What to watch today: Wall Street looks steady after Nasdaq’s record high close

BY THE NUMBERS
U.S. stock futures were flat Wednesday, one day after the Nasdaq erased earlier losses as bitcoin staged an intraday comeback. The tech-heavy index climbed to a record close. The S&P 500 finished just shy of last week’s record close. Microsoft (MSFT) became the second company to surpass a $2 trillion market value, achieving that mark during Tuesday’s session. Apple (AAPL), worth $2.2 trillion, was the first. (CNBC)

Like the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, the Dow on Tuesday also logged its second straight positive session. But after last week’s plunge, the 30-stock average still needs to add nearly 2.5% to top its latest record high close in early May. (CNBC)

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s latest reassurances about inflation put a lid on bond yields. The 10-year Treasury yield was little changed early Wednesday, trading around 1.47%. But even with U.S. oil prices topping $73 per barrel in this year’s 52% surge, Powell continued to attribute most of the recent inflation surge to factors closely tied to the economic recovery from the pandemic. (CNBC)

  • Powell says it’s ‘very, very unlikely’ the U.S. will see 1970s-style inflation (CNBC)

On today’s economic calendar, the government is out with May new home sales figures at 10 a.m. ET, with forecasts calling for a 0.5% decline to an annual rate of 859,000 units. New home sales had fallen 5.9% in April. (CNBC)

  • Mortgage refinance demand jumps as some fear end of super-low rates is near (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY
Bitcoin rose 5% and topped $34,000 on Wednesday, after the world’s biggest cryptocurrency by market value sank below $29,000 on Tuesday and briefly went negative for the year. During Tuesday’s wild ride, bitcoin fought back into positive territory. But the digital currency, as of early Wednesday, remained nearly 50% below since its all-time high near $65,000 in late April. (CNBC)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday will debate six bills aimed at limiting the power of big technology firms, including Apple, Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google. In a preemptive strike, Apple argued in a 16-page paper posted on its website against language in some of the bills that could force the iPhone giant to allow software downloads from outside its App Store. (CNBC)

  • Teamsters to vote tomorrow on sweeping push to unionize Amazon workers (CNBC)

President Joe Biden on Wednesday will outline actions his administration is taking to curb the recent rise in violent crime and gun violence in America. Biden will announce tougher enforcement standards for gun dealers who violate federal laws. The president will also encourage state and local governments to use pandemic relief funds for crime prevention, including hiring police officers. (CNBC)

  • Senate Republicans block Democrats’ sweeping voting, ethics bill (CNBC)

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appeared to take a fragile lead in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was far behind in early returns, conceded. In the Republican primary, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa defeated businessman Fernando Mateo. (AP)

Warren Buffett said Wednesday he will donate another $4.1 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.a) shares to five foundations, marking the halfway point in his 2006 pledge to give away nearly all of his wealth to charity. Buffett also said in a press release that he will resign as the trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which faces a tumultuous time with the divorce of its two founders. (CNBC)

Morgan Stanley (MS) told its staff that workers and clients who are not vaccinated against Covid will be barred from returning to New York City and Westchester County offices with a large employee presence beginning July 12, CNBC has confirmed. The move, which will allow Morgan Stanley to lift mask and physical distancing requirements in its offices, follows similar actions by other financial giants.

  • Fauci declares delta variant ‘greatest threat’ to U.S. efforts to eliminate Covid (CNBC)
  • India’s Covid cases top 30 million, quickly closing in on U.S. total (CNBC)

Advisers to the CDC are set to meet today to assess the possibility of a link between rare cases of heart inflammation and the two-shot Covid vaccines from Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA). The agency has been investigating cases of heart inflammation mainly in young men for several months. (Reuters)

Some Peloton (PTON) customers are outraged after the company disabled a free run setting on its high-end treadmill, forcing users to pay an extra monthly membership fee. Following a recent safety update, the “Just Run” feature has disappeared, according to reports on social media.

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