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Power Lunch Morning Brief

Manhattan New York sunrise
Thomas Krumeier | Flickr Open | Getty Images

A daily morning look at the financial stories you need to know to start the day

STOCKS/ECONOMY

-Stock futures are flat after yesterday's small gains. It now seems like investors want to take it slow until we get tomorrow's February jobs report

-Mohamed el-Erian tells CNBC that the US economy could still go either way. He's decidedly non-committal on recession predictions.

-China's service sector is still expanding, but the rate of that growth slowed in February.

-Luxury spending by the super rich was up last year despite a decline in their overall wealth.

MCCLENDON DEATH

-Police are still investigating the death of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, though it looks very much like the recently indicted natural gas mogul killed himself.

OIL/ENERGY

-Crude prices are flat this morning with new concerns about the glut in supply. WTI is still at the $34/barrel level.

-Gasoline prices moved another two cents higher overnight to $1.80/gallon, national average.

ELECTION

-Mitt Romney will deliver a nationally televised speech this morning where he will deliver a solemn warning against Donald Trump. It does not, however, appear that he will enter the presidential race himself.

-Romney's speech is just one part of a scramble by top GOP strategists and donors to stop Trump.

-Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is getting specific on healthcare. Trump has now released a 7-point plan to replace Obamacare.

-An ex-State Dept. staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton's private email server has been granted immunity in the Justice Dept. probe.

DEFENSE

-While the FBI remains in conflict with several Silicon Valley companies over privacy and access, Defense Secretary Ash Carter continues his charm offensive on tech companies, hoping to enlist more of them in national security efforts.

-But the relationship goes both ways, as smaller tech firms are pitching their ideas to Sec. Carter. Here's what that's been like.

-Google's Eric Schmidt is heading up a new Pentagon advisory board.

MIGRANT CRISIS

-Greece's former finance minister says Greece could become a huge concentration camp for refugees and he says the crisis is evidence of the collapse of the EU.

OLYMPIC FEARS

-It seems as if a few months before every Olympics, we see stories about how interest is weak and financial disaster is predicted. The Rio games are no exception. There is talk today about how only half the tickets have been sold.