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What to Watch Today: Stock Futures Sink in What Would Add to Tuesday's Drop on Fed Worries

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures dropped Wednesday as investors await more insight into what appears to be a Federal Reserve shifting to an even more aggressive monetary policy tightening path. Minutes from the Fed's March meeting, which featured the first interest rate hike in more than three years, are out at 2 p.m. ET. (CNBC)

The market sees at least 0.25% rate increases at all six of the remaining Fed meetings of the year, with bigger 0.5% rises possible in May and June. Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who normally favors loose policy and low rates, said Tuesday the central bank needs to act quickly and aggressively to drive down inflation. Those comments sent Wall Street lower and bond yields to near three-year highs again. (CNBC)

The 10-year Treasury yield on Wednesday topped 2.63%, climbing above the 2-year yield and out of an inversion. However, the 5-year yield remained inverted and higher then the 30-year yield. The spike higher in bond yields drove mortgage rates up. (CNBC)

In fact, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages topped 5% on Tuesday. The rising rate environment sent total home loan application volume down another 6% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That's down 41% from the same week a year ago. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Oil prices remained elevated Wednesday on supply concerns as the U.S. and its European allies consider more sanctions against Moscow as allegations emerge about wartime atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine. The head of the European Council said Russia oil and gas sanctions needed sooner or later.(Reuters & CNBC)

Higher crude prices have, in turn, pushed gasoline prices higher. The CEOs of oil companies, including Chevron (CVX) and Exxon (XOM), are set to testify Wednesday before a House panel about what they're doing to control energy costs. At another House hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is set to talk about the global impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the global economy. (Reuters & NY Times)

Joining many U.S. and international companies exiting Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, Intel (INTC) suspended business operations in Russia, following last month's suspension of semiconductor shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus. Intel fell 1% in premarket trading. (Reuters)

A federal advisory committee of outside experts is set to meet Wednesday to help craft a U.S. Covid vaccine strategy for the rest of the year as evidence mounts that new variants have eroded the power of the existing vaccines. (NY Times)

* CDC says high immunity in U.S. provides some protection against omicron BA.2 (CNBC)
* UK has detected a new Covid variant. Here's what we know so far about omicron XE (CNBC)

Following a public uproar, Shanghai is allowing at least some parents to stay with children infected with Covid, making an exception to a policy of isolating anyone who tests positive. The announcement came as China's largest city remained locked down and conducted more mass testing after a jump in cases. (AP)

JetBlue Airways (JBLU) made an unsolicited $3.6 billion all-cash offer for Spirit Airlines (SAVE), raising questions about Spirit's deal to combine with rival discount carrier Frontier Airlines (ULCC). Spirit said its board was evaluating JetBlue's proposal, which is 33% higher than Frontier's stock-and-cash offer. (CNBC)

* Here's why JetBlue is willing to shell out so much money for discount airline Spirit (CNBC)

Uber (UBER) announced Wednesday it's adding trains, buses, planes and car rentals to its U.K. app this year. The move is part of a pilot that could be expanded to other countries at a later date if it goes well. While it won't provide these travel services, Uber will allow users to book them through its app following software integrations with platforms that sell tickets. (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has been buying Twitter (TWTR) shares on almost a daily basis since the end of January, spending $2.64 billion for his current stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Musk was announced as a new board member earlier in the day. Twitter also confirmed it's testing an edit button. (CNBC)

Ivanka Trump testified for around eight hours Tuesday to the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that began after her father, former President Donald Trump, spent weeks falsely claiming he was being deprived of a second White House term because of widespread ballot fraud. (CNBC)

The Biden administration plans to freeze federal student loan payments through Aug. 31, extending a moratorium that has allowed millions of Americans to postpone payments during the Covid pandemic, according to an administration official familiar with the White House's decision-making. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Tilray (TLRY) rose 2.1% in the premarket after reporting an unexpected profit for its latest quarter, even as revenue fell below analyst estimates. The cannabis producer also announced a deal with supermarket chain Whole Foods, which will sell the hemp powders produced by Tilray's Manitoba Harvest subsidiary.

Rivian (RIVN) gained 1.7% in the premarket after the company said it was on pace to achieve its previously stated production target of 25,000 electric vehicles this year.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) added 1.7% in premarket action after Stifel Financial began coverage with a "buy" rating. Stifel said Occidental remains attractively priced even after it nearly doubled so far this year, noting a largely underappreciated low carbon business.

Gogo (GOGO) surged 10.4% in premarket trading after the aviation industry broadband provider announced its stock would join the S&P SmallCap 600 index prior to Friday's open.

Array Technologies (ARRY) rallied 14.5% in the premarket after the renewal energy equipment maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and issued an upbeat revenue outlook. It also named Kevin Hostetler as its new CEO, effective April 18, replacing the retiring Jim Fusaro.

WATERCOOLER

Teens are spending more and shifting their shopping habits, even as they worry about growing economic uncertainty, according to a new survey. Athletic apparel brands such as Lululemon (LULU) and Nike (NKE) that combine comfort and fashion are winning out over traditional clothing labels, Piper Sandler's biannual "Taking Stock With Teens" report released on Wednesday revealed. (CNBC)

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