March 5 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Updated from 6:55 a.m. EST.

Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, March 5:   

1.-- U.S. stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open flat to lower on Wednesday ahead of a report on private-sector job growth and as investors remain wary about the tensions in Ukraine.

European stocks were lower in early trading. Asian shares finished the session mixed. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.2%. 

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the ADP Employment Change index for February at 8:15 a.m. EST, the ISM Services index for February at 10 a.m., and the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" at 2 p.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Tuesday rebounded, with the S&P 500 closing at a new record high as investors cheered subsiding tensions in Ukraine.

The  Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.41% higher at 16,395.76, while the S&P 500 jumped 1.53% to a record 1,873.89. The  Nasdaq gained 1.75% to 4,351.97.

4.-- The U.S. and Russia held talks on easing East-West tension over Ukraine on Wednesday. The foreign ministers of the U.S., U.K. and Ukraine met Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea region, but Russia's top diplomat refused to attend, according to U.S. and British officials, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The absence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underscored the deepening rift between Moscow and the West following the Kremlin's moves this past week to deploy thousands of Russian troops in Ukraine, the Journal noted.

5.-- Comcast (CMCSA) has started an initiative in which it will turn hundreds of thousands of Chicago-area homes into virtual coffee shops, using existing Comcast equipment to build out its publicly accessible wireless network, The Chicago Tribune reported. 

The neighborhood hot spots plan, which will roll out during the next several months, will send a separate Wi-Fi signal from Comcast-issued home equipment, enabling anyone within range to get online. Entire residential blocks will begin soon to show as hot spots on Xfinity's Wi-Fi mobile app, Comcast said.

6. -- RadioShack  (RSH) shares tumbled 17.3% on Tuesday to $2.25 after the troubled retailer said it plans to close up to 1,100 stores, or about a fifth of its U.S. locations, and reported a wider quarterly loss following a disappointing holiday season.

-- United Airlines (UAL) has begun a push to better enforce rules restricting the size of carry-on bags, an effort that will include instructing workers at security checkpoint entrances to eyeball passengers for bags that are too big.

United has rolled out new bag-sizing boxes at most airports and sent an email to frequent fliers, reminding them of the rules. An internal employee newsletter called the program a "renewed focus on carry-on compliance."

8. -- A federal judge on Tuesday blocked U.S. courts from being used to collect a $9 billion Ecuadorean judgment against Chevron (CVX) for rainforest damage, saying lawyers poisoned an honorable quest with their illegal and wrongful conduct.

Chevron shares rose 6 cents in premarket trading on Wednesday.

9. -- Yahoo! (YHOO) will stop letting consumers access its various online services, including Fantasy Sports and photo-sharing site Flickr, by signing-in with their Facebook or Google credentials, Reuters reported.

The change, which will be rolled out gradually according to a Yahoo spokeswoman, will require users to register for a Yahoo ID in order to use any of the Internet portal's services, Reuters said.

The stock rose 0.3% to $39.74 in premarket trading.

10.-- PetSmart (PETM)  is expected by Wall Street to post fourth-quarter profit of $1.21 a share on revenue of $1.83 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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