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5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

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

1. Markets

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 1, 2022.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday as energy names, including Dow component Chevron, followed surging oil prices higher as the intensifying Russia-Ukraine conflict raised concerns about crude supply. Bond yields, a day after slumping, moved higher Wednesday to around 1.76% on the 10-year Treasury.

Wrestling with the war’s potential impact on the economy against even more inflation from higher oil, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set to deliver his semiannual assessment of the economy before a House panel Wednesday and a Senate panel Thursday.Dow stock Salesforce jumped nearly 4% and Nordstrom surged more than 30% in premarket trading, the morning after each company issued better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue and upbeat guidance.Tuesday’s major sell-off saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq drop more than 1.5% each.

2. Oil

U.S. oil skyrocketed Wednesday despite member states of the International Energy Agency announcing plans the day before to release 60 million barrels of oil reserves, half of that total from the U.S., in an effort to curb price increases.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, topped $110 per barrel, its highest since April 2011.Global benchmark Brent crude reached nearly $112 per barrel, its highest since January 2013.The price moves come as OPEC and its oil-producing allies, which includes Russia, prepare to meet Wednesday to discuss April’s output.Exxon Mobil said Tuesday it would exit Russia oil and gas operations and halt new investment there. Exxon shares rose 1.5% in the premarket.

3. Fed

With Russia advancing toward Kyiv and oil prices soaring, the market has pulled back expectations for the number Fed interest rate hikes this year to around four or five, starting later this month. Lawmakers will grill Powell this week over how he’s going to balance Russia and ever rising inflation.

Wall Street is also looking forward to the latest private sector job data from ADP, due out before the bell Wednesday. Economists expect U.S. companies to have added 400,000 new positions in February after a 301,000 decline in January. During the Covid pandemic, ADP’s numbers haven’t been the best indictor of the government’s monthly employment report, set for release Friday.

4. State of the Union

President Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to accomplish two difficult tasks in his State of the Union address: rally public support for Ukraine and articulate a fresh domestic policy agenda vision.

Alongside the rhetoric, Biden announced that the U.S. will ban Russian aircraft from flying through American airspace and that more sanctions against Russia’s richest oligarchs are in process.Biden said the U.S. stands ready to rapidly deploy new vaccines in the event of another Covid variant, and Americans who test positive for Covid can get antiviral pills for free under a new program that launches this month.The president touted electric vehicle efforts by General Motors and Ford but not Tesla. In an email to CNBC, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote, “Nobody is watching the State of the Union.” He later tweeted Tesla is investing more than double GM and Ford combined in EVs.

5. Ford

Ford said Wednesday it will reorganize operations to separate its electric and internal combustion engine businesses into distinct units within the automaker. It’s a similar strategy to how Ford is operating its Ford Pro commercial vehicle business under CEO Jim Farley’s “Ford+” turnaround plan.

Separating the operations but keeping them in-house goes halfway to appeasing some on Wall Street who have been pressuring legacy automakers to spin off their electric vehicle operations to capture value that investors have been awarding some EV start-ups. Shares of Ford rose 3% on the news in premarket trading.

— Reuters 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.

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