What to watch today: Stocks set for a lower open after Dow closes at another record

Stock futures indicated a lower open, following a mixed Tuesday session, as investors deal with increased inflation concerns and higher Treasury yields. The Dow managed to eke out another record close Tuesday, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were lower after touching record intraday highs shortly after Tuesday's opening bell. The averages continue to be on pace for their best monthly performance since November. (CNBC)

The Commerce Department's January retail sales report showed a 5.3% increase, much better than estimates for a 1.2% advance, as consumers spent a second round of Covid stimulus checks. The Labor Department's January producer prices index rose 1.3%, which also significantly outpaced estimates, which had called for a 0.4% increase. (CNBC)

* 10-year Treasury yield hits highest level in nearly a year as retail sales beat estimates (CNBC)

The weekly release of mortgage applications by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that total mortgage application volume declined 5.1% last week from the previous week as rates continued to move higher. The Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its most recent policy meeting at 2 p.m. ET. (CNBC)

Bitcoin (BTC.CM) continued its big rally and broke above $51,000 per coin to set a new record high this morning. It comes one day after the digital coin eclipsed the $50,000 for the first time in the wake of established financial established like Mastercard (MA) making further moves in the crypto space. (CNBC)

Earnings reports out this morning include the latest numbers from Hilton Worldwide (HLT), Garmin (GRMN) and Shopify (SHOP). After the bell, Tilray (TLRY), Herbalife (HLF), Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), Twilio (TWLO), Boston Beer (SAM) and Hyatt Hotels (H) are among the companies releasing quarterly earnings. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) added a new position to Verizon (VZ) in the fourth quarter, according to a 13F regulatory filing released Tuesday. The conglomerate also added a stake in Chevron (CVX) while trimming the size of its Apple (AAPL) holdings. A full breakdown of Berkshire Hathaway's moves can be read here. (CNBC PRO)

* David Tepper bought energy stocks in the fourth quarter; here are his top holdings (CNBC PRO)

President Joe Biden pledged to have a majority of U.S. elementary schools open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office. The comments, made during a CNN town hall Tuesday night, came after the Democratic administration was being criticized for saying it would classify a school that held in-person class just one day a week as open. Biden, who took office Jan. 20, had previously said returning children to the classroom within his first 100 days would be a priority.(Associated Press)

* Biden suggests vaccines will be available for every American 'by the end of July' (NY Times)

Millions of Texas residents remain without power after freezing temperatures and historic snowfall led to a surge in demand for electricity. Officials across Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott, are calling on the leaders of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to provide answers on what's caused the prolonged power outage. The winter storm has caused at least 21 deaths across four states. (Reuters)

* How one Texas storm exposed an energy grid unprepared for climate change (NBC News)

Wholesale power and natural gas prices soared in recent days. However, natural gas futures dropped early Wednesday. U.S. oil prices kept up their advance Wednesday, gaining more than 1% and pushing above $61 per barrel, levels not seen since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)

Elon Musk's SpaceX has seen its valuation jump to about $74 billion after the private company raised $850 million in a funding round last week, sources told CNBC. That represents a 60% increase in SpaceX's valuation; it raised almost $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation in August. The capital raise comes as SpaceX is working on two costly projects: Starlink, its satellite network to provide internets service, and Starship, its stainless steel rocket. (CNBC)

* Jeff Bezos overtakes Elon Musk to reclaim spot as world's richest person (CNBC)

Salesforce (CRM) said Tuesday the Justice Department's Antitrust Division has asked for more information on the company's plans to buy Slack (WORK), a smaller software company known for its workplace chat application. Salesforce said it still expects the acquisition to close in the quarter ending on July 31, but the Justice Department's move could signal that the Biden administration plans greater scrutiny of large technology transactions. (CNBC)

* Big Tech's Democratic critics discuss ways to strike back with White House (Reuters)

Former President Donald Trump ripped Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling the Kentucky Republican a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" in a statement released Tuesday. Trump also pledged to support Republican primary opponents who support his agenda. Trump's statement comes after McConnell accused Trump of being responsible for the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building last month. (CNBC)

* Former President Trump faces serious criminal, civil investigations after White House (CNBC)

Apple scored a political victory in North Dakota when the state senate voted down a legislative proposal that would have threatened how the iPhone maker operates its App Store. The bill would have forced app stores to enable software developers to use their own payment processing software, allowing them to skirt fees charged by Apple and Google (GOOGL). The North Dakota proposal was being watched as a potential harbinger for more state-level legislation targeting tech giants like Apple. (CNBC)

* New York State sues Amazon over worker treatment during Covid-19 pandemic (The Wall Street Journal )

STOCKS TO WATCH

Tribune Publishing (TPCO) will be taken private by hedge fund Alden Global for $17.25 per share in cash. Alden already had a 32 percent stake in the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and Baltimore Sun newspapers.

Morningstar (MORN) was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly violating securities laws in its commercial mortgage-backed securities ratings. The financial information provider said it had complied with all regulations and that it had stopped using the method in question in 2018.

Jana Partners increased its stake in Treehouse Foods (THS) to 7.3 percent and is pushing the packaged food company to explore options including a possible sale. In its quarterly 13-F filing, Jana also disclosed a new stake in medical lab operator LabCorp (LH).

La-Z-Boy (LZB) shares are falling after the furniture maker announced that CEO Kurt Darrow would retire on April 25, to be replaced by CFO Melinda Whittington. La-Z-Boy also reported a drop in quarterly profit on higher costs due to COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions.

Cedar Fair (FUN) reported a fourth quarter loss of $105.5 million compared to a $2.78 billion profit a year earlier, as the pandemic continued to impact attendance at the amusement park operator's properties.

WATERCOOLER

The former Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will be demolished this morning after falling into disrepair. It had once been a crown jewel of former President Donald Trump's casino empire, attracting rock stars and athletes alike. But it would go on to struggle financially and closed in 2014. Two years later, Carl Icahn bought the building out of bankruptcy. (Associated Press)

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