Futures rise ahead of March business surveys; Intel shines

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)’s shares surged on plans to expand advanced chip making capacity, while investors looked to business surveys for March and another day of testimonies from the top two U.S. economic officials.

The chipmaker’s shares jumped about 5.7% as it announced plans to spend as much as $20 billion to build two factories in Arizona and open its factories to outside customers.

U.S.-listed shares of rival Taiwan Semiconductor dropped 2.6%, while semiconductor equipment makers Lam Research Corp (NASDAQ:LRCX), Applied Materials Inc (NASDAQ:AMAT) and ASML Holding (NASDAQ:ASML) gained between 4.4% and 5.7%.

Wall Street’s main indexes stumbled on Tuesday, weighed down by concerns about the cost of infrastructure spending and potential tax hikes to pay for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill.

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will resume their Congressional hearings later in the day.

Economy-linked energy and banks stocks have come under pressure recently as investors booked profits after a sharp rally on recovery hopes and moved into beaten-down technology and growth names that were hit by elevated bond yields.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) rose between 0.6% and 0.7%.

At 6:30 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 96 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 14 points, or 0.36% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 100.75 points, or 0.77%.

Bitcoin gained about 4% as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc chief Elon Musk said the company’s electric vehicles can now be bought using bitcoin and the option will be available outside the United States later this year.

Tesla’s shares advanced about 1.6%.

GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) dropped 13% after the video game retailer said it may sell new shares as the company that led the Reddit rally of “meme stocks” looks to take advantage of a more than 800% surge in its stock price since January.

Energy stocks Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB), Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) were up between 1% and 4.2%, as crude prices rebounded from a 6% fall in the last session. [O/R]

IHS Markit’s flash reading at 9:45 a.m ET is likely to show business activity in the manufacturing and services sectors improved in March from the prior month.