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5 things to know before the stock market opens Feb. 22, 2021

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

1. Wall Street set to open lower on rising bond yield concerns

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Source: The New York Stock Exchange

2. Bitcoin slips from records as Musk tweets it seems high

Tesla, led by Elon Musk, confirmed that it purchased about $ 1.5 billion in bitcoin in January and expects to start accepting it as a payment in the future.

Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Bitcoin dropped about 7% on Monday, one day topping $58,000 for another all-time high. Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, exceeded a market value of $1 trillion Friday. Elon Musk, whose Tesla is estimated to have made about $1 billion in profit on its bitcoin investment, tweeted early Saturday morning that bitcoin seems high. Shares of Tesla — up 325% in the past 12 months — fell nearly 3% in Monday’s premarket.

3. PPP loans tweaked to try to reach even smaller businesses

US President Joe Biden speaks at the Covid-19 vaccine Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site on February 19, 2021, in Portage, Michigan.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden is launching changes Monday to the Paycheck Protection Program to try to reach smaller, minority-owned firms and sole proprietors left behind in previous rounds of aid. For two weeks, starting Wednesday, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for forgivable PPP loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees. The program was relaunched last month with $284 billion in new funds from a Covid relief bill passed in late December. About $150 billion of PPP money is still available, according to a Biden administration official.

4. Total U.S. Covid deaths near 500,000; Biden plans remembrance

(L-R) Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden look down the National Mall as lamps are lit to honor the nearly 400,000 American victims of the coronavirus pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

While daily U.S. Covid deaths have been dropping in recent weeks, total fatalities from the disease in America, the highest of any single country in the world, could exceed 500,000 as soon as Monday, based on data from Johns Hopkins University. When it happens, Biden plans to mark the sad milestone with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House. The latest daily numbers show an average of 1,872 people died over the past seven days, down from a single-day record of 4,407 on Jan. 12. Daily new cases averaged 69,986 over the past seven days. The highest single day of new cases was just under 300,000 on Jan. 2.

5. United takes two dozen Boeing 777s out of service after engine failure

A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER plane is towed as an American Airlines Boeing 737 plane departs from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.

Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

United Airlines will temporarily remove 24 of its Boeing 777s from service after one of the planes bound for Honolulu suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff from Denver International Airport on Saturday. The plane returned to Denver safely. Images from the flight on social media showed an engine on fire and reports on the ground near the airport said engine parts rained down.

The FAA ordered the inspection of some Boeing 777 jetliners powered by the same Pratt & Whitney engine, the PW4000. Boeing shares fell 3% in premarket trading. Raytheon, which owns Pratt & Whitney, dropped 2%. United shares slipped less than 1%.

— Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro’s live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.


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