Morning Brief

US futures lower, Dow in danger of snapping 4-day win streak

Key Points


U.S. futures pointed to a lower open, following the Wednesday rally that occurred after the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement. A lower close for the Dow Jones industrial average would snap a four-day winning streak. (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday, but also scaled back its expectations for further moves ahead. The central bank now expects to raise rates twice this year, down from its previous expectation of four. (CNBC)

The dollar fell about 1 percent against a basket of currencies following the Fed's decision and economic outlook release. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices added to Wednesday's gains, gaining about 2 percent and approaching $40 a barrel, after the world's biggest suppliers agreed to meet and discuss an output freeze. (Reuters)

Asian stocks closed mostly higher overnight as investors cheered clarity from the U.S. Federal Reserve and a rise in oil prices. The Chinese Shanghai composite advanced 1.22 percent, but the Japanese Nikkei 225 slipped 0.22 percent as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar. (CNBC)

European equities opened higher after the U.S. central bank's decision, but quickly erased gains, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index trading lower. (CNBC)

The Swiss National Bank kept interest rates unchanged today, but left the door open for more intervention, while the central bank of Norway cut its key interest rates to an all-time low of 0.5 percent. (CNBC)

GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday his supporters would respond with "riots" if he does not secure the Republican presidential nomination. According to recent polls, the business magnate is leading the GOP field nationally. (NBC News)

President Barack Obama selected U.S. Appellate Court Judge Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia's seat in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, quickly said the Senate will not consider Garland's nomination. (CNBC)

The Obama administration demanded North Korea release an American college student sentenced Wednesday to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly pilfering a propaganda banner as a souvenir. (USA Today)

Investor Bill Ackman sold 20 million shares of Mondelez International (MDLZ), in the snack maker to 5.6 percent. Ackman's portfolio has taken a beating this week as Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), one of Pershing's holdings, has plunged 51 percent. (Reuters)

Creditors of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) are demanding new, tougher terms after the drug maker delayed filing its annual financial statements. (Reuters)

Office Depot (ODP) may get a bid from (AMZN) for its corporate business unit, according to The New York Post.

Citigroup's (C) CEO Michael Corbat's pay was increased by 27 percent last year to $16.5 million, including deferred shares worth about $4.5 million. He earned $13 million in 2014. (CNBC)

Rio Tinto's (RIO) CEO Sam Walsh will retire July 1 and will be succeeded by Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the head of the company's copper and coal division. (Reuters)


As investors turn their attention to the next Fed meeting in April, they'll have a number of key economic reports to ponder this morning, beginning with initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Economists are looking for 267,000 new claims for week ending March 12, up from 259,000 the prior week. Also at 8:30 a.m. ET, the March Philadelphia Fed index is expected to come in at -2.0, a less negative reading than February's -2.8.

We'll also get the fourth-quarter current account deficit at 8:30 a.m. ET, seen at $118.0 billion after a $124.1 billion shortfall in the third quarter.

Retailers Lands' End (LE) and Michaels (MIK) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, while Adobe Systems (ADBE), Aeropostale (ARO), New York & Co. (NWY), and Shoe Carnival (SCVL) will be out with earnings after today's closing bell.


FedEx (FDX) leads our list of stocks to watch, earning an adjusted $2.51 per share for its latest quarter. That was 17 cents above estimates, with revenue also beating forecasts, and the delivery company also raised the low end of its full-year earnings guidance.

Jabil Circuit (JBL) fell 3 cents shy of estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 57 cents per share, while revenue for the electronics manufacturer also came in below forecasts. It also gave weaker-than-expected guidance for the current quarter, in part because of weaker demand in the mobile communications segment.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) missed estimates by 3 cents with quarterly profit of 41.55 per share, and revenue was slightly below Street forecasts. However, the company did raise its quarterly dividend by 6 percent to 37 cents per share, and authorized a $50 million stock buyback program.

Guess (GES) reported quarterly earnings of 57 cents per share, 1 cent below estimates, with revenue matching forecasts. The apparel retailer also said it would post a current quarter loss and gave weaker-than-expected full year guidance.


Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest on Wednesday. He was 72 years old. (AP)

Singapore's Changi Airport was named the "World's Best Airport" in 2016 by research firm Skytrax. Coming in second was Incheon Airport in Seoul, followed by Munich Airport. (CNBC)