companies.

The moves comes just more than a month after Pat Gelsinger took over as Intel CEO. It will pit Intel against Taiwan Semiconductor  (TSM) , the world’s most-advanced chipmaker.

Intel also said it plans to build more factories inside and outside the United States. Gelsinger pledged that the majority of Intel's chips would be made in-house.

The plan will give Intel “a unique ability to have leadership products, with the leadership supply chain and leadership cost structure across every portion of our business,” said Gelsinger. “We are off to the races, we’re going to be at parity and then to move to sustained leadership, over time.”