5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday, March 2nd

  • Salesforce scores with its earnings report.
  • Tesla’s latest “master plan” flopped.
  • President Biden is preparing to veto an ESG anti-measure.

Here are the top stories investors need to start their trading day:

The February blues moved into March. All three indexes either fell or fell into flat territory on Wednesday (the Nasdaq and S&P 500 fell while the Dow posted the lowest gains), and the yield on the 10-year Treasury reached 4% for the first time since November. This action indicates that the pain will last a little longer. On Thursday, investors will chew the latest weekly jobless claims data as they anticipate the Federal Reserve’s next moves in its battle to raise interest rates against inflation. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon. Follow live market updates.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on May 25, 2022.

Adam Gallica | CNBC

Salesforce surprised everyone — in a good way — with its earnings report on Wednesday. Shares of the enterprise software giant and its parent Slack company are up about 15% in off-hours trading after the company handily beat Wall Street expectations for revenue and earnings. Activist investors have been pressuring Salesforce and its CEO, Marc Benioff, looking for fatter dividends. The company recently cut 10% of its workforce, resulting in more than $800 million in restructuring costs, as part of a long-term effort to control spending. Benioff also said the company has dissolved its board committee on mergers and acquisitions, while it works with consulting firm Bain on a review of the Salesforce business.

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Elon Musk speaking at Tesla Investor Day.

Courtesy: Tesla

Tesla shares fell more than 5% in off-hours trading after the electric car company unveiled its latest “master plan,” which, according to CNBC’s Laura Kolodny, was light on details and details. CEO Elon Musk spoke in perfect terms as he kicked off the show. “There is a clear path to a sustainable energy Earth. It does not require the destruction of natural habitats,” he said. “It does not require us to austerity and stop using electricity and cold or anything else.” In terms of the core business, Tesla is sticking to its goal of producing 20 million electric vehicles annually by 2030. But it still has a long way to go. Last year, the company said it delivered just over 1.3 million vehicles.

US President Joe Biden discusses healthcare costs and access to affordable healthcare during an event in Virginia Beach, Va., February 28, 2023.

Leah Mellis | Reuters

In the biggest sign yet that the political winds are blowing against the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, or ESG Guidelines, the Democratic-led Senate voted on Wednesday to rescind a rule allowing pension funds to consider such progressive criteria when making investment decisions. Sen. John Tester, a moderate Democrat from Montana, and conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — who are up for re-election next year in their heavily Republican states — voted with Republicans to make the tally 50-46. However, President Joe Biden said he would veto the measure in order to keep the rule in place. It will be the first veto of his presidency.

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Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (left), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Reuters (l) | (R) Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist from Vermont, is serious about withdrawing Howard Schultz for questioning after the outgoing Starbucks interim CEO declined an invitation to testify before lawmakers. The pro-union progressive senator has scheduled a vote next Wednesday that will decide whether to request Schultz be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELLP, which Sanders chairs. Baristas in nearly 300 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize, a move Schultz opposed. Sanders, in turn, accused Schultz of breaching the union.

— CNBC’s Samantha Sobin, Jordan Novet, Laura Kolodny, Christina Wilkie and Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

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