10 Things Before the Opening Bell: March 8

Good morning. Commodities prices are going bonkers, uncertainty from the Russia-Ukraine crisis has the market in its grips, and GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen makes a splash with a stake in Bed Bath & Beyond. 

Let’s jump in. 

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wheat farm

Getty Images / Xinhua News Agency

1. It isn’t just oil. Commodities from wheat to nickel are surging to records. As Western nations weigh up new sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, commodities broadly are skyrocketing on fears of lasting supply disruptions. 

While oil came back down after surging to nearly $140 a barrel early Monday, investors are betting it’s going to spike again soon. Option calls for oil futures piled in on Monday, with over 1,200 contracts calling for May Brent futures to hit $200 a barrel, per data from ICE Futures. 

The uncertainty has sent investors rushing into gold, and the safe-haven asset hit $2,000 an ounce Monday. Nickel has experienced a “Big Short” squeeze of its own today, roaring up by as much 110% in minutes to hit $100,000 a ton, and prompting the London Metal Exchange to suspend trading to combat the extreme



Wheat futures soared, triggering a trading halt after prices went up for the fifth day in a row. Prices have increased by almost 50% since Russia invaded Ukraine.

All of this comes as risks to the stock market continue to pile up. Morgan Stanley analysts said the next six to eight weeks will see more volatility as the Fed stays on course to raise rates and growth and valuations come under pressure. The bank recommends investors sell into any rally in the coming weeks.

ukraine protest

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – 2022/02/27: A protester holds a placard during the demonstration. Thousands of Ukrainians and their supporters gathered at Trafalgar Square to protest Russian invasion of Ukraine. They demanded the World to support and help Ukrainians to fight against the Russian troops.

Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In other news:

2. Stocks are on the rise today, but trading is volatile and nervy. With commodity price surges in focus, investors aren’t piling back into equities just yet. Here’s the latest on the markets. 

3. Earnings on deck: Barnes & Noble Education, Oracle Corp, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, all reporting.

4. Bank of America predicts a ban on Russian oil exports could push prices as high as $200 a barrel. The bank laid out a worst-case scenario in which soaring prices hit growth by as much as 2% — and then broke down why this could trigger a global recession or stock market crash.

5. Coinbase said it blocked 25,000 Russian accounts. The global crypto exchange is stepping up its efforts to stamp out illicit activity amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, though the CEO said crypto is a lifeline for ordinary Russians and wouldn’t preemptively ban them.

6. Warren Buffett plowed $4.5 billion into Occidental Petroleum in five days. The legendary investor determined that Occidental’s CEO was making all the right moves — so he capitalized with an almost 10% stake in the energy firm.

7. GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen revealed a 9.8% stake in Bed, Bath & Beyond and the stock soared as much as 85% Monday. The meme-stock icon urged the retailer to explore a sale of the company. The board seemed receptive to working with Cohen to generate more value for shareholders.

8. People are paying millions for virtual land in the metaverse. Does that mean you should join the land-rush, too? Here’s everything you need to know about metavere real estate, and the risks involved. 

9. Macro strategists at a $900 billion firm explained how spiking oil will impact the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes. The Ukraine-Russia war could upend the Fed’s monetary policy schedule and rattle global markets — but the strategists named which countries could ride out the storm best. 


Andy Kiersz/Insider

10. The current job-market rebound is happening way faster than in past recoveries. After 24 months of recovery, US employment is just 1.4% lower than pre-pandemic. It took 67 months to reach the same level following the Great Depression. 

Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email [email protected] or tweet @philrosenn.) 

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