1. Wall Street set to open higher, breaking a multiday losing streak
Traders on the floor of the NYSE, Feb. 22, 2022.Source: NYSE
U.S. stock futures bounced Wednesday after the S&P 500 closed in correction territory as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated. The Dow on Tuesday fell 483 points, or 1.4%, for its fourth straight negative session. At one point the 30-stock average had been down more than 700 points. The S&P 500 dropped 1% for its third straight loss. The Nasdaq shed 1.2% for its fourth straight negative session. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday afternoon a first batch of sanctions against Russia for its Ukraine incursion.
2. Lowe’s shares jump on better-than-expected earnings, forward guidance
Pallets of garden supplies sit stacked in the parking lot of a Lowe’s store in San Bruno, California.David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Lowe’s on Wednesday surpassed quarterly earnings and revenue expectations and raised its full-year forecast for each, as Americans buy, fix up and renovate their homes in a tight real estate market. The company’s shares rose 3% in premarket trading, as the home improvement retailer said momentum carried into February. Lowe’s quarterly same-store sales in the U.S. increased a better-than-expected 5.1%. For the year, the company projects same-store sales will range from a decline of 1% to a rise of 1% versus a 0.7% increase.ANNONS
3. Weekly mortgage applications drop to lowest level in more than 2 years
A home is offered for sale on January 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.Scott Olson | Getty Images
Climbing mortgage rates are hitting both potential homebuyers and refinance candidates. Total mortgage applications decreased 13.1% last week to their lowest level since December 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refis dropped 15% last week. Home prices have been climbing steadily during Covid and didn’t let up last year. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 18.8% nationally in 2021 compared with a 10.4% gain in 2020.
4. Ukraine issues warnings after weeks of reassurances over Russia
People, who were evacuated from separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine, sit in a bus as they arrive at a railway station to leave the city of Taganrog in the Rostov region, Russia February 20, 2022.Sergey Pivovarov | Reuters
After weeks of trying to project calm, Ukraine on Wednesday urged its citizens to leave Russia. Ukraine is also set to impose a state of emergency. Hopes for a diplomatic way out of a new, potentially devastating war appeared to fade as the U.S. and key allies on Tuesday levied punitive economic measures and accused Moscow of crossing a red line by rolling over Ukraine’s border into the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Russia on Monday recognized the independence of those breakaway areas. The U.S. held back even tougher sanctions waiting to see Russia’s next move.
5. New daily Covid cases plunge 90% as U.S. turns corner on omicron
COVID-19 home test kits are pictured in a store window during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022.Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The U.S. has turned the corner on the omicron wave, with new daily Covid infections plummeting 90% from a pandemic high less than six weeks ago. The U.S. is reporting about 84,000 new cases per day on average, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, down from a pandemic high of more than 800,000 daily cases on Jan. 15. States and the federal government are trying to move past the crisis mentality that has gripped the nation for two years.