Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures rise with Russia-Ukraine war, Fed in focus
- Peace talks continue between Russia and Ukraine
- U.S. to meet with China's top diplomat, warn against helping Russia
- Covid outbreak in China prompts business, school restrictions
- Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway adds to stake in Occidental Petroleum
1. Stock futures rise with Russia-Ukraine war, Fed in focus
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U.S. stock futures rose Monday, as investors remained focused on the state of the Russia-Ukraine war and prepared for an important Federal Reserve decision later in the week. Dow futures implied an opening gain of roughly 280 points, or 0.8%, while S&P 500 futures were higher by 0.6%. Nasdaq futures were slightly positive.
The blue-chip Dow is coming off its fifth-straight negative week for the first time in nearly three years and is almost 11% below its all-time high on Jan. 5. Both the S&P 500 and tech-focused Nasdaq have finished in the red in four of the past five weeks. The S&P 500 is 12.75% off its Jan. 4 peak, and the Nasdaq is down nearly 21% from its November record high.
Bond prices fell Monday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note reached its highest point since July 2019, rising 7 basis points to top 2.08%. The yield on the 30-year Treasury stood around 2.439%, up about 8 basis points.
2. Peace talks continue between Russia and Ukraine
Russian and Ukrainian officials held their fourth round of peace talks Monday. One Ukrainian presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter the discussions were ongoing but "hard." He indicated earlier in the day that Kyiv's objectives were to secure a cease-fire, withdrawal of Russian troops from the country and other security guarantees.
Monday's dialogue comes one day after Russia launched a missile attack on a military base in western Ukraine, killing 35 people and moving the violence to roughly 15 miles from the Polish border, according to the Associated Press. The United Nations on Sunday said at least 596 civilians have been killed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
3. U.S. to meet with China's top diplomat, warn against helping Russia
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to meet with China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Rome on Monday. The planned face-to-face meeting comes after multiple media outlets reported Russia has asked China for military equipment and other aid to sustain its war in Ukraine. Beijing, a close ally of Russia, denied the report Monday. In a round of TV interviews Sunday, Sullivan said China would face consequences if it helps Russia work around the harsh sanctions imposed on Moscow by the U.S. and other Western nations.
4. Covid outbreak in China prompts business, school restrictions
Covid cases are rising in mainland China, prompting some major cities in the country to place fresh restrictions on business activity and move schools to online instruction. The response to the outbreak signals China's intention to maintain its zero-Covid strategy and may add to existing supply chain woes.
In the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, businesses that aren't providing essential public services were told to pause production or have employees work remotely for a week. That directive impacts Foxconn, an important Apple supplier that has operations in Shenzhen. Foxconn told CNBC its factories would be closed until it received government approval to open.
5. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway adds to stake in Occidental Petroleum
Berkshire Hathaway has added to its new position in Occidental Petroleum. The Warren Buffett-led conglomerate spent over $1.5 billion last week on 27.1 million shares, it said in a regulatory filing. The buys bring Berkshire's stake in Occidental to 118.3 million shares, worth nearly $6.9 billion as of Friday's close. Berkshire revealed its position in the oil giant March 4, disclosing at the time it owned 91.2 million shares of common stock. Occidental is now one of Berkshire's 10 largest holdings in public companies.