Bond-buying binge

Bloomberg

Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the U.S. central bank was nowhere close to pulling back on its bond-buying support for the pandemic-damaged economy, even as he voiced expectations for a return to more normal activity later this year. He also played down concerns over inflation from another big Covid bailout or the unleashing of pent-up demand as vaccinated Americans who didn’t lose their jobs start spending. “The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. “And it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved.” —David E. Rovella

Bloomberg is tracking the progress of coronavirus vaccines while mapping the pandemic globally and across America

Here are today’s top stories  

U.S. stocks reversed losses after Powell’s comments on inflation, and his cautious outlook for growth spurred traders to buy the dip. Treasuries edged higher and Asian equities look set for a mixed start. Here’s your markets wrap.

South Africa has concerns about the efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine against a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus first identified there. The country is also concerned about the adenovirus 5 vector used in the Russian shot, which has in previous studies appeared to make people more susceptible to HIV infection.

While many countries are loosening restrictions, others are still being battered by the latest wave of Covid-19 infections. Czech hospitals are nearing “total exhaustion” as intensive-care units fill with patients and Italy is imposing a new hard lockdown in areas close to the country’s original epicenter. In the U.S., a day after it surpassed the nightmarish milestone of 500,000 confirmed deaths, some good news arrived: Johnson & Johnson said it will be ready next month to ship 20 million doses of its one-shot vaccine. Along with two-shot vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the delivery targets through next month will be enough to fully vaccinate 130 million Americans. Here is he latest on the pandemic.

How did white supremacists and other rioting Trump followers breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6? The law enforcement officials responsible for the building’s security blamed the Pentagon, intelligence lapses and each other during the first hearings about the unprecedented, deadly attack. 

Steven Sund, former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, testified Feb. 23 during a Senate hearing in Washington over the January attack on Congress.

Photographer: Erin Scott/The New York Times

ReNew Power, India’s biggest renewable power producer, is nearing an agreement to merge with blank-check company RMG Acquisition Corp. II. The deal would give Goldman Sachs Group-backed ReNew an enterprise value of $8 billion.

Tesla shares wiped out their year-to-date gains Tuesday and briefly traded below the level they were at when the electric-carmaker entered the S&P 500 Index in December. Guess who is partly to blame?

The suspected Russian hackers who compromised software created by SolarWinds Corp. to break into U.S. government agencies and companies used a cyber weapon “so potentially powerful it could have been crippling,” said Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Democrat from Virginia called the assault “a level of attack and level of penetration that is much greater than what we have seen.” His committee, which is holding hearings on the sprawling breach, is digging into an attack President Donald Trump refused to blame on Russia. The Biden administration, however, is reportedly preparing to punish Moscow for the hack, as well as previous cyber malfeasance and the attempted murder of Vladimir Putin’s arch rival, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Alexei Navalny, having recovered from a poisoning attempt he attributed to agents of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested upon his return to Russia. He appeared at a hearing in a Moscow Feb. 12, and is currently imprisoned.

Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Moscow Court Press Service/Getty Images

What you’ll need to know tomorrow 

What you’ll want to read tonight in Businessweek

It’s Kind of Like Gatorade, Only It’s Beer

The idea of alcohol coinciding with an athlete’s regimen might seem counterintuitive. But breweries have started to include electrolytes and (even buckwheat and bee pollen) to ameliorate dehydrating damage to the body. Some appeal to millennials (of course) who want to consume fewer calories. The hope is that for this new class of suds, they might just put down their hard seltzers and give the gatorades of beer a try.

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