Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Futures reverse earlier losses as fighting in Ukraine is assessed
- Key inflation gauge favored by the Fed is still hot
- Ukraine's capital under threat as Russia presses invasion
- CDC to significantly ease Covid mask guidelines Friday
- Biden has made decision on Supreme Court nominee
1. Futures reverse earlier losses as fighting in Ukraine is assessed
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U.S. stock futures rose Friday, erasing losses earlier in the session. Investors continued to assess the risks stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Wall Street was also focusing on a hotter before-the-bell release of the Federal Reserve's favorite inflation indicator. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped below 2% after the data.
- While still down for the week, the Nasdaq led an incredible comeback Thursday that also saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 end higher.
- All three stock benchmarks spent most of the session sharply lower but turned around not long after after President Joe Biden shortly before 2 p.m. ET announced wider sanctions against Russia.
- The Nasdaq swung from a 3.45% loss, which briefly sent the tech-heavy index into bear market territory, to close up 3.3%.
2. Key inflation gauge favored by the Fed is still hot
The core personal consumption expenditures price index, a closely watched inflation gauge at the Fed, rose 5.2% year over year in January, slightly hotter than estimates and the biggest annual gain since 1983. Central bankers are in a tough spot as they weigh the possible harmful economic effects of energy-rich Russia's move into Ukraine against the risk of even higher inflation due to rising oil and natural gas prices. Traders are wondering whether the Fed might temper its monetary policy tightening plan as it tries to balance those two factors. The Fed is expected to hike interest rates multiple times this year, starting next month.
3. Ukraine's capital under threat as Russia presses invasion
Russia pressed its invasion of Ukraine toward the capital on Friday. The Russian military said it's seized of a strategic airport just outside Kyiv and the city off from the west. The assault, anticipated for weeks by the U.S. and Western allies, amounts to the largest ground war in Europe since World War II. Biden was to meet Friday morning with fellow leaders of NATO governments in what the White House described as an "extraordinary virtual summit" to discuss Ukraine.
4. CDC to significantly ease Covid mask guidelines Friday
The Biden administration will significantly loosen federal Covid mask guidelines on Friday, according to The Associated Press. Under the new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings. The move comes as the omicron variant-driven wave of infection in the U.S. has subsided. The latest seven-day average of new daily Covid cases of 74,750 is down 90% since January's record highs of the pandemic.
5. Biden has made decision on Supreme Court nominee
The president is expected to announce Friday that he will nominate federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Biden has vowed to pick a Black woman to succeed liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who plans to retire in the summer at the end of the court's current term. There are currently three liberal justices and six conservatives.
— The Associated Press and NBC News contributed to this report. Sign up now for the CNBC Investing Club to follow Jim Cramer's every stock move. Follow the broader market action like a pro on CNBC Pro.