Stock futures surge; Powell testimony, Bitcoin ETF, JetBlue/Spirit, and more

Wall Street

Wall Street poised to start holiday-shortened week higher

U.S. stock markets look set to kick off the holiday-shortened week on a positive note, after the S&P 500 last week suffered its worst percentage drop since the Covid-19-driven selloff of March 2020.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Dow futures rallied 494 points, or 1.65% to 30,363. S&P 500 futures soared 68.5 points, or 1.86% to 3,744.25 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 227.75 points, or 2.02% to 11,524.5.

Stocks and bonds have come under pressure in recent weeks amid fears that central banks will hike interest rates aggressively to fight surging consumer prices at the risk of tipping the economy into a recession.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq remained closed on Monday as traders observed the Juneteenth holiday.

Powell testimony in focus this week

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will be in focus this week as chairman Jerome Powell gives his regular, semi-annual updates on monetary policy to U.S. lawmakers.

Powell is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the House Committee on Financial Services on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

His testimony comes just days after the Fed raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the first time since 1994.

Powell said after the conclusion of the Fed’s monetary policy last week that the central bank could hike rates by 50 or 75 basis points next month, depending on economic activity and inflation.

ProShares set to launch a short bitcoin ETF

In the crypto front, the price of bitcoin jumped early Tuesday morning ahead of the launch of the first U.S.-listed short bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) later in the day

The ETF, which will be launched by financial firm ProShares, allows traders to effectively bet against bitcoin.

The ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under “BITI” ticker symbol.

As of writing, bitcoin was up 4.1% to $21.387 a coin. The cryptocurrency fell below $20,000 over the weekend to touch a new 2022 low of $17,601.58, according to Coin Metrics data.

JetBlue improves its offer for Spirit Airlines again

JetBlue (JBLU) has sweetened its offer for Spirit Airlines (SAVE) to $33.50 a share as it continues to fight with Frontier Group (ULCC) for the ultra-low cost carrier.

JetBlue announced its improved bid on Monday, less than two weeks after Spirit’s board of directors postponed a special meeting in which stockholders were set to vote on a proposed merger with Frontier.

The offer represents a premium of 68% to Frontier’s cash and stock offer, which was valued at $19.99 per share at the close of Friday’ regular session.

Spirit said in a statement that it has received Jetblue’s latest offer, and added it will provide an update to stockholders before June 30.

As of writing, Spirit shares were marked 10.43% higher $23.50 apiece in the premarket trading session on Tuesday.