5 things you should know before the stock market opens on March 17th, 2021

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

1. Dow futures stabilize when bond yields rise but Nasdaq futures fall

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Source: NYSE

2. Powell needs to allay inflation concerns while defending politics

Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, December 1, 2020.

Susan Walsh | Reuters

With bond yields rising on inflation concerns, Powell must convince traders that the Fed’s current monetary policy is not overheating a recovering economy that has just received another stimulus for Covid. Central bankers have a new set of housing data to consider. Housing starts in February were down 10.3% and building permits were down 10.8% last month. Both declines exceeded expectations and followed sharp declines in January. The Fed concludes its two-day March meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Nobody expects interest rates to change close to zero or the extraordinary measures to support growth during the coronavirus pandemic to be postponed.

3. 15% of US adults are fully vaccinated; Trump advertises with supporters

A large vaccination site will be shown when people with pre-existing health conditions are given access to a vaccination (COVID-19) in Inglewood, California on March 15, 2021.

Mike Blake | Reuters

The number of new daily Covid cases in the US, which has decreased by about 80% since early January, continued to decline as immunity protection from vaccinations and high infection rates increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15% of the adult US population has been fully vaccinated. On the way in the right direction, however, health officials say those vaccination numbers will need to be much higher to combat the disease that has killed an average of 1,285 people in America in the past seven days.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump urged people to get the coronavirus vaccine and said he would “recommend it to a lot of people who don’t want it, and many of those people voted for me”. However, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Trump admitted that people could decide for themselves whether to shoot.

4. The White House is setting the bar low for the US-China meeting on Thursday

Chinese and American flags outside the building of an American company in Beijing, China January 21, 2021.

Tingshu Wang | Reuterss

The White House has low expectations ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s first face-to-face meeting with their Chinese counterparts in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday. According to a senior government official from Biden, neither side will make a joint statement and no major announcements are expected.

People with face masks crossing a street in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong on February 16, 2021.

Zhang Wei | China News Service | Getty Images

Amid Washington concerns over the erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, the US sanctioned an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials for continuing crackdown on political freedoms in the semi-autonomous city. China said the new sanctions reveal America’s “sinister intent to meddle in China’s internal affairs, disrupt Hong Kong and impede China’s stability and development.”

5. Uber grants UK drivers worker status after losing the industrial action

A person who uses the Uber app in London.

Peter Summers | Getty Images

Uber will classify all UK-based drivers as workers after a major labor dispute was lost there earlier this year. Under the new designation, more than 70,000 drivers in the UK will receive some benefits including a minimum wage, vacation time and pension contributions. However, you will not receive full employee benefits. In an SEC filing, Uber said the UK ride-hail business accounted for 6.4% of all gross bookings for mobility in the fourth quarter of 2020. Uber’s shares fell more than 2% in US pre-market trading.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. For the latest information on the pandemic, visit CNBC’s coronavirus blog.

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