Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Stocks slip up
Equities futures fell Wednesday morning after a strong close Tuesday for the major U.S. indexes. Earnings have largely come in stronger than expected, or at least not as bad as they could have been, given the inflation squeeze on U.S. consumers. Netflix, for instance, easily beat its own low expectations for subscriber losses in its most recent quarter. (Read more on that below.) But there are still plenty of earnings reports to come over the next few weeks, and there is still a great deal of uncertainty due to Russia's war in Ukraine. Earnings on tap for Wednesday include Tesla and United Air Lines after the bell.
2. Netflix hangs in there
Speaking of not as bad, Netflix results managed to excite investors enough to send the stock higher in off-hours trading despite a miss on revenue and a second consecutive quarter of subscriber losses. The company warned it could lose 2 million paid customers in the second quarter. Instead, likely due in large part to the popularity of the series "Stranger Things," it only lost nearly a million. Netflix also said it expects net adds of 1 million in the current quarter, which is below what Wall Street was looking for. That said, the company gave investors a little more clarity about its plans to introduce a cheaper, ad-supported tier and how it aims to crack down on password sharing.
3. Mortgage demand tumbles
Demand for mortgages fell to the lowest point in 22 years last week, according to new data Wednesday from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Week over week, applications for a mortgage to purchase a home dropped 7%, and they were 19% lower than the same week in 2021. Home prices were already sky high coming into this year. But potential buyers still had low mortgage rates on their side. Then borrowing costs for homebuyers ballooned after inflation went berserk and the Federal Reserve started hiking rates to tame surging prices. Another rate rise is likely on the way next week, too, as policymakers at the central bank lean toward a 75 basis point increase.
4. A new vaccine on the U.S. market
Novavax shares in the premarket session slightly extended their big gains from Tuesday, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the company's Covid vaccine for adults. It joins shots from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which have been widely available since last year. More than 75% of adults in the United States are now vaccinated against the disease, which has killed more than a million people in the U.S., and sickened millions more. The CDC is hoping that the Novavax vaccine, which uses more conventional technology that has been in utilized for three decades, will coax skeptics into getting the shot.
5. Smooth sailing for cruise stocks
In other CDC news, the government agency dropped its Covid program for the cruise industry. The program, which earlier became voluntary, required all passengers to be tested, while encouraging vaccinations for staff and passengers. The news sent shares of cruise lines Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian higher Tuesday. "We believe today's news will give the cruise operators more flexibility around the inclusion of younger individuals," said an analyst for Stifel.
– CNBC's Carmen Reinicke, Sarah Whitten, Alex Sherman, Diana Olick, Spencer Kimball and Jack Stebbins contributed to this article.