5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday, March 23

by Buzz Street Times

Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

1. S&P 500 set to drop on anniversary of stock bull market

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands in lower Manhattan on March 09, 2021 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied more than 300 points Tuesday as tech stocks surged and optimism over the recently passed Covid relief bill cheered investors. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures dropped Tuesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 broke two-session losing streaks. The Nasdaq logged a second straight session of gains, recovering about half of Thursday’s 3% decline. Tech stocks benefited over the past two sessions from the 10-year Treasury yield retreating from last week’s 14-month high. Tuesday marks one year since the Covid low in the stock market, which ended the fastest bear market ever and ushered in another bull market. The S&P 500 has gained 76% since the March 23, 2020, close of 2,237. Over the past year, two presidents, Congress and the Federal Reserve put extraordinary fiscal and monetary policies in place to support the economy during the pandemic.

2. Yellen, Powell to testify on Capitol Hill on economic recovery

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (L) congratulates Fed Governor Jerome Powell at his swearing-in ceremony for a new term on the Fed’s board, in Washington in this handout photo taken and released June 16, 2014.

US Federal Reserve | Reuters

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testify Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee on the economy at noon ET. Yellen, who was Powell’s predecessor, said she sees both growth and possibly full employment next year and credits President Joe Biden‘s Covid relief package. Powell’s prepared remarks struck a cautiously optimistic tone, saying the economy is “much improved” but the recovery is “far from complete.” Last week, after its March meeting, the Fed forecasted higher growth and inflation, while saying interest rates will likely remain near zero through 2023.

3. AstraZeneca addresses U.S. concern about vaccine trial data

A vial labelled with the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

AstraZeneca said Tuesday it will work with an independent group of U.S. health advisors who expressed concern about possible outdated information in the U.K. drug maker’s Covid vaccine trial results. AstraZeneca said in a press release that it would “issue results of the primary analysis within 48 hours.” The questions came one day after the company said a late-stage trial in U.S. and Latin America showed 79% efficacy for its two-shot regimen. AstraZeneca’s vaccine also faced recent trouble in Europe, with a number of nations there temporarily suspending the use of the inoculation following reports of blood clots.

4. Covid cases rise in parts of U.S. as some states relax restrictions

People enjoy themselves as they walk along Ocean Drive on March 18, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida. College students have arrived in the South Florida area for the annual spring break ritual. City officials are concerned with large spring break crowds as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

New Covid cases are once again on the rise across more than half of the U.S., as health officials warn about reopening too soon and race to vaccinate more people before highly contagious strains become prevalent in the country. As of Sunday, the seven-day average of new cases rose by 5% or more in 27 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Across the U.S., the nation logged an average of 54,308 new cases per day over the past week, a 1% rise from the prior week after months of rapidly declining case numbers.

5. Biden considers $3 trillion package for infrastructure

President Joe Biden speaks to members of the press on the South Lawn upon returning to the White House after a trip to Camp David, in Washington, March 21, 2021.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Biden is assembling the next big White House priority, a $3 trillion infrastructure package. That would be on top of his recently signed $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus. The president met privately late Monday with Senate Democrats as Congress has already begun laying the groundwork with legislation for developing roads, hospitals and green energy systems as part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” campaign promise. While the goal is a bipartisan package, Democrats in Congress have signaled a willingness to go it alone if they’re blocked by Republicans.

— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus blog.

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