5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday, March 21


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

1. Wall Street looks steady after best week since November 2020

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, March 18, 2022.

Source: NYSE

U.S. stock futures were little changed Monday after strong gains last week that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each log their best weekly performances since November 2020. Dow stock Boeing fell 5% in the premarket after a 737-800 jet crashed with 132 people on board in China. Investors were also watching for developments in Russia’s war with Ukraine.

  • Friday’s rally capped a week in which the Dow rose 5.5%, the S&P 500 gained nearly 6.2%, and the Nasdaq jumped 8.2%. All three stock benchmarks broke multiweek losing streaks. Only the Nasdaq remained in a correction.
  • U.S. oil prices on Monday gained 4% to $109 per barrel as European Union nations considered joining the United States’ Russian oil embargo, while a weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities raised concerns.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield Monday rose to around 2.24%. Following last week’s first interest rate hike in more than three years, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set to speak at the National Association for Business Economics’ annual conference at 12 p.m. ET.

2. Berkshire to buy Alleghany; Goldman to announce crypto milestone

Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Los Angeles, California. May 1, 2021.

Gerard Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway said Monday morning it agreed to buy insurance company Alleghany for $11.6 billion, or $848.02 per share, in cash. Alleghany shares, which closed at $676.75 on Friday, rallied toward that buyout price in Monday’s premarket. For the acquisition, Buffett dipped into Berkshire‘s massive cash hoard of $146.72 billion at the end of 2021. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, came after Berkshire’s Class A shares hit a record high last week, closing above $500,000 for the first time.

A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. logo hangs on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Goldman Sachs is close to announcing that it’s the first major U.S. bank to trade an over-the-counter crypto transaction, CNBC has learned. Goldman traded a bitcoin-linked instrument called a non-deliverable option with crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, according to the two firms. CNBC’s Hugh Son reports that the move is seen as a notable step in the development of crypto markets for institutional investors. Hedge funds have been seeking derivative exposure to bitcoin.

3. Boeing passenger jet crashes in China with 132 people on board

China’s civil aviation authority said a Boeing 737-800 jet operated by China Eastern Airlines crashed Monday in the southern region of Guangxi. There was no immediate word on the fate of the 123 passengers and nine crew members. Boeing told The Associated Press that it’s aware of the initial reports of the crash and was “working to gather more information.” The incident comes as the company has been trying to recover its reputation after a number of major crashes in recent years.

4. Biden adds Poland stop; Mariupol rejects surrender demand

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting about ARPA-H, a health research agency that seeks to accelerate progress on curing cancer and additional health innovations, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, in Washington, March 18, 2022.

Al Drago | Reuters

President Joe Biden has added a stop in Poland to his trip this week to Europe for urgent talks with NATO and European allies about Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. Poland, a crucial ally in the Ukraine crisis, is hosting thousands of American troops and taking in more Ukrainian refugee than any other nation. White House officials have said Biden has no plans to travel to Ukraine.

Civilians trapped in Mariupol city under Russian attacks, are evacuated in groups under the control of pro-Russian separatists, through other cities, in Mariupol, Ukraine on March 20, 2022.

Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian officials on Monday rejected a Russian demand for a surrender in Mariupol in exchange for safe passage out of the besieged strategic port city. In the capital Kyiv, Russian shelling devastated a shopping center near the city center. Britain’s Defense Ministry said Monday that Ukraine’s resistance had kept the bulk of Russian forces more than 15 miles from the center of Kyiv.

5. Justice Clarence Thomas hospitalized; Biden Supreme Court pick hearing

The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on March 9, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been hospitalized since Friday due to an infection. The court provided no additional details about the infection, but said Thomas was being treated with antibiotics and his “flu-like symptoms” were abating. Thomas, among the 6-3 conservative majority, plans to participate in the cases this week even if he misses the arguments, the court said.

  • The announcement about the 73-year-old’s hospitalization came as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepared to begin confirmation hearings Monday for Ketanji Brown Jackson. The 51-year-old judge is Biden’s pick to succeed retiring liberal justice Stephen Breyer.

— CNBC reporters Vicky McKeever, Fred Imbert, Evelyn Cheng and Karen Gilchrist as well as The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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